Wednesday 1 January 2020

Kathivakkam Clock Tower Rediscovered

In this era of smart phones and tech gadgets, the Stand Alone Clock Towers seem to have lost their relevance and become mere things of the past barring some small towns in Tamil Nadu where they still find patronage. Called in Tamil as "Mani Koondu" they once performed the role of a wrist watch and became an essential part of peoples lives. Thus these structures became vital around which institutions, markets and bus stands began to mushroom.

While the concept of these Clock Tower date back to pre Industrial revolution period in the Western World. Little information is available about their history in Chennai, it is said that our city once had fourteen such structures, but today all that remains are those at Mint Street, Doveton (Vepery), Pattalam, Tondiarpet and Royapettah. The Thiruvanmiyur Clock Tower was the latest to join in the recent years, not to mention the imposing Thiruvottiyur Clock Tower that perished in last decade.

Even as it was thought that only six Clock Towers presently exist in Chennai, the Kathivakkam - Ennore Stand Alone Clock Tower jumped on to the bandwagon in the recent weeks thereby increasing the total to seven, similar to the Thiruvanmiyur structure this Clock Tower was almost hidden from the public view all these years covered partially by the trees and the building. The Clock Tower was inaugurated by then Chief Minister of Madras Shri. M. Bhaktavatsalam on 29-01-1967 fortunately the inauguration plaque has survived, while the clock on the tower is not functional, the structure seems to weakening due to growth of vegitation on one side even though it is not critical.

This blog was featured in 'The Hindu'Downtown dated 29th December 2019