When I was looking for what to write for the alphabet ‘L’, EVERYONE I asked had only one answer, ‘LIC Building’.
‘It used to be the tallest building in Chennai.’
‘People visiting Chennai used to come just to look at it.’
‘It was a tourist attraction in those days.’
These lines were the ones that accompanied the LIC Building suggestion.
Truth be told, I had driven past the LIC Building so many times (it’s on the way to our favourite movie theatres , Escape and Sathyam) , and it had been pointed out to me too, but I had no recollection of it.
So I drove by once again, and frankly I was unimpressed. (I had lived on the 33rd floor, post marriage, in Mumbai! ) Till, I started reading about it.
At 15 storeys high this building used to be the tallest building in India . No big deal, right? It was a very big deal though, way back in 1959, when it was inaugurated. It remained the tallest building in Chennai for more than 35 years, till the Hyatt Regency in Anna Salai and the Arihant Majestic Towers in Koyembedu usurped that title from it in the mid 1990’s
The LIC building houses the Southern Regional Headquarters of the Life Insurance Corporation of India. I’m not sure if you can pop in simply for a look-see (it is a government office after all) , but nothing stops you from having a look at it from the outside.
Mind your step though, as it stands on an iconic and very busy road with traffic whizzing by. It stands on Anna Salai, which is more than 400 years old and is known as the most important road in Chennai. Yes, there is a lot of history here, alright!
Some more interesting facts about the LIC Building.
It marked the transition from Lime-and-brick construction to concrete columns in the region.
It was the tallest building in India, till the iconic Usha Kiran in Mumbai beat it’s record two years later, in 1961, by 80 meters.
For a building built in 1959, the design is very aesthetically pleasing and it is extremely well maintained.
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