Sathya Vijaya Nagaram palace, Arni town, Tamil Nadu - main palace in total ruins

Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace, Arni, TN

Because of inadequate central and state government laws safeguarding the heritage buildings and  monuments coupled with negligence and official apathy, India has lost lots of monuments and temples steeped in history. The Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace at Arni town is one such a heritage site, slowly turning into a mound of rubble.

Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace, Arni,TN

Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace, Arni,TN

In Tamil Nadu there exists a spectacular British styled  19th century structure called  Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace close to Arni town  in Thiruvannamalai district. Unfortunately, it is facing slow death with many parts of the complex are in ruins.

Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace, Arni,TN

In June 2016 with collapsed  roofs, cracked walls and broken stair- way it was in the most dilapidated state ready to fall any time. At that point of time, this building could have been salvaged with whatever parts were left. The local people and heritage enthusiasts made a futile attempt to urge the government to save the beautiful building. No response from the government and nothing positive had happened. Because its main pillars and basement are about to collapse restoration of this building is a tough job and, it is said, it is beyond redemption. .

Main palace, Arni

Main palace, Arni, TN.  Arni

Main palace, Arni

Above three images Sathya vijaya Nagaram palace close to Arni town-pictures show the ruins of the main palace which once was grand building............

Arni once served as the headquarters of the Arni Jagirs (1640-1648), the palace or Aranmani, as locally called, came up in the early 1800s and expanded in 1876 CE. The palace land was on  a huge plot  covering 300 acres of land. 

It is a three- story building with ground floor and two floors over it and was built in European style with a blend of Indian style. Owned by the state government, part of the Queen’s palace  housed  the Tamil Nadu Govt.  Veterinary Hospital   and  Regional Institute for Rural Development. They vacated this site long ago and the palace had been vacant and unused for a tall time.       

The complex was a big one with a main palace and a queen's palace  that was meant for women folks including Jagirdar's wife.  it is a brick lime-sand masonry work. Lime-sand mortar was widely used in those days and special care was used for wall plastering with well ground lime mixed with egg yolk, etc to impart good polishing. Madras-terraced   high ceilings are supported by quality wood. The pillars are specially made of semi circular bricks and round granite stones to bear the overlying load. to have a better look they included stucco work  on the Pillars, above doors ways, windows both inside and out side. They chose odd features like like lion, human face etc.

The Queen’s Palace
Above image: The Queen's palace was renovated in the recent past. 

In the  Queen’s Palace main entrance door there is  an etching of   Jagirdars emblem (an image of a fort and a hand with sword). A small  Latin phrase is also written.   Apparently, the Jagirdar and his family led a lavish life and, it is said, had a large  fleet of expensive cars  in their garages. It was Maratha king Sahji (Shivaji’s father)  of Thanjavur dynasty who handed over   Arni  town with 100 villages to his commander Vedhaji Bhaskara Punt, a Marathi brahmin  in AD 1640 who used to accompany him.  During the time of the first Jagir, emperor Shivji visited this place on his way to Thanjavur. In 1948, the government took over many properties of the Jagirdar. Till then the Jagirdar and his family members were powerful in this area and got a name.  

The other structure - a forest red bricked European styled  forest bungalow built in 1850 in Poosimalaikuppam by the Jagirdar is slated for renovation soon. it was  designed by architect W N Pogson who had  designed Spencer Plaza on Mount road (now Anna Salai), Chennai in the colonial period.