Heritage Walk - Fort St. George.
People : Mega and "Meesai" Siva
Place : Fort St. George.
A group of dedicated volunteers, who love the city Madras for what it is are organising a series of events to celebrate the birth of Madras every year in the month of august. What started as a "day" a couple of years back, now spans a couple of "weeks" and I wish they grow more in the coming years.
The Madras Day
For all the events for this year, you can check out Events for 2009
Till now, I have never been to these events, and this time after much hesitation decided to drop in for the Fort St. George Heritage walk.
The plan was this
AUG. 16 / SUNDAY
Walk inside the Fort St. George
7.30 am - Walking tour of Fort St. George. In English. 90 mins. Report at parking lot opp. Fort ( eastern gate). Free.
Guide - Dr. Suresh, Archaeologist.
(Option; Fort Museum opens at 10 a.m. so you can check it out on your own. Admission by ticket).
The above plan interested me for various reasons. I have been wanting to go Fort St. George for a long time now, It was free, There was an "archeologist" to explain things.
As mentioned a group of people gathered at the parking lot outside the Fort and exactly at 7.30 A.M the organisers started the walk. My impressions of an Archeologist till now were limited to what the movies have portayed like Mummy and Indiana Jones. But Suresh, the archeologist conducting the walk seemed a normal person just like any of us.
Though he gave a lot of information, I will try to write down whatever has sunk in.
He started with how the English merchants found the city. The English had started business from Andhra and one of them walked down from andhra along the beach and found this place where the fort exists as a good place to start their business. He selected this place due to various reasons and one of the unconfirmed being that he fell in love with a girl in nearby Triplicane.
There was a time, when the fort itself was the City and hence the fort looked like a Mini city with its own streets, temples, churches, canteens, hotels, posh localities, ordinary localities and also ATMS.
The Museum .
St Marys church
The british it seems did not business with anything else, not even religion and for a long time resisted opening a church inside the fort. But later they relented and had to construct this church in 1695 which stands till this day. Suresh, the archeologist mentioned that the walls of this church were 1 metre wide and the church was supposed to be "bomb-proof" which seems to have been proven since this church has lasted many wars.
A short history of the church.
In the exterior of the church, there were gravestones for many persons.
The church had many things of historical value and was like a museum with many artifacts.
This is the biggest single musical instrument I have seen till now. Its a pipe organ and the sound comes out of the white pipes that are in the instrment.
Clive House :
It seems when Clive was the governor he stayed here in this bungalow and hence its known as Clive house. Clives marriage was registered in the church we saw above and he had spent his honeymoon years here in this bungalow.
The first floor was the highpoint of this bungalow, because it had a hall which was 2 floors high which present houses a Photo exihibition by the Archeologist who accompanied us.
Dirty section of the Fort:
These are some of the places Suresh termed as the dirty and unkept section of the fort. The place is full of army personnel and the place doesnt speak good of the army. The archeologist showed us a Army Barracks which is the biggest army barracks till date in india but the army prevents anyone from seeing it because they have broken it. And we were also not allowed to take photographs.
The Walls :
The fort has two parallely running walls, the outer wall and inner wall.
Must have been a moat :
Namakkal Kavignar Maligai :
One of the new building in the fort and the one our Archeologist was very unhappy about. But its repetitive symmetrical patterns was a sight.
The event was very well organised and went without any hiccups. Hence I am planning to go for the Pallikaranai Marsh - Nature walk in the next week, The details of which are below.
AUG. 22 2009
Madras Naturalists Society organises a Nature Walk in Pallikaranai marshes guided by Preston Ahimaz, a resource person from MNS. Starts at 7 am.
If you plan to drive, take the OMR, past the toll booth in Perungudi and take a right at the signal after the toll. You will come across yet another toll booth. Go past the tool booth and assemble at the Forest Department 'Protected Area' sign post at 7: 00 am.
If you take the Velachery main Road you can avoid paying toll. You have to take the Velachery Tambaram Rd, past the Vijayanagar Bus stand, the flyover and then take the left going towards Thoraipakkam. The Forest Department 'Protected Area' sign post will then come on the right.
The duration of the programme will be approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Contact Preston Ahimaz - 94445751404, K. V. Sudhakar - 99625 15479
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