''Rani Mangammal Mahal'' of Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu, a heritage building is undergoing conservation!!

Rani Mangammal Mahal, façade, Tiruchi. hellotravel.com

That Rani Mangammal Mahal  where a state museum is housed is undergoing restoration work is a good news for the monument lovers. Parts of the museum  are  closed   and the exhibits packed and kept safely away.  Some of the exhibits have been moved to the front. Upon restoration,  on display  will be  exhibits that highlight  Tiruchi city's rich  history including the colonial period and its local traditions and specialty.  

Rani  Mangammal Mahal in Tiruchirappalli is a heritage building  built in 1666 CE by Chokkanatha Nayak of Madurai Nayak Dynasty who ruled Madurai and other parts. Close to the important land mark of Tiruch  Rockfort temple, it was used  by Rani Mangammal as the Durbar hall   as it was  the seat of power and capital from   1616 to 1634 and later from 1665 to 1731. Rani Mangammal Mahal or Kolu Mandapam was earlier known as   Chokkanatha Nayak Palace. Earlier their capital was Madurai. This palace is the last surviving  palace in Tiruchi district.

interior, Rani Mangammal Mahal , Tiruchi. trichyonline.in

In 1983 a  museum was established  by the State Department of Museums at Cantonment after Salem and Madurai, as the then    government wanted to start a museum in each district with a view to  educating the people on the rich culture and tradition of Tamil Nadu and also of  India.  It was a well conceived idea as the museum was instructive and educative to the public, in particular, to  students.   Subsequently, the  museum was shifted to   Rani Mangammal Durbar Hall during 1997 which is within Town Hall Complex.  Managed by PWD   the museum  is functioning here for more than 20 years.

.Rani Mangammal mahal, Tiruchi. Govt. museum.trichyonline.in

pottery of Tamils civilization Govt. Museum Tiruchi.  en.wikipedia.org

The government museum  has a good collection of exhibits on display covering various fields like anthropology, epigraphy, history, zoology ( covers a collection of rare insects, birds and mammals), geology ( covers rocks, minerals and fossils, etc.),   and  paintings, There are more than  2000 indoor and outdoor exhibits and these include artefacts like megalithic sculptures, carvings, Stone Age inscriptions, musical instruments, tools, currencies and Chola-era coins, paintings, etc. Also included are rare photos, rare documents, palm-leaf manuscripts, fossils Mostly from the Ariyalur area of Cretaceous age) , tribal life of pachamalai & Kohli hills, weapon and cannon balls used by Hyder Ali of Mysore kingdom in the 18th century. There is a small section on philately.  In 2012 a Sculpture park was opened that included a vast array of sculptures and  idols of  Hindu gods and goddesses covering 13th century to 18th century.  Rare sculptures include God Vishnu (Thirumal), Durga, Tamil  saint  Sri Manickavasagar (16th century; builder of  Avudaiyar koil, in Pudukkottai district)

restoration of Rani Mangammal Mahal, Tiruchi. thehindu.com

A good news for the heritage lovers is in February 2020 the Union Govt.  govt  announced that the heritage building - the Rani Mangammal Mahal,  housing the Government Museum in Tiruchi would undergo repairs and  restoration soon and a sum of  Rs. 3.85  crore had been set aside for this project. As it is a heritage structure experienced conservationists would be given the job to carry out the  work without disturbing the heritage elements in the structure. The construction materials used in the conservation work will be in sync with those used centuries ago to retain the old charm and glory. Murals accidentally discovered  under several layers of lime coating and paint during the early repair work would be taken care of under expert guidance. as recommended, natural dyes would  be used to paint the murals.  As for   structural  restoration work, PWD sought the help of conservationists from Jharkhand. To maintain authenticity, experts will study the old photos and related texts.  PWD  hoped that the project would be completed over a period of 18 months.  The old building's roof will be carefully repaired including  domes and minarets. They plan  to  remove cement patches all over the structure  to ''showcase the building as it was,''  The Union culture ministry had initiated the renovation work .and .the renovation work aimed at modernizing the museum. The 354  year old Nayak-era building  will get a face lift as part of the union govt. project. 

Nayak palace, Tiruchi, TNcommons.wikimedia.org

Above image:  This is a 1858 photo  of the 'Chokkanatha Nayak Palace', now known as 'Rani Mangammal Mahal'. It is close to the Rock  Fort complex of Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu. Built in mid  17th century the palace now houses the TN Government Museum. Way past it underwent major repair work. Presently it is undergoing renovation work that may be completed pretty soon in he early part  of 2022. Nayak Dynasty of Madurai and also Thanjavur   originally governors of  Vijayanagara Empire, and as their vassals  they were ruling southern Tamil Nadu with Madurai as their  early capital from 1559 until 1736............................