Maratha building (Aranmanai) of Thiruvidaimaruthur, TN - needs heritage status and restoration

Thiruvidaimaruthur,TN Maratha building in a

Maratha Amar Singh's home, Thiruvidaimaruthu.

Above images: Close to the Mahadana street and the road leading to Veepathur village, this Maratha building  in Thiruvidaimaruthur was fairly in good shape. On a few occasions I went past this vintage structure in the late 1950s and early 1960s when I accompanied my uncle (from Veepathur) to attend temple festivals in the Mahalingeswar temple. People used to call it Maratha Aranmanai. 
While in exile here Amar singh of Tanjore Maratha kingdom never sat idle and patronized Carnatic music and many well-known musicians used to visit his home to show their talents. What was once a grand mini Aranmani (palace) with  arcaded hall, rooms courtyard, kitchen and other interior parts has been  in ruins for decades and still remains uncared for. Not barricaded, hooligans' and drunks can trespass this site and cause damages.  From the road side one can notice the Rajasthani styled Jharokha on either side of the building with damaged jaali screen (lattice window) in the facade. The projected balconies were built  for the womenfolk to watch the events going on down the street. Besides, jharokha windows allow good aeration and keep indoos cool. it is not a massive building and both ground and first floor are damaged, Brick- lime mortar masonry building  with thick walls, because of its planned construction, it has survived this far, barring poor upkeep and vagaries of climatic changes all through the seasons. As for the parapet walls all around the building on the first floor terrace, the balusters are gone/damaged. This type of parapet wall and railing is a common feature in the most of Maratha buildings in the fort area of Thanjavur city.......................... 

Jharokha,with damage Jaali screen Amarasingh’s palace, Thiruvidaimarudur,TN

Maratha Amar Singh's home, Thiruvidaimaruthur.

Amar Singh of Tanjore Maratha kingdom. 

There lie across our country thousands of known and unknown monuments and classified and non-classified heritage structures in a dilapidated state for reasons of utter negligence and official apathy, lack of interest among local people to save them for the posterity and above all   devoid  of  adequate funds for their periodic structural or building repairs.  If restored and taken care of,  such sites provide ample scope for development of tourism. Like Kerala, Karnataka and West bengal states, the TN government also embarked on an ambitious and mammoth project to repair and restore  numerous classified heritage buildings, primarily built during the colonial  time across the state. The interesting aspect of such restoration work is the restored building is put to reuse by the government. Amir Mahal, PWD building, Victoria town hall of Chennai, Kuthiraivandi District court on Avinashi road and hamilton Police club building of Coimbatore city are good examples. 

 Naqqar Khana, Amar  Singh's palace, Thiruvidaimarudur

Near the temple town of Kumbakonam in Thiruvidaimarudur which is famous for Mahalingeswar temple (dedicated to God Shiva)  lies a dilapidated Maratha building locally called Aranmanai or the home of Maratha royal Amar Singh (alias Ramaswami Amarasimha Bhonsle), son of Raja Pratap Singh . Privately owned, many heritage lovers and historians want this old building repaired and restored soon as this pretty old building is structurally weak and may further suffer more damages  due to overgrowth of vegetation, plants, weeds, etc not only around the structure but also on the structure itself. One could see wild  growth of  plants on the outer walls both on the first and ground floors, marrying  the beauty of the building and the stucco work on the balconies.

Built in 1787 by  Raja Tulajaji II of Thanjavur Maratha Bhonsle Dynasty, historians say it was used  by his brother Amar Singh (also Amara Sinmha, a Regent from 1787 to 1793) till his death apparently in the early 1800s. Exiled in 1797 from the kingdom for seizing  the throne - 1793 to 1797  from Raja Tulajaji's adopted son Serfoji while acting as a Regent  for the minor king, Amer Singh, with his own retinue, ran his own  court with the pension he got from the kingdom. A devotee and patron of the local Shiva temple, he was fond of Carnatic music and encouraged many musicians by converting his home as a venue for the music concerts. Amar Singh's attempt to take over the kingdom ended in fasco because of interference from Fr.  Frederick Schwartz, a German missionary of Thanjavur who was Serfoji' s guardian. With support from the English company , he helped young Serfoji ascend the throne and Amer Singh was sent to Thiruvidaimaruthur to live in exile.  

Tanjore maratha kingdom, TN

With the passing away of Pratap Singh and Amer Singh, historical details are not available about the Aranmanai at Thiruvidaimaruthur.  As there was no legal heir to the throne, the EIC annexed the Maratha kingdom in 1855 leaving the royal family to control the fort and nearby areas in Tanjore. The royal family was left with inadequate income to maintain their royal status and their paraphernalia.