The Thanjavur Cannon - Raghunatha Nayak (1600-1645 CE)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Kunal Biswas, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    The Thanjavur Cannon

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    There is one object of heritage value in Tanjavur that not many visitors would have seen. It is the Thanjavur Cannon, a mighty Cannon of forge welded iron built during the reign of Raghunatha Nayak (1600-1645 CE). This 25 ft long Cannon weighs 22Tonnes. The outer diameter is 37 inches and the inner dia 25 inches can fire a cannon ball (iron) of 1000 Kg weight. No wonder it finds fourth place in the list of Largest Cannons fired in the World History.This Cannon was named "Rajagopala Beerangi (Cannon), but popularly known as "Daasimettu beerangi" is placed on an elevated (25'high) defense barricade at the eastern Rampart of the Tanjavur Fort. Surprisingly many people living in Tanjavur may not be aware of the existance of such a huge Cannon in Tanjavur. Since I stayed with my uncle on the same road on Rampart I saw this Cannon when I visited Tanjavur for the first time in 1946.

    Interestingly though many locals may not be aware of such thing of heritage value is there in their Town, this Cannon finds a place in the list of Largest Cannons in World History.

    Brahmanyan.
    Brahmanyan: Tanjavur Cannon
     
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  3. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    It sad about the condition where this gun is in..

    Only few exist..
     
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Thanjavur

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  5. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  6. marshal panda

    marshal panda Regular Member

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    Interesting piece of heritage.Also it has a choke barrel .
     
  7. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Good for trap shooting then. :-D
     
  9. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  10. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Which would make it the largest caliber iron ball cannon? As per the first post it is the fourth largest? Any sources on the other three? Are the other three stone ball cannons?

    I dont know how to edit. Some one here should though.
     
  11. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Can some of the Tamilians on this forum put together a donation fund to build some kind of a shelter for that thing. Pathetically maintained. If someone opens a fund, I will make a generous donation.

    GK, Tamil Arasan?
     
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  12. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    A cannon in monumental neglect

    The 17th century big gun is said to be protected by ASI but is in a sorry state



    The Hindu : Arts / History & Culture : Living History: A cannon in monumental neglect
     
  13. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  15. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  16. Rahul92

    Rahul92 Senior Member Senior Member

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    is it build to protect the temple
     
  17. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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  18. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    RAJAGOPALA BEERANGI ( Cannon )

    This is a huge cannon placed at the eastern gate of the Fort. The place is called ‘Beerangi Medu’. The Cannon is amazing in size and the quality speaks of the metallurgical knowledge of the people of those times. The Beerangi is the biggest in India.
    Timing: 10.00am to 6.00pm. No Holiday.

    Welcome to Thanjavur
     
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  19. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    Heritage walk organised

    Special Correspondent

    Participants urged to create awareness in the neighbourhood
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    —Photo: M_Srinath

    HOT ATTRACTION:Archaeological researcher Kudavayil Balasubramaniam explaining about the big iron cannon to participants of the heritage walk to mark the World Heritage Day in Thanjavur on Thursday.

    THANJAVUR: With a view to create awareness about our rich heritage and the need to preserve it, a heritage walk was organised here on Thursday in connection with World Heritage day and World Earth Day by Tamil Nadu Tourism Department and Thanjavur chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

    Kudavayil Balasubramanian, Archaeological Researcher, led the walk and enlightened the students about the importance of each and every heritage site. He said that the palace complex, where the art gallery is now located, was constructed in 1535 by Sevappa Nayak.

    He described the intricacies of stone, copper and marble sculptures in the art gallery. Gaja samharar is one of the wonderful stone sculptures in the art gallery.

    The sculpture depicted a ferocious Lord Siva coming out of the stomach of elephant demon by tearing it open. Goddess Parvathi with Lord Muruga is also seen watching the Lord with fear. However, to please them he smiles. Both anger and smile are depicted on the face.

    Other sculptures about which Balasubramanian explained were Dwarapalaka in stone, Lord Nataraja in copper, Rishabha Vahana Thevar and statue of Maratta King Serfoji II in marble.

    The place where Rajagopala Beerangi (big iron cannon) is located is called Beerangi Medu. The cannon was cast at Kollumedu near Thanjavur and erected in 1620.

