Thursday, December 29, 2005

Chennai - some happenings

The Tamilnadu Police HQ on the Marina Beach Road (Kamarajar Salai) is one of the landmark buildings of Chennai. It was built in 1839 as the first Indian Free Masons Lodge and later became the Police HQ in 1859. The fully lit up building presents an awesome picture when seen from the beach. The Government with all its wisdom wanted to pull it down and build a new building there in 1993, but the efforts of Chennai Conservationists led by Mr. S. Muthiah prevented the same.

From The Hindu

But now the Government is getting back. the low compound wall has been razed to ground and 10 ft long iron fencing has come up marring the view. There might be real security considerations, but it still sucks. I just hope that they do not erect a concrete wall and hide it fully.

If you can read Tamil head over to Narain's Tamil blog for a primer on Chennai Underworld. It is one of most realistic portrayals I have ever read.

9 comments:

Sheks said...

it's only an iron railing.the building will anyway be visible.

Chenthil said...

Shekar, that's what I have written too.

ashok said...

oh! the police HQ is in news again!?
chen, during my days in Chennai we did a lot of efforts from the School of Architecture (anna university) along with Mr.Muthiah to save that building. we even offered free consultancy for its restoration and ultimately the govt relented and opened an architectural competition for it.

but actually, i dont think that building is architecturally as important as the old "spencers" that was razed to the ground without a warning.

Chenthil said...

I thought Spencers had a fire accident in 1980 and burnt down. Will have to check on that fact

R. Balaji said...

But, Sheks, getting a view of that building behind iron railings is no consolation. The railings are ugly and will mar the view.

ramki said...

Chenthil, I too noticed it. Really sad. There is no sense of heritage or history in this city. The iron railing will definitely mar the beauty of the building. More than that the old compound wall was itself very graceful.
Similar is the fate of another compound wall further down the road -- that of the Presidency College ground. The compound wall there has been covered by the footpath that has been raised every time the road is relaid. The Presidency College's compound wall was also replaced some time back. At least the Museum authorities made sure that they retained the old compound wall -- simply dismantled it, built a new wall and put this on top to get a higher compound.
Spencer's building -- it was gutted in a fire, which has been labelled as a fire accident and still remains unsolved, I think. Nobody then believed it was an accident.

R. Balaji said...

Yes, Ramki, the Presidency College railing is even worse. They have added on new railings over the older and more ornamental one. The design, if you can call that, of the new does not in any way match the original.

ashok said...

according to what i have heard from many (also heard from Mr.Muthiah ), spencers was set on fire one night...the easiest way to enable the construction of the new one.. but again , no proof!

ashok said...

chen..check 'moore market' fire aswell...