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.


Old view of Chepauk Palace

The 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. The New shows a part of the Khalas Mahal which is being restored.


Humayun Mahal, Chepauk Palace

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. In case you want to know what Chepauk Palace was like before the great fire, please see this link

Chennai, A Biography by Sriram V

My book on Chennai, featured in image above can be ordered from here