Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to books

With many of the arts and science colleges under the University of Madras re-opening last week after their summer vacations, it is time to look at where it all started - the first building of the University, situated on the Marina Beach.

The University of Madras is one of the oldest in the country, having been set up in 1857 by the then Governer of the Madras Presidency, Rt Hon. Lord John Elphinstone. The first permanent building of the University was its Senate House, the designs for which were chosen through an open competition. The winner was Robert Fellowes Chisholm (who seems to have built half the buildings in Madras of that period), who designed it as a blend of Byzantine and Indo-Saracenic styles and then went ahead in sourcing the finest materials for its construction. Anything less may not have withstood the neglect heaped upon this heritage building through the 1970-2000 period.

But what we see today is a picture of what can be accomplished by committed authorities and benevolent alumni, working together with conservation and heritage experts. The Senate House was renovated - extensively and lovingly - in time for the 150th anniversary of the University. It is a wonderful sight today as it welcomes another batch of 'freshers' across the city!


magiceye said...

impressive domes capping the university!

Stevenson Q said...

Oh my! That's one beautiful University! Haviong that shot, I must admit, It is much beautilful than our University! Especially the domes, fantastic!

Thanks for dropping by my Skywatch Friday Post and Leaving a comment! Hope to see you soon! God Bless and Have a great week starting tomorrow! and Happy Friendship Day!


Hilda said...

That's a gorgeous building!

My alma mater (where I work now) is turning 150 next year too, and my stomach churns whenever I think about all the things we have to do for the celebration!

Shantaram said...

>> Magiceye>> Yes, they really look great!

>> Steven>> No, it is not... but let me not argue with you - thanks!

>> Hilda>> Oh, yes - 150 years to be re-enacted in a couple of hours - and everybody wants to say something!