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300-year-old Raja-Rani Mandapam Left Neglected

The 1996-2001 council of Ranipet Municipality sought ASI’s permission for renovation, but did not get a response; ASI officials claim the memorials are not under their purview

Published: 25th August 2015 06:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2015 06:21 AM   |  A+A-

Raja-Rani memorial

VELLORE: Ranipet derives its name from the wife of Desingu Raja of Gingee but the memorial constructed for her by the Nawabs in the 1770s and located on the Palar riverbed lies dilapidated in a state of utter neglect and not protected as an archaeological site.

Known to the locals as the Raja-Rani Mandapam, the memorial consists of two similar tomb-like structures, which according to historians, was built honouring Desingu Raja and his young Rajput queen. The twin structures are a reminder of the valour and sacrifice of the 22 year-old Rajput Desingu and his queen. Now they are overgrown with bushes with multiple cracks on the monument.

Desingu Raja had apparently refused to oblige the order to pay tax to the Mughal Emperor and chose to go to war. He fought bravely against Nawab Sadatullah Khan’s overwhelming force of 8,000 horsemen and 10,000 soldiers.

“Desingu’s forces with only 350 horsemen and 500 troops fought bravely. Though the Nawab ordered his soldiers not to kill Desingu and to capture him alive, his army found it difficult to do so. He was shot dead during the battle in 1714,”  said former Curator of Government Museum, M Gandhi, citing from the History of Gingee and its Rulers authored by Prof C S Srinivasachari of Annamalai University.

The town, Ranipet, was created in memory of Desingu’s queen in 1771 on the riverbank of  River Palar. It was named as Rani-pettai, in memory of the 18 year-old queen who committed Sati in accordance with the custom prevailing at the time, said Gandhi, who is also a historian.

“The tombs were built along the riverbed in memory of Desingu’s valour, his wife and Desingu’s childhood friend and brave leader Mohabat Khan, who was  also killed in the battle,”  he continued.

In fact, the 1996-2001 council of Ranipet Municipality passed a resolution to renovate the tombs and sent a letter to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), seeking its permission to renovate the historical structure.

“We did not receive any communication from the ASI and nullified any effort of the municipality to renovate the structure,” said Vice-Chairman of Ranipet Municipality  R Shabudin.

It is pathetic to see such a historically important structure left to the mercies of nature, said an official in the Ranipet Municipality. He added, “We have no control over the structure to take up renovation work or to protect it.”

The officials of ASI and the state’s Archaeological Department claimed that the memorials are not under their purview. The locals said that no one goes near the structure as bushes cover it and there was no approaching path.

“We know that the memorials are historical monuments, but do not know the background. There is no plaque in the structure,” said Ravi, a resident of Ranipet.



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