Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXII No. 3, May 16-31, 2022

Heritage Watch: Restoration of Chepauk Palace

It is certainly easy to construct a building. It is easier still to neglect it for years and then watch it go up in flames within a few hours. Restoration, however, is a painstaking effort, lasting many years. At the Chepauk Palace, work is proceeding slowly but surely. Both the wings, the Khalas and Humayun Mahals are currently behind scaffolding and protective netting. What little can be seen displays commendable restoration. But it is a long way ahead before the place is thrown open once again. We need to be thankful however that the building has not gone the way of other fire-ravaged heritage structures of the city.

Our Old shows a view of the palace that we can never ever see again – construction, often mindless and invariably incongruous all around the palace has made sure that its front façade will always remain hidden, which is a pity. Our New shows a part of the Khalas Mahal which is being restored.

The State Government should learn from this experience that it is far better to maintain heritage structures than to neglect them. Reconstruction can never be as good as the original and is a very expensive process.

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