Museums, monuments and memorials: a historical past tour of Chennai in 48 hours

Museums, monuments and memorials: a history tour of Chennai in 48 hours

2021-11-25 10:35:45

Pandemic journey may be difficult; so take a staycation as a substitute, and discover town of Chennai which wears many badges on its sleeve: seat of tradition, hub of medication — the primary metropolis of contemporary India

Chennai has sufficient nooks and crannies that spin their very own tales even for the native. Listed here are monuments, museums and memorials to discover.

Pack a picnic hamper, and uncover Madras nalla Madras.

Day 1

9am: Depart on the first light for the Dutch Fort, Sadras, close to Kalpakkam. Within the surreal monsoon mild, the fort seems to be like a fading snapshot of colonial India. A gate with spikes, guarded by cannon stands on the entrance of this ASI monument with carved tombstones of Dutch sailors buried between 1620 and 1769. Skulls and crossbones, ships with billowing sails, and a person of struggle are etched into the stone.

A warren of tunnels with clear sand, and eating and dancing halls results in the moss-lined steps — you glimpse the Bay of Bengal from the place the British bombed this fort and captured it in 1854.

Sadras Fort, built by the Dutch

11.30 am: Again in Chennai, make a detour to Taramani, a hub of training with institutes such because the Roja Muthiah Analysis Library. This can be a treasure home of fabric on the humanities and social sciences, compiled over 200 years. The personal assortment of Roja Muthiah, as soon as a signboard artist who fell in love with outdated books, the library has a number of the best Tamil books, the oldest printed in 1804.

Midday: Cease at Santhome Basilica, a Gothic church with gorgeous stained-glass panels, one in all three church buildings on the earth constructed over the tomb of an apostle of Christ, and gawk at Santhome’s outdated backyard homes from the Portuguese period, genteel however fraying on the edges. Down the street is the Kapaleeswarar temple, lording over streets stuffed with the aura of jasmine and filter espresso.

Kapaleeshwarar temple

12.30 pm: Drive previous the Classical-style DGP’s workplace, College Senate and Struggle Memorial to reach at Fort St George. That is the place trendy India was based when the Fort was accomplished in 1644 and from the place the Union Jack unfurled throughout Asia. Metropolis historian Sriram V suggests you spend two hours to discover 24 important factors within the fort. St Mary’s, the oldest Anglican church East of the Suez with its grand pipe organ performs host to the Armistice service each second Sunday of November to honour World Struggle veterans.

I journey quicker than HG Wells’ time machine at Fort Museum, treading its wooden-floored galleries that inventory memorabilia from the Raj and newly-independent India. Inbuilt 1795 the Fort Museum as soon as housed the Madras Financial institution and is disabled-friendly, its louvered home windows open to cash, portraits and offbeat tales similar to Captain Philip Anstruther’s cage during which he was held captive along with his knees hammered. Additionally, wander by King’s Barracks, Clive’s home and the Duke of Wellington’s home.

Additionally Learn | Historical past classes about Madras Excessive Courtroom, Chennai

2.30 pm: The Madras Excessive Courtroom advanced was accomplished by Henry Irwin in 1892. The Indo-Saracenic construction is house to 2 of town’s early lighthouses, one a Doric column of Pallavaram granite, the opposite atop the principle constructing seen 32 miles out at sea. The turrets, grasp excessive above town’s smog and have been what many first noticed of Madras once they got here in by masula boats. It additionally survived two World Wars.

A gallery lined with Minton tiles and portraits results in a court-room the place the accused made their look by a entice door set within the ground. Different intriguing instances and prized regulation paperwork are on the Excessive Courtroom Museum.

3.30 pm: Wander previous Armenian Church, into Mannadi, chock-a-block with migrants for practically 200 years. The air is thick with Telugu, Marwari and Gujarati. Drive to Royapuram, as soon as the hang-out of Anglo-Indians, remembered now solely within the names scratched out on the worn-out flagstones of Bishop Corrie’s faculty.

Additional, The Communicable Ailments Hospital stands on the positioning of emigration depots that have been holding areas for indentured labour who set sail to locations as far afield as Fiji to fund the Raj. The steps to Maadi Poonga are shaded by bougainvillea. Right here lies the northern boundary wall inbuilt 1772 of the as soon as walled metropolis of Madras.

Armenian Church in Georgetown

Day 2

9 am: Swing the automotive down Poonamallee Excessive Street taking within the sights of Madras Medical School, Central Station, Siddique Sarai, Victoria Corridor and Ripon Constructing, Authorities School of Nice Arts, St Andrews Kirk and Egmore Railway Station to the Tamil Nadu Police Museum on Pantheon Street.

Additionally Learn | Tamil Nadu Police Museum, Chennai, showcases the historical past of our women and men in khaki

A penny farthing utilized by a beat constable stands alongside a bullet-proof SUV. Inside, nation bombs, pistols and trendy weaponry function alongside tales of sensational crimes.

Additional down the street, the red-brick colonnaded Authorities Museum, Chennai has the biggest assortment of Roman antiquities outdoors of Europe. Sujatha Shankar, convenor, INTACH, Chennai chapter, recommends seeing the Bronze Gallery and the Amaravathi sculptures. It was additionally right here that the concept for town’s first zoo was considered by Orientalist Edward Balfour.

2 pm: It’s full steam forward to the Rail Museum, its parks stuffed with engines and carriages of iconic trains such because the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. One of many museum’s charming workers swings the buggy nearer for me to try its Caledonian blue construction.

The engine of the Himalayan Darjeeling Railway, painted a Caledonian blue, at the Chennai Rail Museum

The engine of the Himalayan Darjeeling Railway, painted a Caledonian blue, on the Chennai Rail Museum
| Photograph Credit score: Deepa Alexander

The galleries are stuffed with miniatures that take you again to the hiss of scorching steam and the sharp toot of the brass whistle when the prepare snakes round a bend. Images seize the Railways lengthy journey because the first prepare ran from Bombay to Thane in 1853. There are additionally photos of the Swiss engineers who lent the Integral Coach Manufacturing unit the primary expertise, and luminaries similar to Leonid Brezhnev and Queen Elizabeth II who’ve visited the ICF. Don’t miss the outdated world attraction of cutlery from that Indian traditional — the Railway Ready Room.

4 pm: On the Madras Struggle Cemetery the place headstones commemorate women and men who died in each World Wars pause on the austere Stone of Remembrance with the phrases ‘Their Identify Liveth For Evermore’, chosen by Rudyard Kipling to venerate the lifeless of the Empire.

Then, because the lengthy drawn-out twilight of the East falls on town, drive up St Thomas Mount. On one aspect is the church, on the opposite, a birds-eye view of Chennai caught in a sweep of nightfall.

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