Valadi ''WW I Memorial Arch''' near Lalgudi, Tamil Nadu - if it is not conserved soon, it may cave in

WWI memorial arch, Valadi village near Lalgudi,TN.

There is yet another war memorial in the form of an arch near Thiruchirapalli city that is almost crumpling due to negligence  and lethargic attitude of the authorities concerned  and  the local people who almost daily go through the arch. This almost 100 year old arch is in the village of   Valadi  near  Lalgudi town.  That the  commemorative arch erected in Valadi  during the British rule under the Raj,  in recognition  Indian soldiers vital role in the victory of the Allied forces in World War I is in  shambles is deplorable.  The   damaged war memorial arch built with red bricks  across a small road  has been there for decades uncared for and unnoticed. Most of the villagers crossing the arch  every day are unaware about its historical importance.

WWI Memorial arch valadi village,

Considering its present  precarious condition, it is unpredictable how long  this weak structure will last. Unless something is done to repair and conserve it, soon it will reach a point beyond which it is impossible to  bring it back to old glory and honor which it deserves.

Valadi village near Lalgudi, Tiruchi 

 Hidden from the public view due to overgrowth of  bushes and trees  there is  an inscription  that says ''Let us forget. '' From the plaque  on the right side we understand that  the  Memorial Arch  was  erected by Dewan Bahadur G. Krishnamachariar and opened by Sir T. Desikachariar, Trichinopoly District Board president, on August 10, 1922.  

The memorial came up in this place because the victorious  Allied forces in WWI  had  Indian troops on the British side; some  of whom hailed from Tiruchi district. They  played a vital role in the crucial world war I (1914-1918) and the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 set off a chain of events that led to war in early August 1914.  The Government Records show that 302 soldiers from Tiruchi district took part in the  world war I. The dilapidated arch is a forbidding  reminder of India’s  significant contribution to the Allied victory in World War I that ended in November 18 with the surrender of Germany). India supplied more than 100000 soldiers and the  other contribution from India included  large food supplies  over170,000 animals and 3,700,000 tones, arms and ammunition, special war boots,  military uniforms, money, etc. The latter was   by way of tax hike imposed on the Indian public by the colonists; Indian revenues towards the cost of the war amounted to £146.2 million. 

The clock Tower that was built  in the busy Gandhi Market area of Trichi  to honor the 31 soldiers who died in the WWI  was recently repaired and conserved, besides the tower was  fixed with LCD multicolor illumination.  Centenary year is coming up soon and so far there has been  no serious efforts made by the government   to  conserve this slowly dying Arch War Memorial. 

In April 2021 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) informed that the  Commemorative war memorial arch at Keezha Valadi would be taken up by them soon. (

Referred to as ‘Pachampettai Valaivu’ in Tamil, the arch is at the entrance to Pachampettai on the eastern part of Keezha Valadi. It serves as a gateway for villagers from Periyavar Seeli, Mayil Arangam, Pachampettai and Thirumanamedu villages to the Lalgudi-Tiruchi Road.  Rajya Sabha MP  Trichi N. Siva and others have been demanding the conservation of the historic structure. Mr. Shiva also assured that he would discuss the matter with the Director general of ASI, New Delhi and, if possible, he would request him to visit the village to evaluate the damaged war memorial. 

WWI war memorial arch, Valadi

The arch  and the side pillars are now weak, while the stucco  work needs conservation.  Already in many places the bricks are exposed  and  people are concerned about the stability of the arch during the onslaught of harsh NE monsoon in October- November this year. Once the work is started, according to the ASI, they might take 3 to 4 months to get the conservation work done. To begin with encroachments  near the memorial arch will be removed with help from police and the local people are supportive of the conservation project. 

The memorial arch is the symbol of  valor and courage of the British India army men who hailed from this region. A sum of Rs. 7 lakhs is sanctioned to  carry out the repair work on the war memorial.