July 15, 2005

Quarrying threatens Jain sculptures

It has been happening for quite sometime..But the authorities gave a damn abt it.

Indiscriminate quarrying is threatening Perumal Malai, a serene hill on Theni-Madurai main road about 18 km from Madurai, which had once been the seat of the Jains and contains exquisite sculptures of Jain priests, a geologist and residents said.

The Hindu report says alleged local officials could be conniving with quarry workers.

It is high time the authorities wake up to save atleast the remains of this great Tamil heritage.

Read One of my earlier posts on SamanarMalai near Madurai.

July 12, 2005

Shameless Creatures

Happened to get this picture thro a forward. Even though we are used to atrocities of the administrators, this one shook me..
I guess thousands of such incidents are very much happening...But it takes a picture to give that knock out punch..Kudos to Indian Express photographer for taking this photo of a joint commissioner of police - K. Kumaraswamy—riding on the shoulders of a constable in Vadodara, his trousers rolled up,as the man carrying him wades through flood waters.
KPS Gill gives a tongue lashing in Indian Express : Framed: Indian Administration

July 08, 2005

Underground Cellar - Chennai Fort St. George

We are just scratching the surface of digging ..I presume...;-)

A mysterious underground cellar or vault has been discovered in the building that houses the Fort Museum on the premises of the historic Fort St. George.

This building, completed in 1795, housed the Madras Bank (now State Bank of India).
This underground room was perhaps used as a vault for safe-keeping," Mr. Satyamurthy,Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circlesaid.

In 1787, Peter Massey Cassin, "a free merchant of Madras," wrote to the Madras Government, proposing the construction of a building to house an Exchange to conduct trade. An Exchange company was formed with a capital of 25,000 star pagodas. A piece of land with a house, belonging to another free merchant, Robert Hughes, was bought. The present building was completed in 1795 after demolishing the house.

More in the The mystery of the underground cellar article in The Hindu.

Madras Univeristy Senate House - Facelift

Something to Cheer about ;-)

A building more than a century old will come back to life again.

A shining example of what is called the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the building, begun in 1869, was completed in 1873. A prominent Chennai landmark, it bears testimony to the genius of its architect Robert F. Chisolm

At a press conference on Wednesday, Vice Chancellor of Madras University, Dr. Thyagarajan said, "The roof is done, the woodwork is done, the coloured glass work is done, the lime plastering is done, and the fresco restoration is also done with vegetable dyes." The renovation is estimated to cost around Rs. 6 crores.

Read more in Senate House on the road to resurrection article that appread in the Hindu.

July 07, 2005

SamanarMalai - Madurai/TamilNadu - Jain Caves

Jainism flourshied in SouthIndia 2000 yrs back. Now the number of Tamil Jains (samanar/nainar) has trickled down to few thousands.
I would bring to you info on a series of ancient jain temples in tamilnadu:

To start with - SamanarMalai/SamanaMalai

Samanar malai is situated just 12 km west of Madurai.

Right at the centre of the hill is a big natural cavern in which Jain monks lived 2,000 years ago. A Brahmi inscription is engraved on the `forehead' of the cave and another on the lithic bed which dates back to the 1st Century A.D.

The Jain rock sculptures of Mahavira, Gomateswara, Yaksha and Yakshi and bas reliefs bear inscriptions in Vatteluthu, dating back to the 9th Century A.D. Archaeologists have recorded the existence of a Jain school and a natural fountain called "pechchi pallam" here.

Read the Road-Less Travelled article in the Hindu on Samanar Malai.