TIRUVANNAMALAI: An eighteenth century bungalow built by a Jagirdar in Arni for his French mistress has been lying in dilapidated condition and is on the verge of ruin. However, forest department officers of Tiruvannamalai district have initiated steps to restore its lost glory.
The bungalow is located at the base of the small hill ranges at Poosimalaikuppam, 15 km from Arni town, amidst thick forests. Since it is located inside the SV Vanam reserved forests, it comes under the jurisdiction of the Tamil Nadu forest department.
The bungalow, believed to have been built in 1750 by the Jagirdar Thirumalai Rao for his French mistress, is unique with its architectural beauty and design. “The spiral type staircase attracts visitors, apart from the broad kitchens and dining rooms. There is a well outside the main building which has an in-built staircase to get down for bathing,” according to ‘Arni’ Vijayan, a researcher of archaeology.
He added that the walls of the structure were built in such a way that they were glowing like glass and the local people called it ‘glass castle’.
“If the bungalow is renovated and the lost glory is restored, it will serve as a tourist spot, enabling the younger generations to learn the historical importance of Arni,” Vijayan stated.
Thanks to the efforts of Tiruvannamalai Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) PG Arunlal, the bungalow has gained attention once again. After inspecting it recently, he has initiated steps to protect the structure.
“I visited the place recently and saw the bungalow lying without proper maintenance. Since it is located in forest land, we have taken steps to protect it. A proposal will be sent to the government for taking up renovation and restoration work,” he told The New Indian Express.
Local revenue department authorities held a survey of the area on Wednesday along with forest department personnel.
“The premises of the bungalow will be around 2 acres. On Wednesday, the Tahsildar visited the place and held the survey,” said M Mohankumar, Forest Range Officer, Arni.
The department is going to erect fencing around the structure to protect it from anti-social elements who have damaged its beauty. The regular beat forest personnel are patrolling around the place and soon personnel will be posted to guard it.