Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Padmavilasom Palace West Fort, Thiruvananthapuram - the heritage royal abode is now a star hotel


Padmavilasom PalaceThiruvananthapuram.thehindu.com

Padmavilasom PalaceThiruvananthapuram.thehindu.com

Padmavilasom Palace  located in the prime area of the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram on  Enchakkal road, is a  150 year old  heritage site,   Built in native and European style of architecture, it  is close to the famous  Sree Padmanabha Swamy  temple -  just 1.7 km.  The palace with s single upper  floor has royal suites, common furnished hall and well- suited bedrooms and a fine corridor.  Now it is  star hotel  for the upper income people. 

Since the beginning of  last decade the state government has given facelift to many mansions and palaces close to the main temple here. This palace has a fine regal entrance with high compound walls all around it.  Privately owned   by  a  family having connection with  Vadasseri Ammaveedu family,  it is a Naalukattu palace with four independent quarters. The surrounding big trees in the garden throw shadow on the building and  keep it cool even during mid day.  It happened to be the former royal abode  of the Travancore family members  and the fine  architecture  highlights the regal elegance of the past era.  

The impressive features of this building are  tall ceiling, white walls, shining wooden flooring, cool lighting and  impressive   chandeliers, A large number of  rich brown old-style doors and windows, antique furniture and curios  not only highlight the Kerala tradition, but also   enhance the majesty of this old palace.   In the absence of AC, cross ventilation and fine quality wooden roofs  the veranda  plus  greenery around it keep  the interiors cool. Kitchen near the Naalukattu is ideally located. 

The owners made a realistic approach to renovate and decorate the palace   with a view to  bringing  back the  regal ambience  to showcase how the palace and its interiors looked like during  the heyday of Travancore rulers. Mere decoration or  beautification of interiors  does not give the right result.   You have recreate an atmosphere matching the regal look of the bygone era. ''We have tried to break away from the claustrophobic atmosphere of a traditional diner with air-conditioning and closed doors and windows,” says Deepu  director and Archana, a relative of the owner. Except two royal suites, there is no central air-conditioning in this palace.

When it comes to renovation and repairs, the refurbishment  of this old building is kept to the  minimum to retain the heritage look and  to keep the old charm  without disturbing the  original look of a royal household.  As it was necessary  portions  of  certain walls were recast with limestone and given a fresh   coat  of white paint.  The building has large wood work and the wooden carvings  are restored to their  original grandeur.  


bed room.Padmavilasom PalaceThiruvananthapuram.thehindu.com

lounge. Padmavilasom PalaceThiruvananthapuram.thehindu.com

In the last decade or so, some heritage buildings and graceful mansions in the capital have been given a facelift and turned into restaurants for fine dining and homestays. The latest is Archana’s Padmavilasom Palace at Enchakkal road is a nice place to relax.

Padmavilasom palace. hikersbay.com/asia

Padmavilasom palace. manoramaonline.com

According to Sharat Sundar Rajeev, conservation architect and history enthusiast,  ''the Ammaveedu marks a slight departure from other similar buildings of the era''.  Padmavilasom Palace stands independently away from the entrance unlike other structures that are close to the  entrance gate or compound. The spacious balcony on the first floor offers a clear view of the front part and the street. 


Cheena Kottaram palace, Kollam built by Maharajah Rama Verma as a ''Rest House'' - deserves a heritage accreditation

Cheena Kottaram palace, Kollam keralaspotshere.blogspot.com

Cheena Kottaram palace, Kollam keralaspotshere.blogspot.com

Cheena Kottaram palace, Kollammathrubhumi.com

Cheena Kottaram (China palace), a  Rest House  adjacent to  Kollam railway station  built by Maharajah of Travancore   Mulam Thirunal Rama  Varma  (1885-1924) is  an  example of a  mixed architecture -  blend of Indo-Saracenic style  with elements of Moorish  design. Why is it called Cheena Kottaram? The  red-brick miniature  rail palace  palace  looks very much similar to  traditional Chinese buildings. Kollam  had  a flourishing seaport  and was a commercial hub next to Kochi. The city has many palaces built by the royal families and aristocratic people. 

