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Planning for Historic Cities A Case Study of the Historic City Area of Madurai
P.Shabitha, Dept. of Architecture & Dr.S.Nagan, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai For the last two thousand years it has been Introduction a great centre of south Indian culture and India, a land of great civilizations has its civilization. It is one of the few cities to have highest institutional expression in cities where its enjoyed a continuous history which can be traced magnificent tradition was elaborated and refined. back to pre historic times, the origin traced back The traditional Indian city has had more than one to the 6th century B.C. function and reason for its existence, as capitals, pilgrim, temple, educational centers etc. Many Politically Madurai was the capital of a such cities still thrive with activities and have single dynasty, the Pandyas who ruled become a part of the larger cities. All such continuously as far as is known from the early traditional inner city areas apart from being years of Christianity down to the 14th century. historical documents are an expression of This fact more than anything else is enough to diversity and values of traditional cultures. But gain for Madurai a unique place. Even after the today many such areas are being threatened, Pandyas, Madurai has continued as the capital of physically degraded, or destroyed by the impact some dynasty or other for four centuries more. It of haphazard urban growth. has therefore had a continuous history as a political capital for eighteen centuries. At the Temple towns are one such type where the present day Madurai is still one of the premier temple had played a vital role in shaping the cities in the State next only to Chennai in social structure of the place. These areas have importance. been places of life, vitality, wealth, power, enlightenment and culture. However, the Madurai is considered to be designed traditional values of these inner city areas have according to the Rajdhani plan, described in been marginalized in the process of urban growth. Manasara, one of the Shilpasastra, and has the The personality and character of a city is the result fivefold concentric rectangular formation with of centuries of growth in the course of which new Meenakshi- Sundareshwara Temple at a very elements are juxtaposed with the older ones. center point. It is regarded as the most typical city reflecting the ideal concept. Madurai is a city Temple cities in South India whose formation was mostly reconstructed in the The temple cities in south India are formed 16th century by the Nayak as a new ruler after the with the enlargement process of the principle Muslim invasion. Therefore, it is comprehensible temple as the center. In and around Tamil Nadu, that the Hindu ideal city plan was applied for the there are several temple cities of the shape of a revival of Madurai, and Hinduism, too. It is concentric rectangle with a large Hindu temple as considered, at the same time, to have its center. They are regarded as the cities synchronized with the trend of social constructed according to the ideal city plan reorganization based on the cosmology, which described in Shilpasastra, the ancient Sanskrit had been driven by the tie-up between the Royal texts. There are few cities representing such a Power and the Temple. clear concentric form, which symbolizes the structure of the Cosmos, on a city scale, though cities and temples reflecting the cosmology are The present Scenario The city has flourished as the cultural, often observed. economic and politic center of Southern India from ancient times and still keeps active urban Madurai life. The city well maintains the traditional Madurai, well known as a pilgrim centre festivals in which the processions are performed today, is one of the oldest cities in south India. along the concentric streets.
College of Engineering Trivandrum
