L is for LIC Building #BlogchatterA2Z

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.

 Written for the theme

My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye


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  1. Mayuri, From 1966 to 1975 and later from 1990 to 2005 I lived in Chennai. We used to be in awe of the LIC building though just like you I have never been inside the building. And it is a major landmark in Chennai. After all these years, as you say it looks pretty unimpressive. A 15 storey building is no big deal these days right? But I have seen it in its glory days and it used to be a thrill.

    1. Yes, that is what everyone here tells me, Jai. In Bombay, I lived on the 33rd floor:)))) so….:))

  2. This is interesting. It might look like any other building today but the history associated with it definitely makes it stand out.

  3. In those days, if the movie need to show chennai, its always Central station & lic building…
    The fav dialogue during vinayagar procession- “lic heightu… pullayaaru weightu..”. lol

  4. Such a tall building in those days must be a center of attraction for the crowd for sure.

  5. Mayuri Nidigallu Rashi Roy

    That’s magnificent. Has to be a landmark.

  6. The building certainly does not look like it was made in 1959. Has it been renovated over time? 15 floors isn’t much but the history attached to it certainly makes it a must-watch if only from outside.

  7. True dear for a 1959 construction it truly looks like a marvel. It is such a pleasure knowing about it and I see a very special ebook in chennai attractions shaping up my dear.

  8. That’s some really cool facts about the LIC building. Good to know about it.

  9. What a landmark! Tell me one thing..why are LIC buildings so huge? Where do they get the money from?? LOL..our insurance money of course!!

  10. Expecting this building today. Wonderful post on the history of the building

  11. 15 storeyed building in 1959!! Now, that’s truly SOMETHING!! And it really looks modern! Will look out for it on my next trip to Chennai!

  12. Another interesting snippet to file away in my knowledge of Chennai 🙂

  13. For a Mumbaikar that’s not a big deal I agree but for many others, it is definitely an iconic building. This reminds me of when I first stepped on an escalator in Delhi I was mesmerized, being a small town it was a big deal for me. Love the way you are showcasing Chennai M.

  14. I knowwww! That’s exactly what I was thinking while looking at its picture. That it doesn’t look so old, the way it’s been designed!
    And did you say that road is 400 years old? :O :O :O
    Find my L post @ 5 Must-Have Luggage Essentials That Are Most Overlooked | Best Luggage For Easy Travel

  15. The building looks new not so old, really well made and give competition to some building in Mumbai. Earlier high rises building were such a rare sight now we have got used to of it.

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