Location map Kollam, Kerala.  indiamap.com

A single story structure with no first floor,  it has 7 rooms with a veranda on the front and back, the varanda facing the Kollam traffic bridge is closed.  On the north side there is a single exit and entry point close to the railway platform. The  Maharajah accompanied by his attendants used to board his custom-made saloon  car  parked on the side  track and it  would  be attached to the Madras bound train. Many maharajahs   had this kind of facility and a separate custom  made saloon  car (bogie) with amenities for their  attendants  for their train travel.  Some rulers like Maharajah of Baroda had a  permanent covered shed  at the end of the station   close to the platform.

.Maharajah Mulum Thirunal Rama Verma, Kerala wikidata.org

Maharajah   Mulam Thirunal Rama Varma   used to come here to board the train for Madras, then the capital of Madras Presidency.  The meter gauge  train track  came up between  Kollam/Punalur to Senkottah  in 1904  connecting   Madras city.  Later railroad extending up to Thiruvananthapuram  was laid. The Palace was more or less  completed  coinciding with the commissioning of  Kollam -Shenkottah branch line. 

At Kollam station Maharajah had the rest house on purpose built close to the railway platform  for rest and  to access the train easily.  In the rest house he had facilities  for servants, personal assistants,  and others   who would  travel with him. They would prepare food, make bed, etc., for the royal members.

From a distance the Rest House  looks like a two-story building, but it has just only one floor. It  had flooring laid with venetian tiles, fine gothic arches in the central hall and stained glass windows.  The gently slanting tiled roof is supported by fine wooden frame with carvings.  Also included is  the emblem of Travancore  Princely state - granite conch on the walls. 

With the   ruler stopped visiting this place  for rest and to board the train,  Cheena Kottaram  fell into disuse. In the later years after independence , it  served as the office of Madurai Division of Southern  Railway. On account of habitual official  apathy, total negligence and lack of periodic repair,  this historic building had begun to disintegrate  and  lose its  value and glory. It became a sort of neglected site. and remained uncared for.   Subsequently some repairs and alterations were made by the railway, but they were not in sync with   the original  architecture of past era.  The original design was devoid of  wooden  false ceiling in the central hall. In the olden days, it is mentioned that one could  see  the top roof and sun light filtering  through the stained and translucent  glasses  above the the gothic arches   creating colorful gentle illumination which was impressive to look at. The original tiles  on the roof were replaced with ordinary tiles., a gross architectural  blunder. 

Quite deplorable is the loss of some heritage value of this structure on account of haphazard  repair work  done by  the railway contractors.  The building's verandas  with  with lattice windows and fine wood work were used as store rooms.  There is an urgent need to declare this place as a   protected National Heritage Monument. This accreditation will help the city a lot and also will bring in lots of travelers.   It is mentioned that  Indian railways has included  the  Cheena Kottaram  in its list of heritage structures to be conserved for posterity.  The Kollam city Corporation had a proposal to renovate the building and landscape the surrounding areas  and  it allotted  Rs. 40 lakhs  for renovation and conservation.  

The 100 plus year old   resting place of the erstwhile Travancore  royal family, Cheena  kottaram,  is often called ‘Rail Palace’. It is at the  ,Cheenakada end of Kollam Railway Station,  Considering its proximity  often it was mistaken for a warehouse by the  travelers.  





Monday, 29 November 2021

Saraswathi Vilasam Palace, Thiruvananthapuram built by Kerala Verma is a fine heritage place!

 Very close to the richest temple in the world Sree Padmanaba Sway temple (the lord is the tutelary deity of the ruling Travancore royal family), there are many wonderful palaces and mansions  in the fort area of Thiruvnanthapuram. The state government  with a view to showcasing cultural richness and   native architectural grandeur of  the erstwhile Travancore kingdom  during their heyday is seriously developing the fort area as a memorable tourist destination. By embarking on a prestigious  and useful  tourism promotion program called  Travancore Heritage Tourism Project (THTP), the Kerala  government has set an example  to other Indian  states where lots of monuments remain uncared for.   The purpose of this project is to   revitalize and rejuvenate palaces, mansions and temples in the fort area  and at the same time to preserve them for posterity.. A sum of Rs 100 crore is allotted  for  conservation of old structures that will bring back the old glory and new charm to this cultural city. Besides covering as many as 19 building complexes, the project also includes old forts, etc.  Krishnavilasam Palace, built in 1885,  Sree Padam Kottaram (1880) situated toward the north of the temple,  Sundaravilasam palace,  Saraswathi vilasam Palace (19th century),  Thevarathu Koikkal and Valiya Koikkal palaces (17th century) are  some of  the palaces worthy of mention. Though simplicity personified, their regal splendor and majesty will daze the visitors and take them back on  a nostalgic trip to past era of power and  and cultural ethos.  

