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Vol. XXXI No. 15, November 16-30, 2021

Heritage Watch

Preserving the past

William Satish sends us these pictures of an abandoned bungalow on Poonamallee High Road and wonders as to what the history behind it is. It is only a few months ago that in this column we had written about Kingston, a house on the same road and which was home to the Seetha Kingston School. Like that stately home, the featured bungalow, which went by the name of Lalitha Prasadam, stands on land belonging to the Kanchipuram Ekamranatha Swami Temple. The two properties had been taken on lease respectively by Calavala Cunnan Chetty and Soora Latchmiah Chetty.

Lalitha Prasadam was vacated by the descendants of Soora Latchmiah Chetty once the lease of 99 years ended and the inevitable litigation that followed did not go their way. During their tenure, the bungalow had also served as the Poonamallee High Road post office. The house, which has since remained abandoned, is now it is believed, slated for demolition. INTACH has put up an appeal against this and it is believed that the same has been received favourably. Sujatha Shankar, Convenor, INTACH Chennai Chapter confirms that Divay Gupta, Principal Director, Architectural and Heritage Division, INTACH, has written to the Tamil Nadu Government offering all assistance in the restoration of the bungalow.

It will be good if the Government can retain the bungalow even as it comes up with plans for the rest of the space. There is sufficient area on the premises for development to happen in parallel with conservation. It is very easy to do away with a structure of this kind but to preserve and adapt it for reuse would be better in the long run.

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