Inspection bungalow of British era in disarray

The building is now being used as a telephone exchange.   | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

The inspection bungalow built by the British more than a century ago in Kendala, near Selas, from where engineers oversaw the construction of one of India's first hydroelectric systems, still stands today. Though the main inspection bungalow is in a dilapidated condition, it continues to function as a telephone exchange, where most visitors fail to appreciate its role in the history of the Nilgiris.

The building still possesses a great amount of charm, with the teak roofs and wooden floors of the building still standing strong. Apart from the main inspection bungalows, the smaller buildings, believed to be staff quarters and also stables for horses still remain, although they have fallen into a state of extreme disrepair.

The building has been functioning as a telephone exchange for the last decade, with a sign at the top of the entrance of the building, stating its year of construction as 1902, being the only reminder of its historical significance. Venugopal Dharmalingam, the honorary director of the Nilgiris Documentation Center, said that the bungalow overlooking the Kattery waterfalls and the hydroelectric system was known popularly as the “Kattery bungalow.”

“When the dam was being built in the early 1900's, it would have been used by the British to oversee the construction” he said. The entire project was designed to power the cordite factory in Aravankadu.

“Kattery itself was a popular picnicking spot for the British, and there are old pictures attesting to its natural beauty. Now, the landscape itself is under threat due to the construction of too many resorts and private buildings,” said Mr. Venugopal.

Apart from the main inspection bungalow, there are also a couple of other bungalows nearby built around the year 1906. Though these buildings are in a relatively good condition, they too require maintenance. These buildings are being used as quarters for Cordite factory workers.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 2:56:42 AM |

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