Saraswathy vilasam palace, Fort, TV Puram, Kerala. imalayalee.org

Saraswathy (also spelled Saraswati)  Vilasam  palace built  in the 19th century in the Fort area  was once the residence of  Kerala Kalidasan, Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran (1845-1914).  This amazing  palace is designed in colonial architectural style  with intricately carved gable in the front,  arched gate, cylindrical pillars, long verandah  and high ceiling  to cut down  radiation from outside and to keep interiors cool,

Saraswathy Vilsam palace, Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. thehindu.com

Historians are of the view that the  design of  Saraswathy Vilasam is more toward  European style than  native architecture that is commonly in tune with the terrain of Kerala's  ghat area.  It shows builders taste in  European style of living. This two-story mansion has  large  stained  glass windows of various hues and large doors. This kind of design actually accentuates the living space as a spacious one  and  imparts a positive  mood of the residents. The provision of louvered doors for the windows and doors is yet another novel  way to get the air circulation going in the interior part, as this  place is a tropical one with high humidity.  With shutters on the doors, one can control the sun light falling on the windows.  

oval library room Saraswahy Vilasam palace,TV.puram.thehindu.com

Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran haripadin.

Above image: Valiya Koil Thampuran (19 February  1845 – 22 September 1914)  fondly known as  Kerala Varma  or Kalidasa of Kerala was a Malayalam – language poet   and translator in English and Sanskrit. Hailing from the  royal family of erstwhile Parappanad,   Malabar,  he was born in Changanacherry   at the Laxmipuram Palace.   His mother was   Pooram Nal Devi Amba Thampuratti while his father was Cheriyoor Mullapally Narayanan Namboothiri of  Perinchelloor Gramam (Taliparamba) in Kannur District.  When Tipu Sultan of Mysore invaded Kerala  toward the end of the 18th century  his  family had fled Malabar and sought refuge in Travancore to avoid death or persecution.  His literary works  Mayoorasandesham on the line of Kalidasa’s MeghaDooth and  Visakhavijaya was written after his release by Visakham Thiruna are quite popular. In 1914, as ill-luck would have it he died in a freak car accident.....................

Kerala  Verma whose wife is  Bharani Tirunal Lakshmi Bayi, the Rani of Travancore (wedding taken place in 1859) was a man of erudition  and  being inquisitive  his pursuit of knowledge was overwhelming. For some  political reasons  and  inevitable palace intrigues the then ruler  Ayilyam Tirunal never maintained a cordial relationship  with Kerala Verma and in 1875 , the ruler armed with regal power, confined him in the palaces in Alappuzha palace and then at Ananthapuram palace  at Harippad.  Only in 1880 Kerala Verma came back to Thiruvanthapauram  after  Visakam Tirunal Rama Varma  reign  (1880-1885) had  become the Maharajah.  So the exact date of construction of this mansion is a subject of debate among researchers. The palace has a separate space for library  and study  called Moon Beam’ , an octagonal room in the back of the palace,  once used by Kerala Varma. It has  a pillared walk way to access it.   With fine stained glass windows, ornate cornice and pediments and oval opening the spacious room provided an ideal ambiance for the scholarly person to work and study. 

This historical palace was sold to 
Hindi Prachar Sabha  in 1989. Later the Anti-corruption Court functioned for 10 years - 1989-99.  Being a heritage site, it  is under the control of  the State Archaeology Department.


