I strongly believe in “You see what you want to see” and it is true. In a quest to explore places (more locally) and history associated with, I stumbled upon “ Madras inherited” who are a team of young people passionate about heritage , conducting workshops and heritage walks in the city, unveiling the Madras lesser know to outsiders like me . It was during one of the weekend heritage walks they organize I came to know about the newly established museum for the Tamil Nadu Police, whose vigilance is often compared to the Scotland Yard. So rather than scrolling through my mobile on a Sunday afternoon, I drove up to this police museum on the Pantheon Road .
At about a 100 meters from the Hotel Ashoka round-tana, there’s this renovated building with all its glamour, hidden and covered by giant trees and canons. This was the office of the Police Commissioner since 1856 up until 2014 when they decided to pull this down due to its weathering condition. But ideas for renovating this heritage building germinated in 2020 and the museum was established in October 2021 ,which is now open to public with a minimum fee.
Having owned by a Arunagiri Mudaliar, this building was purposed around the 1850s to be used as the office of the commissioner of the Madras Presidency. After housing several officers, this now majestically sings their glory and stories of valor to the current generation.
The structure is given a madder color painting (maybe to look like the rest of the heritage buildings in Chennai) . A sea foam green Plymouth royally stands in the foyer that was once used by the officers . Clear direction boards takes you through the artifacts that are housed in the one storied building . From cycles used in the world-war era to bullet proof cars used by the then Chief Minister Jayalalitha, this house is a treasure trove of all that screams the valor of the peacekeepers of the state.
The multitude of the artifacts collection is huge. From photocopiers ,shredders of the early British period, 9th, 10th century idols recovered by the Idol Wing, array of guns, swords, explosives, forensic kits, letters & post cards from the early 1900s , possessions seized from veerapan, the office room of the Police commissioner with beautiful pieces of a gramophone, type writers that were in use , this place is sure to unfold a lot of unsaid stories about these heroes. While the artifacts gave me moments of goosebumps, the building made my jaws drop. A typical 1800s architecture with high parapet walls, plastered pillars in white and wooden beam ceilings added oodles of character to this space. This indeed is a very appreciative step taken in order to conserve heritage.
After centuries, the building’s glory has been well restored with a touch of modernity and there can be no better way to commemorate the sacrifices made by the peacekeepers . Museums will never be dull and boring when visited with a heart and mind to see things that were once glorious .
Now if this post has convinced you enough and if you are to visit this museum, it is open all 7 days except national holidays ,between 10 AM to 7 PM . A fare of Rs 10 is charged for adults’ ,Rs 5 for children and feel free to ask guidance to the curators present there. They are very helpful and informative! With ample parking space for cars and 2 wheelers, a small cafeteria, this police museum personally to me , scores definitely more than a mall in the city and fares well as a place to spend a weekend evening.
Stay tuned tot his space for more such mini posts on things in and around Chennai.
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