The city of Chennai is said to be the 36th metropolitan city of the world and the history of the city dates back to nearly 400 years old. The city’s historical past begins from the time of ancient rulers who were there in South India through colonization to the development in the 20th century.
The history and heritage is widely spread across the length and breadth of the city. Come, let us know about some of the heritage buildings and monuments located in the streets of North Chennai that add more historical value to the locality.
Binny Mills Compound, George Town
George Town used to be the trading quarter of the city of Madras, one of its first, centuries ago. On Errabalu Street stands a large compound that enclosed the office of Binny Mills.
Binny Mills was one of the oldest commercial ventures in the city that employed nearly 21000 people in the 1920s. It looks almost like a ghost town. Gutted by several fires, the buildings stand high with tall ceilings, imposing columns, grey shutters with overhangs, in yellow color.
The Armenian Church, was first built in 1712 and later rebuilt after the French siege in 1772. The street on which the church is situated continues to be called the Armenian Street, where the settlers once lived. The first church was built of timber in the present High Court area with permission from the East India Company.
The new church was consecrated in Aga Shawmier’s chapel grounds in George Town. In fact, the last Armenian to live here was Michael Stephen, who left the city a few years ago. And now, only a church, a street named after the community and a few lesser-known relics carry their stories.
Fort St. George
Fort St. George is an eminent colonial monument of Chennai built by the British East India Company and supervised by Andrew Cogon and Francis Day. It is located in George Town, as part of North Chennai. Built in western architectural style, the monument was completed in 23rd April 1640 for establishing a Control Centre.
The day of the completion of the building was the St George’s Day who was the patron saint of England and thus the monument attained this name. Within the campus of this fort, Fort Museum and Saint Mary’s Church are located, the latter being the most ancient Anglican Church.
The Railway Bungalow, Perambur
In the 1850s, when the British were in the process of establishing a modern railway system with Madras as the nerve center, many official bungalows were built. The Railway Bungalow in Perambur is one such structure raised during the ancient period.
Royapuram Railway Station, Royapuram
Built in 1856, the Royapuram Railway station is the third oldest railway station in the country and the oldest in South India.
State Bank of India Building, George Town
Built as per the Victorial architecture, in 1897 by Col. Samuel Jacob, the ancient structure of State bank of India is located in George Town.
Sivan Kovil, Madhavaram
The Kailasanathar Temple is located in the Perumal Koil Street, Madhavaram, Chennai. The temple is around 1 km away from the Madhavaram Bus Depot. This temple is believed to be 1300 years old.
Maadi Poonga, George Town Area
The ‘Maadi poonga’ located in George Town area is an important heritage site. It is the only remnant of the large boundary wall constructed surrounding George town (during the initial years of the British period). When the British defeated Tippu Sultan, they felt that the wall wasn’t necessary anymore. So, they demolished it and the remains are still left as memories.
Madras High Court, George Town
The design of the Madras High Court was prepared by J.W.Brassington and later by Henry Irwin who completed it with the assistance of J.H. Stephens in Indo Saracenic style. The structure was built in 1892.
A lot about a place’s culture and habitat can be learnt from such heritage monuments that are preserved through time and wind. These monuments have survived from the past for a long time and indeed act as fossils of our civilization. They help preserve the rich cultural and historical value of a particular locality. Living in a locality that is surrounded by such heritage buildings can be said as one of a kind privilege for property buyers.