Tamil Nadu

Step wells were common in T.N. too

Kudimaramathu booklet highlights lesser-known facets of State’s water sector

The cover page of a publication on Kudimaramathu, one of the flagship projects of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, may give you the impression that it is yet another government document. But it stands apart as it throws light on lesser-known facets of the water sector in Tamil Nadu.

One such nugget of information pertains to the Ayangaar Kulam step well. Contrary to popular perception that the structure is associated with northern and northwestern India, the document carries a photograph of a step well located near Kancheepuram. The structure, with an aesthetically built arch, was said to have been built during the Vijayanagar era. Likewise, there is a Pallava-era, “swastika-shaped” well at Tiruvellarai in Tiruchi district.

Many, especially those in the southern districts, have heard about the legendary irrigation engineer, J. Pennycuick, who was instrumental in building the Mullaperiyar dam, which is now in the territorial limits of Kerala. But they may not have come across hand-written letters of the celebrated engineer. The official document carries the image of one such letter, written by Pennycuick in 1890, requesting Chief Engineer (Irrigation) to seek sanction for excess expenditure incurred on the dam project.

All these and much more are interspersed with the Public Works Department’s account of the execution of the Kudimaramathu project.

Structured as a coffee-table book, the document contains information on the year-wise and district-wise breakups of allocation of funds and works. Typical of an official document, the publication, which was launched by the Chief Minister recently, has photographs to show how the project has made a difference to various waterbodies.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:19:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/step-wells-were-common-in-tn-too/article30071087.ece

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