Climb up Chennai’s Anna Nagar Tower, reopened after 12 years

A weekday morning at Dr Visvesvaraya Park (or the Anna Nagar Tower Park as locals lovingly name it) lends a soothing sight to this summer-weary author, as motivated joggers, school college students on a break, and households in want of a mid-week day trip, collect below canopies regardless of the odd time and hovering solar. They appear intrigued by the bizarre exercise across the ‘thermos flask’- formed construction that was as soon as an notorious Anna Nagar hang-out. As we speak, for good purpose, all eyes are on this 45-metre-tall watch tower which reopened to the general public on Monday after 12 years, with the promise of security and hygiene measures in place.

After its reopening, it didn’t take lengthy for this 1968-built Tower to change into a selfie level. A flurry of household photos, Reel movies and group selfies characterise the zenith. However the view is as glorious as ever: a carpet of inexperienced, aesthetically dotted by yellow copper pod flowers signalling the onset of summer season, dominate the view as burgeoning high-rise buildings stand tall, afar: a cross-section of an Anna Nagar on the cusp of change. And curiously, that is  maybe the one uncommon construction — watch tower at that — that really belongs to West Chennai.  

The constructing was designed by the celebrated architect Yahya Service provider and was meant to be a part of the Indian Worldwide Commerce and Industries Truthful of 1968, the primary of its type within the metropolis and even perhaps the nation. The preparations for this truthful started as early because the Nineteen Fifties. The watch tower was meant to offer a view of all of the completely different pavilions which had been a part of the truthful.

The watch level of the tower
| Picture Credit score:
Johan Sathyadas

Thirupurasundari Sevvel, Chennai-based researcher, who’s at the moment engaged on a venture on nostalgia and reminiscence on post-independence settlements, says, “It was not even constructed to be a everlasting construction. It was meant as a watch tower for this explicit exhibition. It is among the few issues remaining from the truthful, aside from two elephants on the entrance, and the Anna Nagar Tower Membership housed contained in the Kerala pavilion of the truthful.” The structure is paying homage to its place in an industrial website. This was additionally the time Madras was increasing, and the Western facet wanted infrastructure. And following Jawaharlal Nehru’s five-point coverage, the onus was on attracting overseas traders into the nation, says Thirupurasundari. The commerce truthful was designed for that. 

The significance of this construction rests on the truth that it was additionally a landmark that attracted folks to maneuver into Anna Nagar which was beforehand the suburban village Naduvakkarai, earlier than it was developed by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board within the ‘60s. 

A distant view of the tower
| Picture Credit score:
Johan Sathyadas

Lower to 2023, and a primary take a look at the tower trains mild on recent coats of paint: a pop of peach, alongside the spiral ascend. Balcony grilles (which was beforehand two ft excessive) that stretch all the best way as much as the highest in a curve, instated to stop accidents and suicides — reportedly the explanation why the tower was shut down within the first place — makes for a secure walkway, particularly for youngsters. Skid-free mats are additionally laid out on the ground. Fountains encompass the tower. “We’re additionally planning to let creepers develop on the tower grills, to present it some inexperienced cowl,” says P Murugesan, Zonal Officer – Anna Nagar, Better Chennai Company.

In its early days, the tower had an elevator for senior residents and the differently-abled to get to the watch level. Murugesan says that an elevator can be offered quickly sufficient and funds are awaited for a similar. “Till introduced in any other case, entry to the tower will stay free,” says Murugesan. He guarantees full-time safety and fixed vigil to maintain the area secure for guests.

“The tower carries a whole lot of visible and tactile reminiscence. Once we consider the architectural historical past of Madras, that is maybe the youngest: a post-Independence construction; one thing that we made for ourselves,” concludes Thirupurasundari.             

The view from Dr Visvesvaraya Tower
| Picture Credit score:
Johan Sathyadas

That is your final free article.

Supply hyperlink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *