Jun 21, 2006

Swedish Mission Hospital Campus at Thirupattur...01

The Swedish Hospital at Thirupattur was started in 1909 by Dr.F.Kugelberg, a Swedish Eye Doctor . The land was gifted by the Raja of Sivagangai. It was patronized by Raja Sir Annamalai chettiar and also other wealthy families from the chettiar community. A host of Swedish doctors dedicated their service to the upliftment of this once backward area ..The campus was gradually handed over to the Tamil Evangelic Lutheran Church (TELC) and run by Indian doctors after Independence. The campus houses a nursing college and a blind school aswell. But due to mismanagement and internal politics of the Church in recent times, this once reputed institution has been closed down and has become a part of history.

The main entrance of the Swedish Hospital... a sad sight! 

the quite corridors that connect various wards & departments...now used only by cows, stray dogs and snakes

Stone laid in 1930 ..in appreciation of 25 years of Dr.Kugelbergs' service 

The Memorial built on the spot were the Marudhu Brothers were executed and burried by the British in 1801.

UPDATE : Good news! The Hospital is in the process of revival...Pls click "SMH" for more updates

Swedish Mission Hospital Campus ...02

The Chapel at the center of the hospital. 

Chettiar ward...gifted by Su.Mu.Su.Pla.Palaniappa chettiar of Konapet (1927) 

Ward E once used for Europeans , the royal family of Sivagangai and VIPs.....has almost collapsed and is beyond repair...

The once famous Nursing College...now closed forever... 

women's hostel...

Doctor's residence that has fallen sick... 

Staff residence ..a ghost house now 

another staff residence in almost collapsed state... 

Blind School...

Old Arogyanathar Church (1909)
(click to view larger picture)

Jun 20, 2006

Swedish Mission Hospital Campus...03

This is the youngest and the only surviving building in the campus. Built in the 1940s , the villa is a mixture of european style and Indian vernacular techniques. Huge double brick walls , Lime mortar, high ceilings and other simple techniques has kept the building cool for its Swedish inmates.

..the terrace sitout..
Miss.Birgitta shows around her house... She is the last surviving Swedish missionary who was born in (kodaikanal)India to a Swedish missionary couple serving in Asia. She is in the process of winding up and going back to Sweden after a lifetime of devoted service in India.
the simple foyer...
large shaded verandahs act as a buffer to keep away the summer heat...

The living and dinning areas..
.a treasury of antique furniture

her private room...

Gable End..well ventilated with huge windows
Miss Bahirathi -the legendary first Indian principal of the Nursing college  with Miss Birgitta.

My wife, who had fond childhood memories of the campus, enjoys the sunny balcony with Miss Birgitta.

Jun 18, 2006

Some thoughts...

1. I cant understand how Hemanada Bagavadhar (Balaiyah)
who sings “Oru naal poodhuma” as supremely as that is frightened and runs away hearing a wood cutter (Sivaji Ganesan) sing “paatum naanae”?
Would it have been more believable if TMS had sung "oru naal"and Balamurali Krishna had sung "paatum naanae" ?
2. Nagesh must be the greatest Indian actor of all times.

Thoughts that passed my mind as I saw “Thiruvilayadal” on TV today…

Kottaiyur Sivan Temple

Kottaiyur is about 8 kms from Karaikudi and is famous for this beautiful temple. Unfortunately I went there at late afternoon when it was closed ..so had to be satisfied with a few snaps from the exterior.

Jun 17, 2006

Chettinadu Palace

Atlast I managed to visit the famous Chettinad Mansion also known as the Raja's Palace at Kanadukathan. Here are some snapshots...

The Mansion was constructed by S.A.Rm.Ramaswamy Chettiar . The construction began in 1902 and it took ten years for completion. The mansion is huge, extending over 40,000 square feet and the rooms are embellished with the lavish use of Burmese Teak Wood, Italian Marble and English Steel.

It contains several Courts, Halls and Corridors with Carved pillars. As one enters the mansion one passes through the front yard comprising of the traditional Tulasi plant and a Portico.Beyond the Portico there is a beautiful veranda-crossing which leads to a Marble Hall. Flooring is made of white and black Italian marble and the Pillars are of Shining Black Marble. This is the Marriage Hall. After this hall comes the huge main courtyard which has two floors supported by Iron pillars. The second floor houses bedrooms with picturesque walls and attached bathrooms. Each bedroom has an entry into a common long balcony overlooking the street. It's from here that you get to watch day-to-day life bloom and the other roofs of the village that paint the clear blue sky. An open air shower has also been provided in the balcony.

After the main Court there is another hall, following which one enters into another courtyard called the Second courtyard. And right through the middle of this courtyard runs a pathway. On either side of the central courtyard there are two huge dining halls called the Bojana (Food) Hall. There is also a Third courtyard and a big back yard. The pillars in the various courts have been made of different materials. The pillars in the front Varandha are made of Lime Mortar and those in the marriage hall are of Black Marble. The pillars in the Pattalai before the central court are fortified with Porisu wood, which takes compressible load more than other woods. It also takes polish well. While the pillars in the second court are made of steel, the ones in the third are made of stone.

Similarly, the flooring too varies from court to court. The various kinds of flooring include Lime mortar, Marble, Athangudi tiles, Anai Adi Kallu, etc. Pressed metal plates have been fixed in many places as false lining for the top ceiling.

Details from Chettinadmansion.com

Jun 16, 2006

Kallal temple

temple skyline from across the temple tank...

the main vimana...

a cow enjoys the view...the old discarded temple in the far background...

the temple wall...with seated cows!

the traditional well by the temple...

The small temple town of Kallal...some 15 kms from karaikudi.
Somasundareshvarar & Sandara nayaki temples

Jun 14, 2006

Kattu bungalow?

When I drive from Karaikudi to Madurai, I mostly take the quieter road via Nachiarpuram to reach Tirupattur. This ruined house on the way always ignites my imagination. It seems to be built in the early part of 20th century and sits surprisingly alone in an area that’s a wilderness even today. When I pass it, my thoughts go back in time wondering who the hell built such a palatial house in such isolation.? Was there a thriving village around it once? Or was it a kattu (forest) bungalow? How would it have looked when it was new? Why was it deserted?
Hmm.. I may never get the answers…