Residence of Prince of Arcot. In the late 1920s, Klien & Peyerl's picture (Courtesy: Vintage Vignettes) of Chepauk Palace in the first decade of the 20th Century. .......
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. The past historical events are relevant to the posterity. 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 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. Now this palace is hidden behind government office buildings - PWD building and Ezhilagam. Untill 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 Mohammed 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''. 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 building had two parts: Humayun Mahal, the ruler's quarter two- storey Durbar hall, the Diwan-e-Khas. The other being private quarters called Khalas Mahal. In order to maintain his royal status, the Nawob had spent more money on the place than he could afford and consequently his debt snowballed into about 10 million pounds, pretty huge amount in those days. The Arcot ruler's debts soared above the Himalayan height and were far beyond redemption. Soon after the death of Nawob, the onus of clearing the debt fell on Nawob's son Umdat-ul-Umrah. The clever company officials and the crown had been waiting for the first opportunity to gobble up the Arcot kingdom. Further, the company suspected that Umdat had contact with Tipu Sultan, the Company's arch enemy. Using default of loan as an excuse, East India company not only annexed the palace of once the rich Royal family but also ceremoniously evicted him and his family without compunction whatsoever for the Palace. The kingdom, having been taken over by the company in 1801, now the Nawob became a titular ruler, with a hereditary title 'Prince of Arcot' granted by Queen Victoria . The Nawob was granted a paltry sum as pension plus some protocol benefits so that his line of generation could carry on the royal family' s legacy. Amir Mahal with a plot of its 14-acre grounds, on the Pycrofts Road, Triplicane, has been the residence of ex -Arcot ruler's descendants since 1870. Soon after take over by the British company, the royal family moved into a new residence, Shadi Mahal, on Triplicane Road. About the vast plot and the Nawob's palace attached by the British, there was no taker when put up for
|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.
The Chepauk Palace .www.thehindu.com