Kuyavar palayam Rd Munichalai Kamarajar Salai 1. Holy Emmanuel Church 11. Kali Kovil Palace Road 9 3. Vilaku Thoon 23. The bazaar activities were concentrated around the temple and palace and continue to the present day. 23. Rani Mangammal palace 20.5 % share of commercial activity) and a religious center. Anna Kuli Mandapam 17. The fort walls have been razed down and the moat filled up to form the present day Veli Streets.2 HERTIAGE ZONE A College of Engineering Trivandrum Hall 6 10 TPK Road 22. the palace towards the south east of the temple formed the major structure of the town. Pudumandapam 14. The Inner historic city The old city of Madurai was a well planned one with bazaars and many broad streets with high and luxurious mansions on both sides. ThirumalaiNayakar Mahal 18. Kajimer Mosque 13. Besides the temple. Mangammal Choultry 21.Km (8. Khadi Bhavan 24. Raya Gopuram 15.000. The streets concentric to the temple complex formed the major streets viz. Sourastra Cluster 29. Vadugar Palace 8 5 20 W Veli Street Railway Station Railway Junction Map 4. Iyanar Kovil 4. Vinayakar Kovil 5. li 50 100 150 200 250m N 257 . Brahmin Cluster 27. Avani Moola Streets and Masi Streets. Chettiar Cluster 28. Kudal Alazhar Temple Ma ha lS tre 3 22 18 17 a Veng N a pa layam St E Masi St reet ai St lakad Da la t vay la Stree ni Moo Ag rah E Ava ara mS t treet irai S E Chit 14 7. The next order of streets is perpendicular to the above streets and lead to the temple entrances.60 m. Nagara Mandapam 16. School In N Veli St To d Roa 24 26. Pathu Thoon Street S Avani Moola St Street itirai W Ch 16 W Avani Moola Street Khansa Mettu St 21 11 23 7 se Road NSC Bo Pandian St Vadampoki St WM treet asi S n Tow 19. The city was built around the temple complex as the focal point with a combination of a concentric street pattern. Chithirai Streets. Meenakshi Amman Temple Ri ve r ig ai N Masi Street Va eet irai Str N Chit S Peru mal Mai stry Str eet S Marre t St S Veli Street 2 reet N Veli St St ola i Mo van Maistry St d NA Roa ngam N Perumal Ro ad Ta m il Sa ho p kS or W Murthi St St 25 Goodshed pu St Kakathop Sambanda At present this historic core is functioning as the Central Business District of the city and covers an area of 2. A definite hierarchy of street pattern was adopted with the width of the Streets decreasing as they branched out. Thus the inner city area has a distinct character as the commercial (32. St Mary's Church SM 13 i as 19 15 treet irai S S Chit ika ga Na t iS da e Str et 4 Chinna Kadai St 10. ending up in stone paved streets and lanes . Kariamal Perumal Kovil Tank 6. Nanmaitaruvar Temple et 8. Remain Of Fort Wall 25. Vi cto rM ay er Ka l pa lam Br id ge E Veli Street E Marret St 2.5% of total city area) and has a population of approximately 1 lakh against the cities total population of 9.. Madagopalswami Temple 9. St George's Church 1 12 Arupukottai Rd 12. The entire city was enclosed within the fort walls and surrounded by a moat.5 Sq.the width of some being just 0. Yadava Cluster 7 e NH nelv iru Th Periyar Bus Stand Thiruvalluvar Bus Stand 40 20 0 50 3010 The developments within and beyond these streets are on an irregular pattern.
Occupied by different groups After Independence Phenominal Urban Growth Area .Veli Veedi Vacant Plots in Core Area .Religious Inst & Com Markets CHANNEL TEMPLE PALACE AREA 6th Century BC . 2002.1372 .Institutions Victor Mayer Bridge Across Vaigai Palaces .Remained Compact TANK TEMPLE PALAGANATHAM SETTLEMENT ANNUPPANADI DURING EARLY CENTURIES SETTLEMENT Houses .51.Traditional + Colonial Arches Northern Part .Industrial Development Migration from Rural Communities Core .4 Main Streets .Demolition of Fort Wall Head Quarters for South zone HISTORIC CITY 1757 VAIGAI RIVER RIVER VAIGAI MADAKULAM SETTLEMENT HISTORIC CITY PALACE AREA 1875 . SPA 1857 COMMUNITIES PERUMAL TEMPLE CHANNEL MUGHAL SETTLEMENTS College of Engineering Trivandrum PALACE AREA FORT WALL TEMPLE COMMUNITIES CHANNEL 0 0 1 2 1 3 2 4 5 3 6 7 4 8 HISTORIC CITY 1560 258 .Around Temple ( Kings Palace) .Settlement Between 2 Branches of Vaigai Fortified Capital Of Pandian Kingdom City Plan .82 Sq Km VAIGAI RIVER VAIGAI RIVER 1970 Source: Heritage Development plan for Madurai prepared by DTCP 1998 Core City .Captured by Vijayanagara King Whole Madurai Divided into 72 Divisions 3 Major Communities Migrated 1559 .Railway .Adminstrative Offices Outer Street .Prehistoric Settlements 9th Century .Balaji.Business Headquarters of Region PALACE AREA FORT WALL TEMPLE Unpublished Thesis ‘Conservation Plan for Historic City of Madurai’ by G.Nayak Dynasty 1801-1947 British Colonial Rule 1837 .
