Modern Architecture

Though Chennai is one of the top Metros of India and is clocking growth in business, infrastructure, and structures, one does not see many attractive architectures in the new buildings.

Occasionally, you come across some architectural features which catch your eye.

I shall attempt to document these, like the one from ELCOT- SEZ, Sholinganallur.




A stucco bas releif of Gajalakshmi on an old building in Mannady, Chennai. Wonder how long this old building can withstand the onslaught of development!

The two cherubs with wings (angles?) look rather unusual in an Indian design. Or do they?

The Oldest Bookstore


Higginbothams – one of the oldest bookstores in Asia. The iconic structure has been well maintained by the owners – The Amalgamations Group.

Shot during The Chennai Photowalk on 12th June 2022

Sony ILCE 6400, E 18-135mm F 3.5-5.6 OSS at 18 mm

f/6.3, S.S 1/125, ISO 320

Cropped to get rid of an ugly modern structure on the left.

Building Facade


An interesting façade of a building in Mylapore. I am sure it will be pulled down in a few years for ‘development’.

Jain Temple

Jain temple on Kutchery Road
Jain temple on Kutchery Road

As you would expect in a metro with a history, Chennai has people of all religious faiths. So, it is not surprising to see Jain temples in many of the sections of the city. The one on Kutchery Road Mylapore is quite prominent being located in a busy road very close to the Kapali temple.

Coat of Arms

Interesting architectural features
Interesting architectural features

Architectural features of a house on Arundel Street, Mylapore (opposite Rayar’s Mess). Does the badge represent any coat of arms or is it just a decoration? Any idea?

From the Chenna Photowalk #139 Streets of North Mylapore


Ceiling of University Senate House
The ceiling of University Senate House

The Madras University Senate House was built around 1875. This Indo -Saracenic structure was designed by Robert Chisholm.

The hall was closed to the public but was opened as a venue of Chennai Photo Biennale.

Magistrates’ Court

Magistrates Court Building First Line Beach
Magistrates Court Building First Line Beach

Though dwarfed by bigger buildings, The George Town Magistrates Court Building on First Line Bach (Rajaji Salai) is an interesting structure.

The ornamental inlaid tiles stand out. They are in fairly good condition making you wonder if they were redone recently.

As Rina Kamath writes in her book, “Chennai, Kanchipuram and Mamallapuram”, the building is ” a structure whose riotous ornamentation might startle those who expect sobriety in a seat of justice”.

Tiled    ornamental work
Tiled ornamental work

Magistrates Court Building First Line Beach
Magistrates Court Building First Line Beach

The House Where the Maestro Lived

Dwaram House on Bandala Venugopal Naidu st.
Dwaram House on Bandala Venugopal Naidu st.

During my younger days, the only Tamil magazine we used to subscribe regularly was ‘Vanoli’, the fortnightly (?) journal of All India Radio. My father referred to it as ‘The Indian Listener’.  It contained the program guide for the AIR stations in the South (there were only a few then), articles on music and musicians with pictures and lyrics and notations of a song that was being taught on AIR Trichy that fortnight. My mother also had a scrapbook of pictures of several singers from the earlier issues of Vanoli. One artiste I vividly remember was Dwaram Venkatasamy Naidu -the musician who overcame blindness and the related stigma to become a violin maestro. More on Dwaram. In those days of limited media, his inspiring story did not receive a fraction of the coverage it would have got today.

His daughter, Dwaram Magathayar who used to accompany her father continued his legacy and was an accomplished performer in her own right.

During 2005 while on a heritage walk in Triplicane with my son-in-law, I was pleasantly surprised to see the bungalow where Dwaram and his family lived.

It was early days of digital photography and I was carrying my Pentax Optio S, a 3 Megapixel palm-sized camera, a gift from my elder daughter. These pictures are taken with the Optio S. See DP Review of the camera.

I am not sure if the bungalow still stands or if it has been bulldozed by the development boom. I plan to find out this weekend.

By the way, does anyone have archives of ‘Vanoli’?

Dwaram House
Dwaram House



Windows to a vanishing heritage

Windows of the crumbling Bharat Insurance Building
Windows of the crumbling Bharat Insurance Building

Another view of the partially demolished Bharat Insurance Building. The High Court ordered a stay on demolition based on a  case was filed by INTACH.

The building has been in the half-demolished condition for the last 10 years or so.