21 July 2007


Last year we also experienced a period of 'wrecking' as bull-dozers and men razed to the ground all illegal encroachments from roads and pathways throughout the township. Now that Tiruvannamalai is undergoing extensive modernization one expects much of the same will be a recurring theme. This week the main Chengham Road was the current area to be overhauled. In the below photograph one of the very many bulldozers assigned to the task.

Below is a lovely local dog belonging to a sadhu who has his berth outside one of the walls of Ramana Ashram. The dog is very curious as to what all the activity and noise is about.

To the left is part of an ancient shrine and to the right recent stores (which have been emptied out by the owners) that are waiting to be demolished by a wrecking crew. The shrine stays and the shops go.

Its really not as bad as it seems as it is amazing how quickly the area recovers. The pink area at the front of this shrine used to be a small restaurant with a very nice bamboo roof protruding onto the sidepath with lots of tables and chairs for customers. I have no doubt that within a few weeks, when the coast is clear, things will be cleared up, the bamboo roof will be back up and the restaurant will be in busy again.

Sadly the trees won't recover as quickly. Supposedly for the reason of street widening lots of beautiful, old trees were either cut down completely or trimmed back. Well I suppose that's what urbanisation is all about!

The pink house below with the bamboo shell used to be home for a family of 4 (at the back) and their place of business i.e., a tea shop at the front. Sadly most of the house is regarded as an encroachment and is slated for demolition. This evening I was talking to a local resident about this and she is very concerned that people who had been living in homes for sometimes up to 30 years should all of a sudden be out on the street. Another way of looking at this could be that alot of folk had a free place to live for years, in which they didn't have to pay rent or rates.

The boys in the below photograph are probably on their way home from the nearby Arts College. They don't seem too concerned with the wreckage all around.

Below a photograph of more houses regarded as encroachments (illegally built on Government land) and slated for demolition. As I was passing by some men were bringing out statues from a house which used to be the home and workplace for a sculptor of religious icons. It was nice passing by, checking out what he was working on.

A farmer going past on his bicycle checking out some of the trees that have been felled.

A huge amount of rubble, bricks, plaster, and other bits and pieces are laying strewn around the sides of the road. Just hope its all over quickly and peacefully.

In the below photograph, right on the side of the road is one of the busiest and most popular Temples in the Ramana Nagar area i.e., the Kali Temple. From what I've heard the Temple has already started construction at a new site and will move shortly, thereupon the current Temple will be demolished in order for the highway to be widened.

I took these pictures a couple of days ago and from what I've heard the wreckage was even more dire today. Certainly not interested in going in town until the worst of it is over. On the bright side, this is India, home of the extended family, so most of the people affected by the demolitions will have lots of local relatives to turn too.

No comments: