Sunday 1 January 2017

The Forgotten Tiruvanmiyur Stand alone Clock Tower

Stand alone Clock Towers have always been considered as a landmark wherever they existed, mostly ascribed in the regional language as Mani Koondu many of the commercial establishments and other institutions were situated around them, even in this age of smart phones the centrally located mofussil bus stand near to these structures with the surrounding market is something unique to our region.The Stand alone Clock Towers in Madras seems to have an unique architecture and modelled on the lines of European ideals which existed there in 18th & 19th Centuries. Of the existing Clock Towers in Chennai the Mint Clock Tower seems to have been popular and the ones in Pattalam and Royapettah have similar design in the bottom half, while Doveton can be considered the smallest that in Tondiarpet seems to be the tallest, other than these one can also come across a miniature Clock tower located in WCC Campus at Nungambakkam . If time keepers of the city P.Orr & Sons still maintain the Royapettah Clock Tower, Gani & Sons have provided clocks to the city administration between 1940-1960's articles in newspapers which now and then appear when these Clock Towers were renovated by the Corporation of Chennai bring forward information which otherwise is scarce. 

The Tiruvanmiyur Stand alone Clock Tower which is besides the present day bus stop for mofussil buses on ECR Road and just opposite to the market seems to have been in existence since early 1960's and I have been a witness to it ever since my childhood days (ie:) mid 1970's. Being a landmark those were days when many Horse Carriage (Jatkas) would stand lined up near the Clock Tower awaiting to pick and drop people residing in RTO, Kottivakkam and far flung areas. Any old time resident would vouch the area being surrounded with green groves, scattered ponds and direct view of the sea from the roadside. Thus it is no wonder that the scenic road also having historical significance was called "Vadakku Peruvazhi" (Great way North) during the Chola Period.

The present day status of this Clock Tower long hidden by the tree branches and surrounding shops looks disheartening and grave, the structure seems to be weak and only experts can determine its fate as all the approaches to the Clock Tower seems to be cut off, if like minded people, institutions, others organisation and the local authorities join hands together this landmark structure can be restored and brought back to life. Similarly to that of Schmidt Memorial in Besant Nagar Beach and thereby adding another identity to the temple town of Tiruvanmiyur. Trust a day will dawn when our city's sixth Stand alone Clock Tower ticks.

The Six Stand alone Clock Towers in Chennai 

My article in The Hindu Downtown dt 23-12-2016

The Hindu Downtown 

Times of India dt 27-12- 2016

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