Pachaiyappa Hall, NSC Bose Road, a legacy of the founder needs renovation soon.

The recent proposal to revamp the historical Pachaiappa Hall on the NSC Bose road  is a pleasant news for the heritage lovers. This structure in the last several decades has lost its aura and sheen for various reasons one being it was bogged down by long litigation in the court of law and the other reason is lack of interest to restore the hall back to old glory. A complete renovation and conservation  is a way to honor Pachaiappa Mudhaliar,  a man of  large heart and  simplify who rose to eminence on his own and whose charity is still well-known. The conservationists need to take special care to retain the heritage aspects. 

Pachaiyappa  Hall, Flower bazaar, Chennai.
 Pachaiyappa  Hall, Chennai.

If you stroll down the NSC Bose Road in the midst of madding crowd  opposite the Flower Bazaar Telephone exchange  at a distance,  an exotic and  poorly maintained  old  building with  tall circular columns will never  fail to get your attention and if you go near to it you will be surprised that it  has close resemblance with the Rajaji Hall (Banqueting hall) near the court house. 

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

Above image: Look at the big Doric fluted columns. Temple of Hephaestus in Athens...... 

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

Above image:  The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, Attica: Well  preserved ancient temple in Greece.  dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts.
According to Historians the temple came up  around 450 B.C and  is a classic example of Dorian architecture.
The temple was designed by Iktinus, one of the talented architects who also worked on Parthenon. However, many other craftsmen worked at this fantastic temple...............................

The architect Capt. Ludlow, designed the building on the model of  the Athenian Temple of Theseus (dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Theseus in the  Byzantine times) with tall Doric  fluted  columns so as to give it  a European touch. Perhaps he might have taken into account the proposed hall's utility to be served as a public hall for social functions, etc. About 179 years ago it came up on the Pachiappa Higher school campus in the front part on the NSC Bose road.
The work began in 1846 and  completed in  1850 and  the builder was none other than  Pachiappa Mudaliar, a rich merchant and philanthropist, a well-known Dubash for the Payne family in the early colonial time.  You will be saddened  to see many shops lining  the ground marring the majesty of the building. it is partially hidden by a  chaotic cluster of buildings around it that came up later. Built in a haphazard way these structures spoil the stately look of Pachaiappa hall.   

 It was here  the first non-missionary, non-British-financed Hindu-funded Western-style educational institution began to function. The preparatory school, Pachaiyappa’s Central Institution later became  Pachaiyappa’s High School.  As its growth was  quite satisfactory, in 1858 it was converted into a second grade (Intermediate) college and later a first grade college in 1889. Because of space constrains the collage moved out  to  a spacious new  campus at Aminjikarai.

In the past, is reported,  at the  Pachaiyappa Hall  Pachaiyappa's College Higher Secondary School and Govindu Naicker Middle School -  founded in 1865, were functioning  as seen from the Boards displayed there. In the ground floor of the premises, there were many  shops  functioning and the building appeared to be not well-maintained. 

First Sabha. Pachaiyappa  Hall, Flower bazaar, Chennai.

The Hindu (dated 13 Sept, 2012) reported  that  on December 22, 1885, Justice T. Muthuswami Iyer (first Indian High Court judge)  read out a paper on Indian music and spoke at length on its features vis-à-vis that of Western music. Grant Duff,  the then Governor of Madras, mentioned about the event  in his diary. 

First ever Sabha program at this hall  was arranged by  Gayan Samaj (that was  inaugurated on August 18, 1883 at the same Hall)  to introduce the British to the nuances of the Carnatic music. It was attended by Lord Monstuart Elphinstone (Gov. of Bombay presidency), Grant Duff ( historian and Gov. of Madras) and his wife, and Lord  Reay (Governor of  Bombay and under secretary of state  of India) and his wife Lady Reay.