Heritage Building Chepauk Palace, Fire at Chepauk Palace

Pongal celebrations were dampened in the city when a major fire broke out in the wee hours of the morning at the Ezhilagam Complexin Chepauk, Chennai on Jan 16, 2012.

A major fire broke out in Khalsa Mahal, part of the Chepauk Palace, a heritage building, destroying the offices of the directorates of Social Welfare, and Industries and Commerce, in the early hours of Monday. One fireman was killed and three others, including a Divisional Fire Officer, were injured when the roof of the 18th century structure came crashing down during the five-hour firefighting operations.

The fire, in which important government documents and papers were charred, was due to an electrical short circuit, suspect sources in the Fire and Rescue Services.

A fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, Khalsa Mahal was one of the two structures that formed the core of the palace, which was taken over by the British in 1859. In the 1960s, the Tamil Nadu government constructed the Ezhilagam complex, fronting the Marina beach, and located several of its offices there, including some in the palace buildings.

More on the Ezhilagam Complex i.e  Chepauk Palace

Chepauk Palace was the official residence of the Nawab of Arcot from 1768 to 1855. It is situated in the neighbourhood of Chepauk in Chennai, India and is constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.


By the end of the Carnatic Wars, the previously independent kingdom of the Carnatic had virtually become a protectorate of the British East India Company. The Nawab Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was a close friend and ally of the British and was dependent on Company troops for his protection. So, in 1764, he thought of constructing a palace for himself within the ramparts of Fort St George. However, due to space constraints, Wallajah was forced to abandon his plans and instead constructed a palace at Chepauk, a few miles to the south of the fort.

When the principality of Carnatic was abolished in 1855 as per the Doctrine of Lapse, the Chepauk Palace was brought to auction to pay off the Nawab’s debts and was eventually purchased by the Madras government.[2] The palace functioned as the office of the revenue board and the Public Works Department (PWD) Secretariat. In 1871, Robert Chisholm constructed a new records office and a revenue board building.


The Chepauk Palace comprises two blocks—the northern block is known as Khalsa Mahal while the southern block is known as Humayun Mahal.The palace is built over an area of 117 acres and is surrounded by a wall.

Posted on January 17, 2012, in Art, Attractions, Ecological Restoration in Chennai, Heritage of Chennai and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Indeed a sad news,, a fire fighter succumbed !

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