The concentric streets were once to human scale but as one enters the inner streets. mandapams..Streetscape The buildings in the inner city area are continuous row types. There are a number of religious and cultural buildings in the area. Heritage Elements Madurai as a whole is of great cultural and heritage importance. While the streets for the CBD do provide the necessary access to a large number of properties (primarily shops and residence). Railway station. Approval has been given for many buildings in the contravention of building regulations that imposes curbs on elevation of such structures to ensure the clear view of the Meenakshi Temple and its majestic towers. Traffic and transportation The CBD acts as a central magnet in attracting traffic from all directions. whole sale market. The high rise commercial structures and advertisement hoardings dominate the area. Commercial land use is in the form of linear strips along major & minor roads typical of any traditional Indain city. The in and out flow of commodities has to necessarily take place along these streets. The Madurai CBD which is also a centre for religious activities.5 lakhs per day. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal. The whole sale markets along masi & avani streets are 3000 in number. The traffic analysis on all the CBD cordons indicates that truck traffic is predominant in all the radial corridors. Land use The major functions of the area include the temple. hampered the efficient movement of traffic within CBD. Due to the existence of non-confirming and conflicting land uses within the area such as whole sale market. The vehicles not only require space for movement but also space for parking. The first floor of houses is used for storage for shops. High market value has made the houses a source of income. The entire network within CBD is named as 'Street'. heritage elements of historic value like fort wall remains. Head Post office. irrespective of the width of the street thereby changing the scale of the streets. the only alternative left in CBD is to utilize the street space for parking. This has greatly. Cinema Halls and tourist lodging facilities. palaces. The heritage elements include Temples. Hospitals. government offices etc. mosques. Bus stand. the intrusion of vehicles both fast and slow moving vehicles on a large scale has tampered not only easy movement of people but also defeated tile very basic function of the street. Some shops cater to pilgrims. The Veli streets on all four sides carry the maximum traffic. churches. the various cultural and architectural elements of the area various heritage elements have been identified. The floating population is more than 1. lorry booking offices. The visual quality of the temple gopuram has become less important. varying from single floor to seven floors.62 hectares. There is a 259 College of Engineering Trivandrum . Based on various studies of the history of the city. However the originally planned town around the Meenakshi Temple is the most important from the heritage point of view. the human scale is lost. the area has lost its sanctity and badly needs conservation. A Street by definition is to provide access to all the properties and ensure smooth movement of people and certainly not intended for high volume vehicular movement like roads where access is controlled. godowns. Parking of vehicles poses a serious threat to the effective utilization of road and street Space particularly in the CBD of Madurai LPA. the demand for large scale movements of goods has also become necessary. tanks. In the absence of organized off street parking. with the increase in population and consumption. occupying an area of 51. tourists and local people while the others irrelevantly cater to the whole region. Surveys show that about traders willing to shift 67% out side the CBD. buildings associated with important events and residential clusters of various communities with distinct architectural character. The vehicles which are used by the local residents of Madurai city and the vehicles used by private operators by the floating population demand parking space in the CBD as it comprises of both commercial and religious activities.
