History & Culture

Selaiyur tank's rich history to the fore

The stone tablet beside the Selaiyur Tank, indicating that an order was passed by a Chola king about 500 years ago for its protection. Photo: A.Muralitharan  

It is common to see information boards installed near water bodies displaying the name of the tank or lake and which government agency is responsible for its maintenance.

The concept probably dates back several hundred years ago and two such objects still exist in Tambaram. The Selaiyur Tank in East Tambaram is an ancient water body that has been properly taken care of by not just residents around it, but also the local body, Tambaram Municipality.

Johnson Wesley, a Tamil teacher at a government-aided school, pointed out that the Selaiyur Tank's name found mention in the records of a king more than four centuries ago. According to him, an order was passed by Chola king Thribhuvana Chakravarthy Vijaykanda Gopalan stating that the tank belonged to the adjacent Perumal Temple and that under no circumstances should water be drawn for irrigational purposes.

Two stone tablets with this order inscribed on them can still be found on the eastern and southern sides of the water body. The Annual Report of Epigraphy, which was brought out by Archaeological Survey of India two decades ago, had also acknowledged this, Dr. Wesley said, adding it reflected the importance to the concept of water body protection several centuries ago. Fortunately, the tank was mostly unspoilt, unlike smaller water bodies in Selaiyur and the rest of Tambaram, he said, adding that it was glad to note that the two stone tablets were still intact.

This precious piece of water body is going to witness improvement works now. Tambaram Municipal Chairman E.Mani said they would be spending Rs.20 lakh for developing the tank. It would include constructing a compound wall, a walkers' pathway and strengthening the existing bund.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:58:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/selaiyur-tanks-rich-history-to-the-fore/article2077211.ece

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