Sunday 13 December 2015

Cleanup @ Fort St.George, 22nd November 2015

For second year in succession we had the opportunity to clean parts of Fort St. George and during this occasion it was the St.George Gate. The Heritage Week celebration which takes place between 19th-24th November every year provides an ideal platform for activities of this nature but the another meaning to the word nature was not kind with its activities thus Chennai bore the brunt of North East Monsoon, the city witnessed two heavy spells of rainfall one prior to our cleanup and the next which was the deluge in the first week of December. Our cleanup which was sandwiched between the two was more in the form of necessity as the rain kept the city in its tenterhooks and we had to keep the momentum going since the concept of cleanup at heritage sites in Chennai was something unique and moreover it was in tune with the vision of our Prime Minister for a Clean India.

The site for the cleanup was St.George Gate one among the five gates in the Fort apart from minor ones and most importantly still in use. A quick glance at the history of Fort St .George would invariably take us to  the days of Francis Day and Andrew Cogan the Fort came into existence with the arrival of them on 20th February 1640, the fort was named after St.George, the patron saint of England. It took thirteen years to complete the first form of the fort and the oldest surviving British building is the St.Mary's Church added in 1680. The hectic construction activity between 1756-1783 saw the fort to its present shape. Spread over 42 acres significant buildings include The Secretariat, Exchange Building (Fort Museum), St. Mary's Church, Clive's House, Grand Arsenal and Kings Barracks.

After a brief welcome ceremony at the Fort Museum auditorium around 80 members including the staff and students of KRM Public School, special children from Chettinad Srihari Vikasam and our host ASI Chennai Circle proceeded with cleanup session on the terrace and ramp way of St.George Gate as the stagnant  rain water made it impossible for cleanup around the gate area but it was indeed a blessing since we had the opportunity to remove the plants and weeds that grow on the heritage structure creating cracks in the monument and thereby considerably weakening them, came to know from the authorities that this is single most hectic task and goes all round the year. After a satisfying morning with breakfast arranged at the historic Clive House the cleanup came to an end with distribution of certificates and an added responsibility to all the participants to keep the momentum going ... The journey of thousand miles begins with the first step

Group Picture @ Fort Museum

Newspaper Clipping


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