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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

the zero point (0 point) of Chennai (or rather NH 45)

Sure, you would have read about this, when reading about ‘water reaching the State’.  One news item read ~ the much-awaited Krishna water has entered the State after Andhra Pradesh released 1,000 cusecs of it into the Kandaleru-Poondi canal; Public works department (PWD) sources said the water reached the zero point (the inter-State border in Uthukottai) at 4 pm.

Wonder what that ‘zero point’ is all about ?  As you travel, sure you keep track of distances.  Maraimalai Nagar is 45 kms off Chennai; Vellore 128 km; Tindivanam 122; Cuddalore 159; Madurai 424 and more…..  When you travel towards Chennai on NH 45 ~ if you are at Acharapakkam near Madurantakam, you are 93 kilo meters away… stop – 93 km to which part of Chennai, which sprawls from Tambaram to say Ennore and beyond and naturally it cannot be 93 km to Tambaram as also to Ennore.. obvious there is some point in Chennai from which distance is calculated  ~ this is the ‘Zero point’.

Many of you would know this, this is posted for the other few, who still do not know.  In many  Kilometre Zero  ‘0 KM’ (or zero mile) is a particular location, often a prominent point,  from which distances are traditionally measured. They were markers where drivers could set their odometers to follow directions in early guide books.  The most famous such marker of which any part survives from ancient times is the Milliarium Aureum ("Golden Milestone") of the Roman Empire, believed to be the literal origin for the maxim that "all roads lead to Rome".

Sure, you observe the marking and the milestone that are prominently displayed on all important roads.  From a historic perspective, the zero point of Madras is stated to be within the walls of Fort St George; and conventionally measurement start from the gates of Fort, the all important place of Tamilnadu right from the days of British East India company to till date, where the TN Assembly and Secretariat functions.   

To the  Highways department,  “Every road has a zero point. It is just a technical point drawn up when a road is constructed. It is generally a convenient location where roads don’t overlap.  By many admission, the  technical zero point for the three main roads of Chennai is the milestone on the Muthuswamy bridge, Chennai-  NH 45 leading  to Tiruchi; NH 4 leading to Bangalore and NH 5 to Kolkata.

Muthuswamy bridge is the one overlooking Madras Medical college grounds abutting the railway track to Fort Railway Station.  One can reach by driving along Flagmast road from War memorial and crossing the intersection of Island Grounds or by driving through Munroe statue, crossing Island grounds and taking a left turn towards Fort Station / Madras Dental College / High Court of Madras.  Sir Thiruvarur Muthuswamy Iyer KCIE (1832 –  1895) was an Indian lawyer who, in 1877, became the first native Indian to be appointed as judge of the Madras High Court. He also acted as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in 1893.  A statue of Sri Muthuswamy is inside the High Court premises.

Contrary to general logic that ‘zero point’ generally starts from a significant milestone ~ this zero point has no monument around.  You could easily miss to notice this point ! ~ this point is considered the zero point for the three National Highways in Chennai; though only NH45 (to Trichi) is marked specifically over here.

Grand Southern Trunk Road or National Highway 45 is one of the busiest National Highways in Southern India with a total length of 472 km (293 mi).  It connects Chennai to its airport and the southern suburbs. The two important Cities connected by this highway are Chennai and Trichy and the two important towns connected by this highway are Dindiguland Theni in Tamil Nadu. The highway is now developed and has a 4 lane tolled road between Chennai and Trichy.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
10th Dec 2012.