Teppakulam, Trichy city -this landmark place is facing slow death due to official apathy!!

Trichy Teppakulam (water tank), TN  is not only an ancient water tank but also as of to day it is a landmark place in the city which until recent past was a well-maintained corporation in  Tamil Nadu. Built by King Thirumalai Nayak in the 17th century (1645),  it  was then  one of the largest tanks in Tamil nadu, covering an area of about 5 acres and is surrounded by a tall stone walls.

Trichy Teppakulam, TN. historyofstones.wordpress.com

Located  in the prime area within the  fort area of Tiruchirappalli city  which can be accessed through the Main Guard gate,  Teppakulam, a  large artificial tank is owned by the Thayumanaswamy temple and it  is  surrounded by bazaars on the NSC Bose road, Nandi kovil street and Teppakaulam street. In the last   few decades the temple tank has not been well kept, particularly with the establishment of Burma bazaar (now dotted with more than 170 shops) and the arrival of flower, fruit vendors and others along the tank boundary walls. The shops and the visiting people use the teppakulam as garbage dump yard.

Trichy. relocation of Burma bazaar shops. .indiatimes.com/

Though  the tank was desilted in 1995, the corporation had been lethargic about periodic maintenance of it  and shop owners on their part, were equally indifferent in the matter of keeping the age old water tank clean. Particularly,  fruit shops along the sides caused chaos by throwing the seeds along with waste skins, etc. Tall grill partitions were erected on the stone side walls all along the tank to prevent littering. But it had continued unabated.  

The Teppakulam is a historical place  associated with the Shiva temple on the hill - malaikottai. Annual Teppam Floating Festival is held here on a grand scale on boats in January or February and lots of devotees visit the site. 

1900 CE.Trichy teppakulam past-india.com

old image  Trichy teppakulam and Clive House. gefotostock.com

The Trichy city corporation way back in 2015 started to clean the  Teppakulam (tank)  by removing weeds and and waste dumped by shops abutting the tank on Tuesday. Corpo workers found it difficult to clean up the tank because of  continuous dumping of waste by shops located around the tank. The tnk was once swarming  with fish  and on  some occasions the city corporation had to remove the dead fish. Part of the reason was due to pollution caused by excess waste dumping, depletion of oxygen led to anaerobic condition. Consequently, fish started dying in large numbers. 

The temple tank saw growth of shrubs in the past years from the seeds. The crux of the matter is the teppakulam is owned by the rockfort temple and not by the corporation.which was entrusted with the responsibility of whitewashing the tank and temple during the annual festival event based on the agreement between the Corporation and HR & SE. The corporation is maintaining it from the general funds

Teppakulam, Trichy, TN indiatimes.com

In May 2022 the city corporation took steps to relocate the Burma bazaar shops from Teppakulam to vacant Yaanaikulam ground  (2 acre spread) near Singarathope despite hurdles and protests by the shopkeepers.  Shifting of more than 150 shops would reduce traffic problems as wells as water pollution in the Teppakulam. 

In October, 2023, the city corporation passed a resolution to move out the Burma bazaar shops to another location for the following reasons: 

01. To reduce traffic congestion on the narrow street,

02. To avoid hinderance to people visiting nearby commercial complexes, rock fort temples, etc, 

03. to prevent abuse of the teppakulam tank by dumping waste, 

04. To save fish and keep the water in the tank clean.

05. To commissioning the laser and sound show project in Teppakulam tank.which was completed several months ago (under smart city project), 

06. Removal of shops would  avoid obstruction of the view of the show to be projected in  in the tank using water fountains, officials said.

Latest media reports mention that water in the teppakulam tank gets mixed with sewage water and water from the underground drainage system. Lately the stench from the tank is becoming bad. The annoying fact is neither the corporation nor the HR&CE officials take steps to solve this looming civic and sanitation calamity. 

The old residents complain that this historical water tank in this city. where the Theerthavari takes place when there is an important function taking place in nearby Thayumanaswamy temple, will soon disappear and  become a vestige of forgotten history of teppakulam built by the Nayak rulers centuries ago. So, clearing of polluted water and periodic upkeep of the tank must be taken up seriously both by the corporation and the HR & CE in the midst of other projects under smart city scheme.