Sunday, 22 April 2018

CHURCHES OF POONAMALLEE – St.MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH, CSI WESLEY CHURCH & St. JOHN THE BAPTIST’S CHURCH – EXPLORING POONAMALLEE – A HERITAGE WALK.


… a continuation Post of Exploring Poonamallee
15th April 2018.
During our Exploring Poonamallee heritage walk, we covered 19th Century  Churches constructed by the Britishers for their officers and Soldiers. The structures are constructed with brick and lime mortar. A Cemetery was also shared between St Mary Magdalene Church and CSI Wesly Church.

St. MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH
The earliest 1796 AD Chaplain was there at Fort St. George. After Converting the Mohammaden Fort of Poonamallee in to a Garrison, it was felt a need of  a Church to cater the British Officers and Solders.  1806 AD Rev Hough  belonging to Christian Missionary Movement laid down the in 1815 AD and W Sawyer started the construction of this Church for Poonamallee and St Thomas Mount. The Church has the Simple alter, Two chairs, teak wood windows for ventilation, Belgium glasses in alter and the floors are paved with cudappa slabs. The bronze bell was brought from London. Bishop Middleton consecrated the Church on 13th April 1819 AD.

To cater more no of people the Church was expanded on sides in the form of cross to a size of 2142 sq foot in the year 1845 AD and started function a full time Church exclusively for Poonamallee alone. It was happy to note that the old Church wad not pulled down after constructing a new Church with modern amenities. The Church is being used to conduct Bible classes for children on Sundays.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE







Bell tower imported from UK
CSI WESLEY CHURCH
There are  two old Churches stands east and west side of the new Wesly Church. These churches are part of Methodist Mission. Both Churches might have been built during 19th Century and exact dates are known. Compared to the St Mary Magdalene Church, it was believed that these two Churches catered for the Soldiers. From the records of the Mission in 1823 AD, Elijah Hoole visited this Church  for prayers and preached in Tamil to the congregation. At present the Churches are being used for conducting Bible classes to the Children.
    
LOCATION:CLICK HERE




St. JOHN THE BAPTIST’S CHURCH.
This Church comes under RC and this parish existed from 1818AD. This Church was constructed in the year 1840 AD by Rev Doctor Carew on a burial ground of Mohammaden Fort of Poonamallee to cater  British Soldiers. Latter from the year 1912 AD the Church was used by the pensioners and the Native of Poonamallee Catholics. It was built in the shape of a cross of 59 feet length with a separate Bell tower.
 
The old Church was pulled down and a new Church was built. The new Church was consecrated  on 24th April 1990, by the Dr Casimir Gnanadickam, Arch Bishop of Madras – Mylapore. The 19th century the original Bell tower was retained and stand tall to reminds the past.

A memory stone is also found at the entrance of the Church with inscription plaques on all four sides erected from the public fund. The inscriptions  states that this was erected in recognition  of  Rev Fr. J P Fitzpatrick, who served nearly 40 years  as an Ex-Officio member of the Contonment Committee & R C Military Chaplain of Poonamallee. He was born in Roscommon Ireland on 28th May 1848 and died at St Patrick Monastry – Adyar on 17th September 1927 AD.

On the back side it was inscribed that the Lighting was inaugurated by Dewan Bahadur R N Arogyaswami Mudaliar, Ex- Minister, Govt Of Madras on 9th June 1920.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE





St. MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH CEMETERY
This cemetery was consecrated on 13th April 1819AD. Those who deceased  in the Poonamallee garrison was laid to rest in this cemetery. Initially this cemetery was used for both officers and Soldiers of the Garrison – St Mary Magdalene Church & CSI Wesly Church  and now the Cemetery is under the control of  St Mary Magdalene Church. Some historically important and oldest  graves are….

The earliest grave was for a Captain Ambrose Russel belongs to 1795 AD., the elder brother of Irish Radical Thomas Russel ( Who was executed in Ireland )

Major Donald Mc Donald – 1799 AD, who headed the 2nd Battalion in charge of the siege of Seringapatnam. Belongs to 34th Battalion of Madras Native Infantry in Vellore in 1794 AD which became 84th Punjabis in 1903AD, and the regiment was absorbed in Pakistan Army.  He died in the year 1799. AD.

Lieutenant Patrick heron Newall in 1809AD, who served in Madras European Regiment.