Fascinating ''Anantha Vilasam Palace'' of Thiruvananthapuram - a heritage structure

Anntha vilasam palace, Kerala archaeology.kerala.gov.in

Anntha vilasam palace, Kerala archaeology.kerala.gov.in

In the SW  Indian state of Kerala  one city that has lots of palaces of beauty and simplicity  is the capital city of   Thiruvananthapuram.   There are many in the  Valiya Kottaram complex in the fort area, each vying with the other in their architectural design and splendor.

Location map. Thiruvanandapuram city .mapsofindia.com

Among them,  Anantha Vilasam Palace  constructed around 1882 stands apart with its blend of Indo European architectural style.  Maharajah Vishakam Thirunal Rama Varma  (reign 1880 to 1885) who resided here was a well-read man with good knowledge of administration that a ruler needed to run the kingdom. An avid lover of nature he developed passion for botany.  The young price  was also fond of travelling and covered many parts of Kerala, etc.

Maharajah  Vishakam Thirunal Rama Varma rct.uk

Anantha Vilasam Palace TV Puram, Keralathehindu.com

Adjacent to the Southern gateway of  Sree  Padmanabha Swamy and  next to Bhajanappura palace, once occupied by his predecessor Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma,   Vishakam Thirunal chose a site in  the  Valia Kottaram  complex to build  Anantha Vilasam with dominance of  western architectural styles and in this regard he sought the guidance of his aunt Gowri Lakshmi Bayi. The palace was very much similar to the Sreepadam Malika  (built in 1818) with loft Corinthian  fluted columns, detailed capitals and floral motifs at  the base of  columns  highlighting  ruler's interest in botany.

The striking features of this palace  are impressive  stairways  with decorative grill railing leading to the gently oval  balcony and huge hall on the first floor  flanking either side of the entrance lobby and  wide  cornice with ornamental   floral motifs. The outer veranda on the ground floor  has ornamental parapet with stone balusters

Out  house. Anntha vilasam palace, Kerala archaeology.kerala.gov.in

The roof of the palace is built with native traditional technique with large ornate gables. Yet another distinctive  feature of this big palace is its indigenous design of large wooden  doors and windows.  They are  provided with louvered doors which facilitate air circulation.  The high ceiling and the louvered   doors will keep the interior portion  cool  regardless of outside temperature and at the same time will  promotes air circulation within the residence. The glass doors are also provided for better  natural lighting    

The new palace  was formally occupied in 1882, but after the death of   ruler  Vishakam Thirunal in 1885, this  palace  had  remained unoccupied and unused for unknown reasons.  In the later years  the palace  was converted into a Guest Hose for the visiting dignitaries. Presently  owned by Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust,  Thiruvananthapuram  the State Bank of Travancore is functioning there. A proposal was on the anvil by the state tourism department to repair and renovate  heritage  many palaces close to the temple. 



Ottappalam (Palakkad) British Era Civil Court Complex has to be saved at any cost

It is quite irritating and disappointing that  when  a government  department  like Judiciary Court, District Collector's office   are housed in an old  building more than 100 plus years and if  shortage of space for officials and records  becomes a menacing problem, the officials arbitrarily take a decision to pull down the old building to be replaced  with the modern one in the same place. While in occupation the authorities don't care to do periodic repairs and let the structures rot.  The disparaging thing is they never give any consideration  to the heritage and aesthetics aspect of such old colonial structures. 

When  historical  structures are razed to  the ground for good along with them goes down their past history   and its connectivity with the present time. In the past more than a decade several such historic colonial structures, buildings, clock towers, bridges, bungalows have disappeared  across India  for reasons of  carelessness, lethargic attitude and scant respect for old monuments. In the western countries, when the govt is taking a specific decision on pulling down pretty old structures, etc., they never fail to  follow referendum. They take the opinion of the local people and respect their aspirations.   That the  Indian  officials who are tools in the hands of politicians take  decision on public issues without any consultation with the local community is a sad story and it does not augur well in a democratic  society. There is no room for biased opinion.

