Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grand old place

There is probably no photographic record or plans of 'Somerford', a garden house that stood at what is today Nos. 1 & 2, Greenways Road. Even without them, it is not difficult to imagine that 'Somerford' would have looked completely different from this building. Having bought that house sometime in the early 20th century, Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar commissioned an Italian architect to modify it; the resulting interpretation of a Baroque design stands to this day, imposing its majesty upon visitors, coming in to marvel at the Chettinad Palace.

Visitors are allowed; one can walk in and be shown around a portion of the ground floor that is open to public view, unless there is some special function or festivity on that day. And there is quite a bit to marvel at, from the intricately detailed wooden ceiling in the common reception area, to the photographs of celebrities, politicians and royalty who have visited this palace, to the 300+ trophies won by racehorses belonging to MAM Ramaswami, Annamalai Chettiar's grandson.

This photograph may not be very impressive; but think - this is only part of the palace, one that stands on 70 acres of land on the banks of the Adayar. From any part of the grounds, you would not be able to see this structure in its entireity; but a more panoramic photo can be seen here, thanks to PlaneMad!


Lowell said...

Amazing place. I looked at the panorama - impressive! I can imagine the interior is at least as impressive as the exterior!

Shantaram said...

@ Jacob: Oh, yes - you can take my word for that!