Kilpauk, Chennai: Ignored colonial buildings on the temple plot to be restored or demolished?

Kilpauk, Chennai  heritage

Above image: The heritage buildings on a 142-ground land parcel, Chennai  owned by the Kancheepuram Ekambareeshwarar temple. Structural stability is the main problem caused by overgrowth of vegetation,........ .. 

Across India in the last several decades we've lost lots of foot prints of history upon which the historical narrative depends and without which there will be hiatus between the modern era and bygone period.  The link with the past should not be broken in the middle. Primary reasons  are  official apathy, lack of interest and protection of monument by way of erection of barricade around them and strict law of enforcement. Apart, there is no cooperation from the public and the people living near the monuments. Many monuments  in the prime areas of the city are encroached upon by the greedy and grasping shopkeepers who occupy the space and spoil their beauty,  heritage aspects and its serenity.  For example, the banquet hall in the govt. estate in Chennai; only recently many of the violators were removed from the site for the purpose of renovation. In the case of famous Nellaiappar temple, Tirunelveli city the main entrance gate gopura to the sprawling temple has become narrow because there are so many shops in the facade on either side of he entrance gate with a tall, heavy nicely made wooden door (more than 15 foot tall) and the adjacent entrance hall with amazingly beautiful ornamental wooden roof. The rows of  shops  ought to be removed as they mar the heritage site and create an unpleasant ambiance. 

As for colonial era buildings across South India, the state governments have woken up from the slumber and are making efforts to preserve   them as much as they can. However, there are structures that need immediate attention. For example, a huge plot of 142-ground land parcel belonging to the Kancheepuram Ekambareeshwarar temple  recently retrieved by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) department; this site on     the arterial Poonamallee High Road at Kilpauk recently  exposed the the fate of  once beautiful British era structures  that are wirit with total negligence. Four colonial-era buildings on the plot are in a  dilapidated condition. Years of neglect and lack of periodic  up keep have  spelt doom, Apart from wilting under age, they are facing slow death,  crumbling with vegetation growing out of the walls and the growing roots of the trees promote mechanical weathering in the form of root wedging. Strong roots growing through the hard rock  


mechanical weathering, root-wedging.

layers split them into small pieces. Less known and acknowledged are the geomorphological functions of tree roots growing on the neglected buildings. If unchecked, they may cause havoc to the building..

In the site  very much affected are the wooden doors and windows that are  broken with the missing iron railings; perhaps taken away by vandals or hooligans.

bldg. with broken windows and doors,Kilpauk, Chennai

Among the buildings  two of them occupied by the department of posts some five years ago are not in good shape. One building that was occupied by an individual till two years ago  shows  the least damage. But it too has a huge crack in the main wall. Two other buildings vacated by the department of posts some five years ago  have fallen in ruins. Though the HR&CE department had a new building built, they changed the plan and    considered restoring them. The proposal may be an expensive one as the stability of the structure is in question. The department sought the help of a consultant  to put the building to reuse.The proposed renovation could cost  ₹10 crore, but they had to fix the vertical cracks on the walls. The proposal to run a college was given up, however the buildings could be restored to be maintained as a monument. There has a public outcry over the proposal by the HR7CE to build marriage halls on the plots owned by the temples.