On the occasion of the 57th NASA day, held on the 13th of September, a series of events were planned as a part of celebrations. The students came up with 5 tasks, among which was the ‘Architectural Walk’.
It was September 14th, a bright Sunday morning. We set out on our journey to explore the places of heritage importance in the capital of ‘The Nilgiris’.
We started off in the morning with our heart filled with excitement. As we reached Charring Cross, the heart of the town, the excitement was at its highest. The first thing that attracted our attention was the ‘Fountain of Adams’ known commonly as ‘Charring Cross fountain’, an important landmark. Built in 1896, the fountain was made as a memorial to the then governor of Ooty.
‘The Queen of Hills’ houses some of the elegant old buildings of gothic architecture and paved way to one of the oldest and finest public libraries in India, ‘The Nilgiri Library’. It stands as an ancient mark of Ooty showing reign of the colonial period. This quaint little haven in a crumbling 1867 building houses sixty thousand books, including rare titles inclusive of the Nilgiri Hills and the native tribes. The experience from the ambience of colonialism was overwhelming.
The ‘Nilgiri High court’ was our next destination. It was built during colonial period and stood iconic. The first thing that came to our mind was the clock tower recreating the colonial ambience even after years. The cloisters vaults, arched masonry seen above the rectangular doors and windows, everything played its role perfectly as in giving the high court the majestic colonial status. The experience was nostalgic.
Later we headed our way to ‘The Breeks Memorial’ School. The Anglo-Indian higher secondary school, was established in 1874. It was named after James Wilkinson Breeks, the then commissioner of Nilgiris. The heritage building is now a part of Nilgiris district court complex.
Next we strolled towards ‘The Collectorate’. The indo-arsenic architecture of red bricks, wooden panels can be seen in and out of the complex. Sketch were made of the exterior and the interior of the building.
We made our way next to one of the oldest Churches in The Nilgiris, ‘St. Stephen’s Church’. It dates back to the 19th century and is open to the public communion only on Sunday’s. The massive main beam and other parts of the interiors was made of timber, which were taken from Tippu Sultan’s palace on the island of Srirangapatna. The church also feature stained glass windows depicting scenes from ‘The Holy Bible’. The colonial masterpiece, Rose windows can be seen on the exterior facades. The bell in the tower with four stone hammers tied on inverted V-shaped wooden planks using wires, can be pulled from the floor. The church provides a peaceful ambience for the visitors.
After a long walk we reached ‘The stone house’, built by John Sullivan in 1822. Also known as ‘Kal bangala’ by the tribes, the house was among the first of its kind. En-route we also had the opportunity to check out the 100 year old ‘Higginbotham’.
NASA gave us great opportunity to visit many places in Ooty. The day blessed us with more knowledge and experience.