Ensign Ingleby – 1818 AD from St Helena where Napolean was held captive.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE






---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---

Thursday, 19 April 2018

SRI PANAYATHAMMAN TEMPLE, POONAMALLE – EXPLORING POONAMALLEE - A HERITAGE WALK

... A continuation post to Kottai Veeran Muneeswarar Temple - Exploring Poonamaallee - A Heritage Walk
15th April 2018.
Our next visit before Poonamallee big mosque was to Sri Panayathamman Temple, which has the history connected with Queen Vitoria. Though the temple is small but it has the heritage value.
Main deity : Sri Panayathamman

Some of the important features of this temple are…
This Amman temple is facing North on the left side of Main road before Poonamallee. The main sanctum sanctorum consists of sanctum, arathamandapam and a shed as muka mandapam. The sanctum does not have any Vimana. In the sanctum ceiling we could found the supporting granite salbs has the Chozha period inscriptions ( might have been brought from a nearby Chozha Period temple ).

In the outer prakaram statues of amman ( might be a Pothyal of  pillars), a Kanthu, an 18th century memory stone / a village small deity  and head less Ayyanar with poorna and puskala. The temple is a Ellai kaval theivam and once this place was with full of Plamyrah ( Panai maram in Tamil language )  groves, hence Amman got this name.

On 16th February 1887, Queen Visctoria’s Golden Jublee was celebrated in Poonamallee. All the streets were decorated with thoranams, arches and  flags inscribed as “Long Live Empress Victoria”, “May the British Empire Prosper”, “May the British Empire Lost Long”, “God save the Empress”, etc,. As a part of celebration, about 1000 people were  fed with non vegetarian food in this Panayathamman temple. In the evening Urchars are taken out for procession.

TEMPLE TIMINGS:
The temple will be kept opened between 06.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs 

HOW TO REACH:
This temple is on the main road before Poonamallee from Guindy.
20 to 30 meters from Poonamallee big Mosque

LOCATION:CLICK HERE

 Chozha Period inscription slab kept to support the ceiling 
 Kanthu ( The earliest form of Shiva Linga Worship )
 A panel of small deity / or memory stone of 18th century

Head less Ayyanar with poorna and puskala.

---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---

BIG MOSQUE – EXPLORING POONAMALLEE – A HERITAGE WALK.

…. A Continuation post to  Sri Panayathamman Temple  - Exploring Poonamallee – A Heritage Walk 
15th April 2018.
During our walk we had covered this  Mosque also, apart from Hindu Temples and Churches. As per the inscription this Mosque was built and completed on 3rd August 1653 AD by one Rustam and his father Asthirabath Dhul-fikr, who worked under Nawab Janablath-Ul-Mulki Mir Muhammed,  the   representative of Golconda,  during this period Madras was under the rule of Golconda King, Hajrat Alampanna Sultan Abdullah Syed.   Sujayitha was the  Hawaldar of the fort Punamallee at that time. 

This inscription was estampaged and recorded by Pulavar Se. Raju, when he was worked with Thanjavur Tamil University.  This inscription is recorded in Indo-moslemica, 1938 and Annual report on Epigraphy (B) 303 & 304 of 1939. This is the first Mosque built in Indo – Saracenic  Style in Tamil Nadu. After renovations it is not looking like Indo Saracenic style and also it was learnt this has been converted as Dhargah. In the inscription plaque, they thanked Se. Raju  for identifying the details of this mosque. Now the inscription was completely covered with tiles. The Mosque follows the principles of Ahle Sunnath-wal-Jama’th.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE




---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---

To be Continued ….. Exploring Poonamallee – A Heritage Walk

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

KOTTAI VEERAN MUNEESWARAR TEMPLE, BUCKINGHAM STREET, KARAYANCHAVADI - EXPLORING POONAMALLEE - A HERITAGE WALK.

 … a continuation post to Victory Memorial Blind School  –Exploring Poonamallee - A Heritage Walk 
15th April 2018.
This is one of the Hindu temples visited during our Poonamallee Heritage walk curated by Mrs Nivedita Louis. It was believed that This temple might be within or a Guarding deity of the Mohammaden Fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic in 18th century.

The temple is facing east with sannadhis for Vinayagar, Shiva Lingam and the main Sanctum. At the entrance of the main sanctum on the left Bommiamman and on the right Sri Veerabhathirar in sitting posture with a mazhu on his left hand  ( as per the details of the sculpture this Beerabhathirar may belongs to Chozha period, might have been brought from an abandoned Shiva temple).

In the Sanctum, on the left is again a Veerabhathirar, sitting in sukasana with a mazhu in left hand, A lady the Kottai Muneeswarar (Praobably a sati stone – could not be identified due to 75% was covered with vasthiram ) at the centre and on the right is the Pal Muneeswarar in standing posture. 
   
TEMPLE TIMINGS:
The temple will be kept opened between 06.00 hrs to 11.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs on Fridays & Sundays and on the other days temple will be closed an hour earlier.

CONTACT DETAILS:
Poojari L Boopathi may be contacted on his mbile 7824025654 and 8610459157 for further details.

HOW TO REACH:
This temple is on the Buckingham Street in Karayanchavadi.
About 500 meters from Karayanchavadi signal and about 20 meters before St John The Baptist Church.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE


 Veerabhathirar
Bommiamman

---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

VICTORY MEMORIAL BLIND SCHOOL, – EXPLORING POONAMALLEE - A HERITAGE WALK / RIDE

15th April 2018.
The much awaited Poonamllee heritage walk came to true  on 15th April 2018 with 20+ history enthusiastic participants. This walk or the ride (both 4 wheeler and 2 wheeler ) was curated by Mrs Nivedita Louis, a freelance journalist,  after 3 times painful recee to get permission and first hand information. The beauty is, the persons in-charge of that heritage places, do not know the real history behind it.

Our original plan was to start 16.00  hrs,  from the blind school was changed to 07.00 hrs and aimed to complete by 10.00 hrs, to avoid to visit  the places after  sun set.  Out of 13 places planned, we could able to cover 12  historical places with new findings and Thirukachi Nambikal & Sri Varadharaja Perumal temple was dropped for want of time ( 13 Cut short to 12, since 13 may not be lucky number.. ha..ha.. ). This post and continuation posts of my  blog  will cover the important details of our Poonamallee heritage visit,  of course with some photographs.

VICTORY MEMORIAL BLIND  SCHOOL
Initially there was a fort measuring 175 yards by 42 yards called Mohammaden fort, built by Nawab of carnatic with 18 feet high rampart, bastions, moats and fortification which divides  the Poonamallee in to two parts. Muhammad Ali gave this fort to British with 330 sq miles, (which had 231 Villages) in 1749 CE and  again 2284 sq miles(which had 2000 villages)  in 1763 CE,  to ascend to throne of Arcot with British armed support.  During 1780 CE to 1800 CE, struggle between Mysore, French, British and Nawab,  this fort got military importance and  Garrison was constructed to house barracks, Stables, retirement recluse and Hospital. 

The construction of the barracks was started in 1888 CE and completed in March 1893 CE. Some of the streets of the Villages are named by the Britishers ( Buckingham Street, Queen Victoria Road, Sepoy Line., etc.. ). Quarters, kitchens, prison for petty thieves  prison for the war soldiers ( French ) were also added. The floors of the Barracks was laid with cudappa stones. ( the available stones at that time are used for flooring of the stables which includes  dismantled more than 1000 years old Hindu temples with  Chozha period inscriptions )   The stable could house 500 horses and famed Poonamallee Arab horses were bred here. 

Albert HA Hervy, a young Captain served in the 40th regiment of Madras Native infantry in 1830s in his book ‘Ten Years in India” describes the poor condition of the barracks. The European soldiers are accommodated in a poor condition. Fort walls of Poonamalle fort was knocked down. The Hospital and part  of barracks, the ramparts running along these buildings keep out of any healthy circulation of air. The officers quarters are wretched, little bits of pigeon holes and so hot that any one residing within them ought to be grilled to death. The French Barracks housed prisoners are the ‘best in the place’. The pensioners residing within the limit of depot, in cottages neatly laid out, with small gardens in front.

Later in 1931CE, Asia’s first high school was started  in this barracks as per Eric Conran Smith’s idea and named as Victory Memorial Blind School to commemorate the victory of British in world war –I. Rayappa Joseph was the first Indian Principal. 950 students once on roll was now with only 250 students. Vocational training classes also conducted for the women. Regional Braille Press, Govt rehabilitation center for blind women, blind teachers training institute are function here.

Now the area has shrunk to 36 acres of which 10 acres are with CRPF, Hospital and a Sacred Heart Seminary.  At present there is no trace of Fort or the fort walls and the present Sri Kottai veeran Muneeswarar temple may remind the fort once existed ( details will be in next post ).

LOCATION:CLICK HERE
 A Panoramic View of the Victory memorial school 
 Blind school view from road side 
 Stairs to first floor
 Barracks corridor 
 Kitchen 
 Hospital ward 
 Horse Stable corridor
 The inscription stone of the Barracks building 
 Chozha inscription (May be Rajaraja)
Vikrama Chozha ( 1118 - 1136 AD) inscription

To be continued ...Kottai Veeran Muneeswaran Temple - Exploring Poonamallee - A Heritage Walk 
                                   --- OM  SHIVAYA NAMA---