    Rust-free cannon

    A unique feature of the cannon was that it has not rusted. It was used to protect Thanjavur from enemies who make an entry through Keelavasal (east gate). But the upkeep of the place leaves much to be desired. It is used by anti-social elements. Balasubramanian felt that tourism department, INTACH and district administration could make it a tourist attraction.

    Next heritage site visited by the students was Samanthan tank. Surrounded by residences on all four side and garbage and other pollutants heaped up, the historical tank is on the verge of extinction. S.Muthukumar of INTACH suggested to Architecture students of Periyar Maniammai University who participated in the walk to engage themselves in creating awareness of the importance of the tank among the people around and help in rehabilitating it. The students agreed to do it.

    Finally the walk concluded at Big Temple, world heritage monument which is celebrating its millennium this year. Balasubramanian, who has written a book on the temple recently, said that it remained a repository of art and culture. Scupture, paintings and epigraphy in the temple are marvellous and its magnificence lies in its mammoth size. S.Selvaraj, District Archaeological Officer, M.Swaminathan, Tourist Officer, R.Sakthi Murugan, Campaign co-ordinator, INTACH, Rama Kausalya, former principal of Government Music college Thiruvaiyaru, S.Venkatraman, Curator of Art Gallery, Girija Anandan of Innerwheel club and students of Marabhu Foundation, Thillaisthanam, participated in the walk.

    The Hindu : Tamil Nadu / Thanjavur News : Heritage walk organised
     
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  20. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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  21. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    Living History: A cannon in monumental neglect
    G. Srinivasan
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    The 17th century forge-welded iron cannon at Thanjavur. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
    The Hindu The 17th century forge-welded iron cannon at Thanjavur. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
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    The 17th century big gun is said to be protected by ASI but is in a sorry state

    Beerangi Medu, where a 17th century forge-welded iron cannon is mounted at Keela Alankam in Thanjavur town, a heritage monument, remains a place of neglect. Liquor bottles, plastic packets and eatables strewn around the cannon at the heritage site indicate the sorry state of affairs.

    Interestingly, it is a monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A board put up at the entrance of the fleet of steps leading to the mounted cannon at the site says: “This monument has been declared to be of National Importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains Act 1958. As per the Ancient Monuments and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010, whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces or misuses this monument, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to two years or with fine up to Rs one lakh or with both”. Walls of the site are defaced and names engraved on them.

    The cannon is said to be one of the biggest in the world. It is of amazing size and speaks volumes of the metallurgical skill of the people in 17th century. The cannon has been made using Danish technical skills. It was mounted in 1620 when Ragunatha Nayak was the King of Thanjavur (1600-1645 A.D.).

    The 26-foot-long cannon weighs 22 tonnes. It is forge-welded and has not been made by casting. The nearly 400-year-old cannon, though exposed to sun and rain, has not rusted. The outer circle is 300 mm in diameter, while the inner circle is 150 mm in diameter. Inside, it is made using 43 long iron plates and the outer of 94 iron rings. To lift the cannon eight rings were present on top. But now, only two rings are found. It was used to protect Thanjavur from enemies who used to enter through ‘keelavasal' (east gate).

    Unfortunately, encroachments around the site – pucca built houses (which are not allowed around an archaeological site), – cattle rearing by people in the vicinity, wild growth of weeds rob the cannon site of all beauty. From the site (top) one can see the Sarja madi (seven-floor structure) and the Arsenal tower of Nayak Palace on the western side. The cannon is called Rajagopala cannon.

    However, the Thanjavur chapter of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has taken steps to protect and popularise the site and to maintain it well. It organised heritage walk to the site and celebrated India Tourism day recently with foreign tourists. But after these events, the place remains neglected.

    According to Rajeswaran, an INTACH member and councillor of the ward, where the cannon is located, the site can be made into an interesting tourist attraction if the ASI, the district administration, the municipality and art-lovers take steps. “There are no lights at the top. This helps anti-social elements during night time to misuse the place,” Mr. Rajeswaran said.

    The Hindu : Arts / History & Culture : Living History: A cannon in monumental neglect
     
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