Search This Blog

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Once a landmark - clock tower at Royapettah

When it was underway, their site claimed ‘chennai’s newest landmark !’ – can you guess what it was…. For long it provided great quality wind to the Chennai – the Express Estates which was virtual greenery with so many trees – it housed the office of Indian Express, Dinamani and group of publications…. In that place sprung a new mall ~ a destination for Chennai youth.. you can see people waiting outside, before the mall is even open. 

Modern day youngsters may not really understand many a things – one of that is the importance of watch ~ a wrist watch was a luxury till about 5 decades ago… only college goers were blessed with wrist watches ~ HMT ruled the roost… the most common Q that one to put to the other on the road was ‘may I know what the time is ?’ ~ now the Q is ‘where are you ?’ [everyone talking on mobile on street and perhaps mostly asking the other person as to where he / she is ?]

At a time when time was at a premium and not many possessed watches – there were those ubiquitous clock towers; yes clocktowers as landmarks – some of the famous clocks include the one at Central, at Presidency college, P. Orr & sons and many other bus stands……… Britishers built lot of things which were landmarks……….. there is yet another time-tested one connecting the oldest landmark with somewhat latest……… ‘the Royapettah Clock Tower and the Express Avenue Mall’.

Big Ben ~  is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.  The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London's most iconic landmarks. Technically, Big Ben is the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).  London is famous for its Big Ben; the clock's movement is famous for its reliability. The designers were the lawyer and amateur horologist Edmund Beckett Denison, and George Airy, the Astronomer Royal. Construction is reported to have started as early in 1853 but was  not complete until 1859.

The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.  Each dial is 7 metres in diameter; the minute hands are 4.2 metres long and weigh about 100kg (including counterweights);  the numbers are approximately 60cm long; there are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial.  The chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast by the BBC on 31 December 1923, a tradition that continues to this day.

Royapettah is a centrally located in the city of Chennai.  It has the famous Govt hospital.  As you travel straight in Bharathiyar Salai [once Pycrofts Road] from Beach in the Presidency College / Marina Cricket ground intersection – at Woods road intersection, you still see the Royapetah clock tower, from where the road branches off as Whites Road ~ and nearer stands the once Express Estates; now the EA mall. 

By some account, the ruler’s [Raya’s] district [pettah or pettai] became Royapettah – not very convincing though ! ~ closer is the place of Nawab of Arcot called Amir Mahal.  In the next intersection, you have the Royappetah Govt hospital.  Closer to the clock tower stands Wesley Church.  This clock tower here must be a century old at least. 

the photos above, before the EA mall came

On the Whites Road, you have Hobarts Girls High School and you have the Principal Offices of 2 Insurance Companies – Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co and on the other end near Mount Road, that of United India Insurance Co Ltd.

 at Central Railway station
 P. Orr & sons, Mount road

  the one at Presidency College, Kamarajar Salai
 at  University of Madras

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS : made quite some time back... lying in my drafts and seeing the light of the day now....


  1. மணி மணியாய் மணிக் கூண்டுகள்
    பணி மணி மட்டுமா, இல்லை - ஈண்டு
    இனி இனி கிட்டுமா? கிட்டும் யாண்டு
    சீனி இணைய இடுகளில்--பட்டுகோட்டை பலராமன்

  2. கரையினை உணர்த்தும் கலங்கரை விளக்கம்
    வரையென உயர்ந்தும் கலங்கரை விளக்கம்
    திரையைத் திறந்து மேலேற சுணக்கம் -இடு
    திரையில் தருவாரா சம்பத் - பட்டுக்கோட்டை பலராமன்

    (light house at marina thrown open to public --- mamallapuram light house is a monument -Light house a beacon of hope )