Chepauk Palace, Chennai, the first building in India to be built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, is one a few oldest buildings in India constructed in 1760s. Once the the official residence of the Nawob of Arcot from 1768 to 1855, this heritage building is slowly crumbling because, as usual, both the state and central governments show least interest in preserving this historical building for the younger generation. That the past historical events associated with great monuments or historical sites are relevant to the posterity who should not grope for the historical facts of immense value is the dictum of historians. A few years ago, the Khalsa Mahal, was gutted and a part of the ceiling in Humayun Mahal caved in, since then the building and the surrounding areas have been in a state of neglect. Part of the building is being used by the state government and it is unfortunate none of the employees vents his voice to restore the palace back to glory. This old palace in Chennai is a vestige of colonial grandeur and legacy.
On a visit to this place one will hardly realize that this was once a royal enclave. - residence of the royal family of Nawob of Arcot, who presumably in 1777 gave Arcot diamonds (a 38.6-carat oval-shaped highly valuable diamonds) as gift to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III (1760-1820) and Queen Consort of Britain as a token of his loyalty and allegiance. Now this palace is hidden behind government office buildings - PWD building and Ezhilagam. Until 1860s, it was a sea-front building, and one could see this building in full glory at a distance from the sea. This palace, on a site of roughly 117 acre, was built for the Nawob of Arcot Muhammad Ali Walajah, whose capital was Arcot. He wanted to reside closer to the East India company's settlement-Ft. St. George under their protection. After the Carnatic Wars, the kingdom of the Carnatic had virtually become a protectorate of the British East India Company. Like many rich rulers of India, the Nawob got himself caught in the trap devised by the British called ''subsidiary alliance'' initiated by none other than Lord Dalhousie. Now, the Nawob for security, relied entirely on the troops supplied by the British East India company. Paul Benfield (1742–1810), financier and trader who had close contact with the Nawob, was in charge of construction of the palace. He was the former engineer of East India company.
|a 38.6-carat oval-shaped stonefamousdiamonds.tripod.com|
|The Chepauk Palace .www.thehindu.com|
The MA Chidambaram Stadium (also known as Chepauk ground) itself was built on part of the palace grounds. An interesting fact is, it is believed, that Cricket has been played here since 1842, when the Madras Cricket Club was founded.
In he palace descendants of Nawab of Arcot are living here, including the present Prince of Arcot.
The Chepauk Palace .www.thehindu.com