British engineer Col John Pennycuick;For us, he is a god. So, this is a temple, farmers have kept portraits of Pennycuick, named their children after him and offer prayers to him.


Pennycuick memorial, a temple for us, say farmers




LOWER CAMP (THENI)
For the emotionally-charged farmers of villages in the Cumbum valley, the sprawling 2,500 sq ft building in the two acre site at Lower Camp is not just a memorial for the visionary British engineer Col John Pennycuick, but a temple.

"For us, he is a god. So, this is a temple," said O Andi of Palarpatti. But for the Mullaperiyar dam, built 118 years ago, at least 2.23 lakh acres of land in five southern districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram would be water-starved. The daunting task of building the dam amidst all odds was completed by Pennycuick, who even sold his properties for raising the dam.

While villages across Tamil Nadu celebrate January 15 as Maattu Pongal, farmers in Cumbum valley make it a point to offer prayers for Pennycuick, who was born on this day in 1841. In several villages of Theni district, the farmers have kept portraits of Pennycuick, named their children after him and offer prayers to him. Some have also installed busts of the royal engineer in their village yard.

The memorial, that also hosts a 575 kg, 7.5 feet bronze statue of Pennycuick standing majestically, also throws light into the life and times of the British engineer and the construction of Mullaperiyar dam.

Black and white photographs displayed on the walls show the simple house with lime and mortar roofing with tin sheets protruding in front where Pennycuick lived in 1887 during the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam, a wooden recliner he used, the residential quarters of the workers involved in the project, Kuruvanuthu village from where limestone was quarried for the dam. The photographs also narrate various stages of evolution of the dam. A replica of the dam has also been displayed in the memorial. State PWD secretary Saikumar explained about the photographs to chief minister J Jayalilathaa who opened the memorial.

"We were struggling hard to mobilise money to install a life-size statue of Pennycuick for several years in our village. When a statue itself was beyond our reach, such a huge memorial is really a gift to us," says S Ramesh, a youth from Kuchanu
 More than 100 years ago....."
 It was morning 5 o'clock. Suddenly I  wake up  hearing some sound outside our  house. People were shouting,cheering and running. I could still remember some words they were shouting "Water is running through our village!!!... it is a new river!!! come on lets go and see!!!". I also woke up and ran along with the crowd carrying my two year old sister".I  could not believe my eyes. I saw a river,! Totally a new river!!! A very big river !!! People were diving into the river. All were looking happy and excited and praising an english name  'john'. They were talking " This river is coming from the top of the hill and running more than 100 miles.From now onwards we can cultivate paddy(rice) ."   My grandma was telling this story. The place is Kambam village in Madurai district of  Tamilnadu State, India.
 The story behind the construction of the Dam: 
John Pennycuick works in the British Army in India. One day, when he was going through the geographical map of the above area, he saw a big  river at the top of the hill (2890 feet above sea level). 

The river (called as Periyar River)  was going waste through mountains and finally ended in  the sea. He thought  "If ever we could divert the river in the opposite direction, millions of people will be benefited. He worked out the logic like this:  " If we stopped the flow of river by building a dam, then ,  water level of the river will increase and it will automatically flow through the opposite direction.See the images of river before and after the construction of the Dam. 


But, he observed one more hinderence; a small mountain. He has to make a hole of 6000 feet through this mountain. He submitted his proposal for construction of dam as well as making hole to the British Government.(Note : the same idea was there for the Captain-cum-engineer Caldwell in 1808 but he dropped this idea thinking tunneling is not feasible. Before Caldwell, in 1778, Ramnad Raja also thought of  diverting the water by constructing a dam. But, because of financial constraints, he could not proceed further )


Dam, Periyar Lake.

View of the dam, Periyar Lake taken by an unknown photographer in the 1900s. The photograph is part of an album containing views of various locations in India, formerly in the collection of Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, (1850-1916), who was Commander in Chief of India between 1902 and 1909.(a picture of the Mullaperiyar dam here)

MULLA PERIYAR DAM UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 
Photo : View from Mullaperiyar Dam.



Photo: Idukki Arch Dam on the River Periyar;
Photo: Idukki Arch Dam on the River Periyar;
Idukki arch dam is the largest in Asia of that type. This dam holds far more water than Mullaperiyar. The fear is that in the event of a Mullaperiyar break, Idukki might follow.
Courtesy : Wikipedia.
 









Diagram which explains the conflict between kerala and tamilnadu governments

If more water is allowed towards kerala's Idukki dam, then tamilnadu will get less water for irriguation.
If less water goes to Idukki dam, they cannot generate electricity. Hence the dispute.



The red color block  shown in this diagram is  the new proposed mullai periyar dam kerala govt is going to construct(this information is as per tamilnadu PWD engineers.)
The kerala govt says, tamilnadu will get the water from the new dam. But tamilnadu PWD engineers say that if the new dam is built, tamilnadu could  not get water by citing the above diagram.
Both state people are completely interdependent on each other.
It is not like the relation between Tamilnadu  and  Karnataka (they are loosely connected).
Hence an amicable solution becomes a must for the welfare of both the sides.

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  Penicuik House

  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the W. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the NW. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of view from W.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of interior. View of entrance hall.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Date 1982 Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the SW. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the NW. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the ruins of the house with the stables adjacent, taken from the SSE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of detail of statue on NE facade.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of detail of portico.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the E. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the ruins of the house, taken from the NE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Engraving of distant view of Penicuik House. Titled 'Penicuik, Midlothian.' General Collection Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of ink drawing of reconstruction of Penicuik House, Midlothian.  Date 1994 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Scanned image of oblique aerial view. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Date 1982 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the N. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the NNE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Photographic copy of drawing  of 1782 showing plan of staircase ceiling. Bonnar and Company Date 1890 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the NE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • View from E.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Plan of staircase ceiling of 1782 for Penicuik House. Bonnar and Company Date 1890 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the ENE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the ENE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of interior. View of staircase.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the NNE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Digital copy of detail of statue on NE facade.  Date 12/3/1981 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Photographic copy of conjectural reconstruction of survey drawing of Penicuik House. Insc. 'Built to designs of Sir James Clerk Bt. & John Baxter senior between 1761 & 1769, with wing additions by David Bryce 1857.'  Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables with the ruins of the house adjacent, taken from the SE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables with the ruins of the house adjacent, taken from the NE. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Perspective view showing front elevation inscr; 'Pennycuick House, the seat of Sir John Clark Bart.'  Copyright RCAHMS
  • General oblique aerial view centred on the house and policies, taken from the S. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
  • Oblique aerial view centred on the stables and the ruins of the house, taken from the NNW. RCAHMS Aerial Photography Digital Date 30/7/2007 Copyright RCAHMS
 PENNYCUICK - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/MLN/Penicuik/Gaz1868.html

Last name: Pennycuickhttp://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Pennycuick





great families and big houseshttp://www.campin.me.uk/Embro/Webrelease/Embro/05cheese/05cheese.htm


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 Mullaperiyar Dam and a Terrified Kerala.
                                    http://www.calicutnet.com/articles/gopinath/mullaperiyar/mullaperiyar.htm
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