Pudukkottai District Collector's office building, a heritage structure to be conserved soon

District Collector's office building. a heritage site. thehindu.com

Above image: District Collector office building, Pudukkottai. It is aptly called Mannar Rajagopala Thondaiman Maaligai, in honor of the late ruler................ 

In August this year  a good decision was taken up by the Tamil Nadu Government  to make  serious efforts to conserve and renovate  some of the heritage buildings in Tiruchi, Pudukkottai and Nagapattinam districts. The government selected  eight  buildings that have heritage status, including the old collector office building in Puddukkotai town. PWD will be entrusted with the job of repairing and conserving  old structures. The PWD has a responsible job because the conservation work should be done with meticulous care without damaging the heritage elements, Further these structures are more than 60 years old and has to be conserved  with the same construction materials and  technique that were used in their construction.  


Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu. en.wikipedia.org

The Pudukottai District Collector’s Office is functioning in a colonial building that was built in 1930  during the reign of Raja Rajagopala Thondaiman (1928 -1948; formally known as His Highness Raja Sri Brahdamba Dasa Raja Sir Rajagopala Tondaiman Bahadur), the last and ninth in the line of Thondaiman rulers.  His parents were  Prince Ramachandra Tondaiman of Pudukkottai and his second wife Mathusri Raja Srimathi Rani Janaki Ayi Saheba. When the British Crown Administration chose  him as the successor to the throne, sri  Rajagopala Thondaiman  was just a minor - 6 years old. So, the Pudukkottai Samasthanam was run by Alexandar Totenham,  a British civil servant and administrator who served as the Diwan of Pudukkottai state from 1934 to 1946. Raghunatha Pallavarayar,  served as the regent of the state until February 1929. The last ruler ascended the throne in January, 1944.With the merger of the princely state of Pudukkottai on April 4 1948 after India's independence, the long reign of the royal family of  Thondaman came to an end. It became part of Trichinopoly district under the Madras Presidency. Raja Sir Rajagopala Tondaiman Bahadur was honoured with the George V Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935, George VI Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Indian Independence Medal in the year 1948. He died in Chennai in January 1997 at the age of 74. 


During the same period the new palace came up in 1930  for the comfortable stay of the royal family. It is a beautiful building  designed in  Indo-Saracenic  architecture. Apparently, the inspiration came from some of colonial buildings in Madras and Thiruvananthapuram that have Indo-Saracenic style of design This kind of architecture, a blend of  strong European features ingeniously mixed with design native to India, a favorite of popular British architect Robert Chisholm (11 January 1840 – 28 May 1915),. He moved over to Madras in 1865 from Calcutta and pioneered this exotic architectural style.   


Pudukkotta state. coat of arms ( emblem). hereaderwiki.com

Puddukotta state was a small one and was founded in 1680 as a feudatory of Ramnad and the area extended with additions from Tanjore (Thanjavur) and Sivaganga. A staunch alley of the British  during their war with Tipu Sultan and Chanda shaeb, the ruler had subsidiary alliance with the English company as the Princely state ( 17 gun- Salute state) was under the paramountcy of the British company and later under the Raj (1800 to 1840). A resident was appointed to represent the Madras government to keep an eye on the ruler. The resident was invariably the District Collector, initially it was the District collector of Tanjore, later Madurai and finally Trichinopoly.

The present TN government allocated Rs. 1.5 crore for the conservation of the  Collector's office building and Rs. ₹58 lakhs for Collector's residence, yet another heritage structure.


Tit-bits: 


Besides above, The PWD of Tamil Nadu will take up the following  conservation work:


01. The Rani Mangammal building at the old District Collectorate complex in Tiruchi city at an estimated cost of ₹9.40 crore.


02. Keeranur, Alangudi and Thirumayam taluk office buildings in Pudukkottai district, All heritage structures will be repaired and restored. Fund allocated:  ₹3.43 crore 


03. Nagapattinam district:  The District Court and Munsif Court building will be repaired and conserved. Estimated cost: ₹7.90 crore.


04. Chief Judicial Magistrate building in Tiruchi at a cost of ₹1.34 crore and the Grand Anicut Canal Executive Engineer quarters building in Thanjavur district at a cost of ₹1.23 crore.11 January 1840 – 28 May 1915)


A couple of colonial buildings in Puddukkotai town: 


Colonial building in Puddukkotai, TN .shutterstock.com

Above image:  The arched windows of the red brick architecture of an old government building in the district court complex in the town of Pudukkottai. Look at the simple ornamentation on the fa├žade. Details are not available. 

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Court building, Pudukkottai town.dreamstime.com

District court building, Pudukkottai town, TN.shutterstock.com


old colonial structure. District Court, Pudukkottai town, TN

Above images: The red brick architecture of the colonial era.  District Court in the town of Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu.  Yet another building with Indo-Saracenic architectural style showing native Indian designs in the form of small domes and Chhatries.  Details are not available.