June 8, 2016
The ‘Manikoondu,’ or the Tower Clock, is located at the junction of Big Bazaar and Raja Street. This happens to be the third oldest one in town – the other two are at the T.N.A.U and the Forest College campuses.
The Manikoondu under discussion was endowed by A.T. Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar, Rao Bahadur A.T.Krishnaswamy Mudaliar, and A.T. Devaraja Mudaliar in memory of their father and former Municipal Chairman Rao Bahadur A.T.Thiruvengadaswamy Mudaliar (1855-1923) over eighty years ago. A statue of A.T. Thiruvengadaswamy Mudaliar was also unveiled at the same time.
The clock and the movement were brought from England. The residence of the family “Mahalakshmi Illam,” within a gunshot distance from the Manikoondu, continues to add to the heritage of the city.
Rao Bahadur A.T. Thiruvengadaswamy Mudaliar was a successful businessman who ran the Abkari contracts in the Coimbatore and the Nilgiris district in those days. He had a sugar mill at Podanur and was a great philanthropist. His noble sons followed the footsteps of their father. The second son, Rao Bahadur A.T. Krishnaswamy Mudaliar later became the chairman of the Coimbatore Municipality. It is interesting to note that all of them were very keen on improving the educational standards of their times. They took pains to establish a reading room in the Maniloondu itself.
Eighty years ago, people calculated the time by the position of the Sun. With industrialization, accuracy gained importance and watches became necessary. But, watches were very expensive. The tower clock, donated to the city by the sons of Rao Bahadur A.T. Thiruvengadaswamy Mudaliar, served the purpose in the busiest part of the city, keeping time for the masses. It has now become a wonderful piece of Coimbatore heritage.
The tower clock was restored a few years ago by the Coimbatore Chapter of INTACH, during the Convenorship of Mrs. Kalaivani Chengappa.