in order to entertain the people thronging in lakhs. The carrying capacity of historic houses is a maximum of 20 and an average of 8. The extension beyond fort walls and establishment of railways led to economic development high-density development the higher income group migrated out. The open spaces are rented. The idol of Sundararajar. To ease the problems to the devotees thronging the route of procession and near the temple it is suggested to set up permanent public conveniences with flush toilets and mobile toilets. communities. additional collection and dumping points need to be identified along the procession routes.6. Another requirement to the floating population during festivals is public conveniences. This would necessitate the provision of public water fountains / water taps. To counter this problem. with use of tipper Lorries and temporary staff for its disposal. The word heritage to them becomes restricted to the buildings only. The seasonal problems arise mainly on account of devotees coming during festivals. This festival takes place at Meenakshi Amman temple south of River Vaigai. The solid waste generation during festival periods is very high. Shifting of non-confirming uses and incompatible activities of the area can help in decongestion of the city. The delineated boundary of the plans totally leaves the historical boundary of the area leading to the ignorance of the area. Home improvement loans through cooperative (as for repair of chawls in Mumbai) can be provided. Meenakshi's brother is brought from the Alagar temple and the festival goes on for ten days and witnessed by thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The longer plots are used. eviction of encroachments and improvement of roads. which could be used by the local population supplemented by water tankers during festival days. This results in more crowd and vehicular movement. During the Chithirai festival. Recently the heritage plan for Madurai has been prepared under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. 1999. as godowns and the traditional maadams are rental areas. The open space ratio is 0. This provides greater control over the buildings within the zone There are two development plans laid for the Madurai core area namely The Urban Renewal programme for Madurai. The planning and development of the historic city area can be oriented towards adaptive reuse projects of significant buildings/ landmarks with the involvement of public/private sector investment. 1998 and the Integrated Development Plan for the Heritage Town of Madurai. But the alternative use of these areas must be considered. the whole of Madurai celebrates the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Kalyanam. The important aspects to be looked into are water supply. The traditional residential clusters are used for rental purpose. The two plans concentrate only on the monuments and religious building leaving the rest of the town. Tourism development projects generating profits that can be channelised to finance other interventions/investments. public conveniences. This zone should be much more specific than urban renewal plan. In the approach to protect the cultural resources inside the historic city of Madurai that involves complexes like temples. tanks etc it is essential to demarcate the heritage zone in the master plan. During the Chithirai festival in April May. market palaces streets and open spaces. Along with infrastructure and up gradation schemes for inner city/ heritage zones. Drinking water to be provided for during festival days for pilgrims along the route (Alagar kovil road) through which the deity is taken. The reason for the neglect was not given or even stated by the programme. palaces. solid waste management. an exhibition at Tamukkam ground is also conducted. area based 260 College of Engineering Trivandrum . 90% in residents in the cluster have shifted out and a number of shopping complexes have come up in these clusters.steep increase in commercial use for which plots are sub division and there is an increase in vertical height. These two plans almost follow the master plan strategy and they concentrate on the religious and monuments only leaving the settlement alone.
New Delhi 6. Hence the planning should also take into account people’s participation and should be from the grass root level. Panchanatham Pillai Town Centre Approach to Urban Renewal Ministry of Housing & Local Government. Thesis . Hence planning for such a city taking into consideration contemporary needs and issues and integrating the solutions in such a way that the historic significance is not lost is important.transformational urban renewal of dilapidated/old area and public housing could also be considered for the historic area of the city.Conservation Plan For Historic City of Madurai by G. Kyoto University 7. 2002. N. 2. Some initiatives have been taken up recently. It is clear that the temple being the major centre of attraction. roads and traffic management and tourism should go hand in hand.Balaji. creating work opportunities for the local people. The major areas that need attention are proper land use planning.Study of Spatial Formation of Madurai by Ayako Ostuji. The city is a thriving city and the development process needs to be looked at not just form the heritage point of view. Chakrabarti 8. D Devakunjari The Great Temple of Madurai by K. and development of the tourism industry and hence accentuating the historic significance of the city. 4. Dr. infrastructure specially improvement of roads as the historic city faces huge traffic issues due to narrow roads and lack of good mass transportation system as in big cities. 2003. The planning process should have an integrated approach with long term vision. The development process should however not be curtailed as it is important that the city is home to a huge population.S. G . Hence a comprehensive approach to planning of such heritage areas is the need of the day were heritage conservation. The tourism potential of the city has also not been explored it’s fullest. Article on The case for an Indian charter by A . The activity not only needs but also promotion so as to attract more tourists to sustain the core city as a prominent activity centre and also preserve the heritage quality of the area. UK 5. land use planning. Thesis . SPA. Documenting Heritage: Some Observations on the Indian Situation by Dilip K. it will continue to attract more and more people from within and outside the city.Srinivasan 10. Since the city doesn’t have much major industries and the tourism industry can be developed to benefit both the people of the city and the tourist as well. Traffic Improvement Schemes for Madurai City Study Report by Prof.Palaniappan Thalai Varalaru by R.DTCP College of Engineering Trivandrum 261 . Krishna Menon 9. Heritage plan for Madurai 1998 . Madurai through the Ages by Dr. Issues regarding the development process should be linked and analyzed specially in historic cities since the city has been planned hundreds of years back. 3. Sustainable development of heritage cities like Madurai depends upon the commitment and involvement of local communities. REFERENCES 1.
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