British-era court, Ottappalam, Palakkad, Kerala.thehindu.com

Caught in the  web of controversy is the 160 year old Ottappalam Judiciary Court  complex of   Palakkad, Kerala.  The state government already made a decision to raze the court building and in its place  would come up  a big and spacious modern court complex. The construction cost R. 23.35  crore  was already allocated for the new project.   People from different walks of life  are against the arbitrary proposal of a new building in the old court campus by the ruling government. 

Ottapplam Court complex, Kerala. timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Palghat History Club (PHC) chipped in and  was against the demolition of the old court building. PHC  demanded that the historic civil court complex at Ottappalam  had to  be maintained as a monument so that the posterity could get some benefits out of it because the British era structure  is the legacy of early British rule in this part whose reign had begun  after the 1792 Srirangapatna  peace treaty  with Tipu sultan.   With the exception of  Wayanad, the entire Malabar province spread over present day Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram annd Palakkad became part of the English company and annexed with the Madras Presidency.    Demolishing this building means we are losing the archaeological, historical and political  importance. Further,  Ottappalam became an important part of this place upon the introduction of the railroad by the English company  and  construction of a court complex. The court complex in Cherpulassery was shifted to Ottappalam in 1904.

Ottappalam, Palkkad  Kerala, weather-forecast.com

Judiciary court, Ottappalam, Palakkad, Kerala .onmanorama.com

PHC general secretary Lijo Panangadan and president Boban Mattumantha are toiling to save the Court complex with support from the former director of Archaeology, historians and college principal. 

In the 1900s  freedom struggle  gained momentum across India against the Raj under the direct British Administration, London. Exploitation of Indian lands, racial discrimination and  repressive rule with a strong military and police force  continued unabated. The Jallianwala  Bagh massacre in Amritsar, Punjab  on13 April  1919  adduced a new dimension to freedom struggle.  Malayalees  did not lag behind in freedom struggle  and Kerala Pradesh Congress Party was in the forefront of freedom movement in Kerala, taking advice from National leaders.   Several freedom fighters courted arrest and were brought before the present court complex at Ottappalam. 

The popular judges like  Madhan Nair and Oyyarath Chandu Menon  presided over many cases and gave judgements on merit. This historic court  handles cases from as many as 66 villages registered at 11 police stations. In the colonial period it functioned as ‘Valluvanad district Munsiff court’.

The government  conserved   the Ram Mohan Palace near the High Court and the Manmohan Bungalow in Thiruvananthapuram and protected  the buildings of Kochi and Thalassery  that were built in  1930. So, considering the heritage and historical aspects of this British era court complex, the government must add the heritage tag to it and conserve it pretty soon. 

Recently a British era District Court building complex  with a fine turret clock tower in the heart of Tiruchirappalli (Thiruchi) city built in 1919  was scheduled for demolition and finally it was saved. Lawyers  of Thiruchi  wanted the Tamil Nadu govt. to declare it as a monument  under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.

The PHC  pointed out the new court complex could be built near the heritage building on the campus or  elsewhere.




Sunday, 28 November 2021

Historic Tiruchi District Court centenary building should be given a heritage tag!

Many of us in  Tamil Nadu, particularly in the districts close to Tiruchirappalli  may not be aware that the District Court building in an important locality of the city next to  the Uyyakondan channel is one of the  oldest  colonial  landmarks in this place.  In  August 2019 this building turned 100 years. It is built in Indo- European architecture.

Tiruchi  District Court building  thehindu.com

Tiruchi  District Court building thehindu.com

Above image:  Tiruchi District Court building (1919): A landmark building in this  city it was modelled after  the London District and Sessions Court. it is close to Tiruchi Main Bus stand..................

Tiruchi  District Court building thehindu.com

It was on  April 28, 1917, the foundation for the  Court building was laid  by the then District and Sessions Judge J.G. Burn and  he himself  declared open the  court  for  legal deliberations on August 16, 1919. Mr. Burn was the first judge of this  District Court.  The iconic old court building saw its centenary - 100 years in August 2019, an important milestone in the legal history of  Tamil  Nadu courts south of Chennai.  The distinctive aspect of this court building is it  was constructed using  the London District and Sessions Court as a model.   Pieces of wooden furniture in the court were  made from imported wood   shipped from  London.  The wooden stairways are quite impressive and still intact. Visitors can not escape from the fact that the court building  is  well  built  with meticulous care. The masonry walls are thick and  the building appears to be in good  condition  because the builders used quality wood and construction  materials. The total area of the court complex is 13,51,600 square feet,

