Heritage building of the State Bank of India, at Nagapatinam

SBI, Nagapatinam branch.cuboidglobal.com
The Government- owned state bank of India has more than  150 heritage buildings across India. The banks had its roots in the Presidency banks of colonial period  in the 19th century, an offshoot of Imperial bank which was formed with the merger of all the presidency banks. SBI came into being in April 1955.

The Nagapatinam branch of the State bank of India  is a fine heritage building  located almost on the outskirt of the coastal town, now  a district capital. It  was an important small harbor until 1960s on the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu.   Since it was  not a deep harbor the ships used to  be anchored  far away from the shore  and the cargo and passengers had to depend on small motor boats in those days to reach the shore and back. The harbor had sea links with Singapore and Malaysian ports way back in the past.  There used to be some important export and import houses on the beach road , close to the lighthouse. 

As for the bank building  it is on a vast  plot  surrounded by a  few more British Colonial styled  buildings.  Unfortunately, because of poor maintenance and lack of periodic repair work these buildings including the one owned by SBI are  wilting under age and vagaries of climatic conditions.   When occupied for safety considerations,  concrete  columns, etc., were erected  and in the recent past  the structure fell vacant, as it was in bad shape, misfit for occupation. 

It is a beautiful two-story building with  an arched entrance in the  porch and slanting tiled roof  over the first floor supported by columns along the edges, almost reminiscent of Kerala-type buildings.  The building has  spacious halls and   access to the upper floor is through a grand wooden staircase. The building has deep verandah    with arches  all along on the ground floor and columns on the first floor. The architecture of the building is typically colonial  and the roof on the GF has Madras terrace, a blend of local style.   The pitched roof on the upper floor is covered with Mangalore tiles and its conical profile is  a striking feature and a fine piece of  carpentry work.  The deep verandah and the trees in the surrounding areas facilitate free flow of air circulation inside  the building and considerably cut down radiation during hot days.   The restoration work is planned  to maintain the heritage aspects of the structure without deviating from the original plan. The restoration work will be undertaken in a systematic manner as preplanned before.