Valluvar Kottam: Those were the days when….

The area where the Valluvar Kottam now stands was actually an irrigation lake that was used to water the fertile fields beyond its ‘bund’ in what is now T Nagar. Now you know why the area behind it is still referred to as ‘lake area’! Kodambakkam High Road runs atop the Southern part of the bund, while what is now Valluvar Kottam High Road leading to Village Road runs atop the Eastern part of the bund. In fact Valluvar Kottam High Road used to be called ‘Lake Bund Road’ in those days.

I studied in the original Padma Seshadri school in the Lake Area in its earlier days (for all of one year!), when the lake still existed. The lake was, like many other lakes in Chennai (think Chepet lake) seasonal, filling up during the monsoon, then slowly drying up to leave a large, low open area during summer. So the lake bed became our playground in summer for all kinds of games; cricket, football, flying kites, kabbadi etc.

When the rains came down, and it started getting muddy, the game of choice became holly golly! Why? Because you had the added pleasure of not only hitting the other guy with the ball, but leaving a muddy, wet outline of the tennis ball on his clothes! Mind you, this was the pre Surf Excel era, so you can imagine what our mothers went through!

As the city grew, and the fringes of the lake (today’s lake area) began to be filled with homes, the deeper part of the lake bed was filled in by the government. When this large piece of land became available for development, the then state government (DMK), decided to build a monument in memory of the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar- and Valluvar Kottam created. Visitors to this vast monument would hardly imagine that it stands on what was originally a seasonal irrigation lake!

5 Comments so far

  1. Anand (unregistered) on July 21st, 2006 @ 12:30 am

    You from PSBB! <does secret hand shake>

  2. Kaysonline (unregistered) on July 21st, 2006 @ 4:24 am

    Chetpet lake makes me nostalgic!

  3. Ravi (unregistered) on July 21st, 2006 @ 11:29 am

    David, no wonder we face severe drought year after year when all water bodies are covered up or encroached upon. I have an old map of Chennai. That shows how big the lake was. Imagine if it had existed only and maintained – maybe Chennai would not face water crisis! David, maybe I can send the map to your id so that you can post it here!

  4. Ravages (unregistered) on July 21st, 2006 @ 11:40 am

    Anand, you fool. He is from the infidel PSBB. SO you use the second handshake. Not the one we use.

  5. WA (unregistered) on July 21st, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

    Same thoughts as Ravi stupid Town planning dept which autorises buildings over a lake area.

    PS: indha PSBB gumbal oda aatam thaanga mudile. Get rid of em all I say

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