The centenary event was an occasion to rejoice for the legal fraternity of Tiruchirappalli district. During the early colonial period under the East India Company  in 1804  Tiruchi had   Judicial Magistrate Courts that  were functioning in the  place where the Bishop Heber college is functioning  now.

ornate newel on the square stairway,.Tiruchi court. thehindu.com

The most impressive part of this pinkish red colored   two story colonial building is the small clock tower  with a clock. The turret clock  was made by William Potts  & Sons of Leeds in the UK.  The top of the tower is  sort of globose, normally an European design element.  The clock has three  big dials  with visible numbers that cn be seen from a distance. The first floor veranda in the façade has huge rounded columns while the first floor above it has big and wide arched window.  The entrance in the front with a pair of  rounded pillars on either side  highlights European design  - close to Victorian style. So is the gentle slanting roof on the front part of the first floor.  The well-planned building was constructed by a local contractor one A Thatha Pillai  who did a wonderful job guided  by an  English judge H O D Harding.  According to  Sri M S Vinodh, an advocate who knows the history of this court building. tragically on 15 February 1916  Judge  Harding  was stabbed to death in the portico below.  Reason: The culprit was convicted by the judge,  so he became a vigilante. There is a stone plaque here in memory of the slain judge. Yet another historical fact is the place where the old court  stands was once the residence of Bishop Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta   who was on a visit to Tiruchi and died in a freak  drowning  accident in 1826.   yet another interesting information we gather is in the colonial period the justices of this court used to come to the court riding a bike and got back to their residence in the evening with their  days;' judgement well safely secured on the carrier. They lived near by on the  present-day campus of the Campion Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School in the Cantonment area. 

Tiruch  District Court building /timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Tiruchi Bar Association with  principal judge and judicial officials organized a function  to mark the completion of 100  years of this  court building.  The advocates, using the occasion diligently, put forth a demand to the state government to declare this building as a heritage monument  that needs to be protected   for the posterity.   It is mentioned that  political leaders like  former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi  and former CM  sri  Karunanidhi visited  the District Court building to attend the meeting.  According to the President of the Tiruchi   Bar Association  the size of court hall of PDJ in Trichy  was on a par with the court of chief justice of Madras High Court, Chennai.  

A few years ago new buildings came on the court campus and the centenary building is presently being used to house  court records and  some offices.  The government officials should  give priority to heritage  aspect  and aesthetics of this old court building and should not leave it uncared for.. Under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958, this structure can be protected..

Tiruchi District court centenary building clock. /twitter.com


Clock on the court building, Tiruchi.

01. The quarter-chiming Tiruchi clock on the court building was completed in 1921, and supplied with three solid cast iron dials of 5 ft diameter, painted black and gilded.  It had special parts to maintain accuracy of time. It was made by the English clock makers  William Potts and Sons.  The Tiruchi turret clock stopped working for a long time. 

02.  the unique specialty about this chiming clock on the court's tower  is  the bell would ring every 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes and every one hour. So the precision  parts in the clock had to be maintained periodically to get the clock going.  

03. Acceding to request by Dist Magistrate (of Tiruchi), 10 staff from Golden Rock workshop deployed to reclaim century-old giant Clock atop Trichy Court Bldg.  lying defunct for 10years. Using lockdown clock was restored by GOC team. .Incidentally,  GOC workshop  also has a clock tower atop the Armoury Gate. 

4. The historic clock chimes now and the dedicated and hardworking team from the GOC took 40 long days in 2020 to repair it;  work started in February and the delay was  due to lock down. The GOC had to make some part to make the  turret clock functional. The clock works on gravity escape mechanism.  ..............................






Stone House - very first one in Ooty hill station built by John Sullivan is to be renovated

Stone House built by John Sullivan thehindu.com

Ooty location map, TN. ooty.xyz

The Stone House, first ever colonial  residence  built in  1822-23 in Ooty, Nigiris hills  is a historical and heritage site which  was built by the indigenous  tribes - Thodas (who lived in upper Nilgiris)  for John Sullivan, the then District Collector of Coimbatore  representing the Madras  Presidency under the East India Company rule. When the construction work of his residence was on, Sullivan took keen interest in it because he liked the lush green land and the serene ambiance around it.  Further, the native tribes were of great help to him.  He was  the first English man to have  ascended an unknown rugged mountain -  Nilgris  hill and discovered a lovely  hill station for the European settlers   who were very much troubled by the tropical  weather  on the plains, particularly,  during the hot summer season.  The Oak  Tree  close to the stone house is as old as the house itself.  

Sullivan memorial sangeethatrails.blogspot.com/

Above image: This 2 story small building was built by Sullivan  at Kannerimukku village near Kotagiri ( elevation: 5,883 ft).   This red bungalow,  goes by the name of  the Pethakal Bungalow named after a sacred stone that existed there.. It houses  a memorial and a small museum but is 2 km away from Kottagiri village. which is not on the popular route. ........  

When Sullivan went uphill for the first time  he was accompanied by a band of  soldiers, hunters,  elephants and ponies (who were disbanded halfway), trail-blazing through   dense shola-filled forests and steep cliffs.   On his second trip to  Dimbatty (which means soft, pillow like) in 1819 he lost his heart and decided to have a house built there. In the 5 acre spread  bought from the tribes, he experimented potatoes and English vegetables. Today, the area is called Kannerimukku where stands the two-story structure  that houses the memorial and Museum.  It was almost in ruins, slowly crumbling and today the building stands with majesty. Thanks to funds from the state government and donation from the public. Not many visitors  come here because of its isolation off Kotagiri village. Wooded mountain terrain  On Nilgiris mountain opened  up  a  new  vista of unexplored areas for him and fellow British explorers.  Decades later tea and coffee plantations came up there as the weather on the hill was quite suitable to their growth.

Stone House Ooty, TN sterlingholidays.com

Stone House built by John Sullivan facebook.com

With sloping roof,  and thick stone walls and a fire place in the large living room the ''Stone House''  was almost like a British cottage in a an English village designed in a simple way. The fire  place in the living room  would keep the inmates cozy and  comfortable  during  harsh winter  on the hill.   After retirement  Sullivan  had settled down and  spent much of his time with his family  in the house  called Sullivan's Oak.  To day it is being used as the office of   the Principal of Government Arts College. In June 2020 the Government  college observed 232nd birth anniversary of John Sullivan  in a special ceremony on the college promises.

Every year John Sullivan's birth anniversary  is  celebrated  as an official  ceremony  by the district collector office. It is quite disappointing that a permanent  memorial for Sullivan  is nor yet built in Ooty by the state government. In June 2019 on the occasion of paying homage to Sullivan the local people and  the Nilgiris Documentation Centre (NDC)  appealed for Tamil Nadu Governor’s intervention to set up an official memorial for Sullivan at Ooty,  the head quarters of Nilgiris. Their desire is to have   a permanent memorial and a museum  in honor of Sullivan.  If Ooty is what is today it is because of John Sullivan who had also built the  famous Ooty lake where boating is a common feature..  

Stone House, Ooty..makemytrip.com

Stone House, Ooty. ootytourism.co.in

Responding positively  to the request made by the Govt. college officials to renovate the  Stone House,  in June 2020 the government took a decision to renovate the  oldest  colonial  building  in Ooty (Udhagamandalam or Udagai)  built by John Sullivan, who was supposedly the founder of the British settlement in the Nilgiris  and first ever hill station in the British empire. The government had a plan to spend Rs.8.2 crore to renovate the 200 plus year old  structure. 

The Stone House has to be renovated soon because of time factor and   slow deterioration in some places of the building  primarily due to climatic changes.  The restoration work will be entrusted to experienced conservationists as the heritage value and  aesthetics of the building should not get affected on account of  conservation. The  experts will try to choose the construction materials matching those that were used 200 years ago  to retain the old charm and heritage look.

Despite the time factor and acts of vagaries of weather, the building stands with majesty as a symbol of British legacy in this part of Ooty.