Vivekananda House given on lease for 99 years

published on October 13, 2012

CHENNAI, Octomber 11, 2012 : In the 150th year of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, the Ramakrishna Mission in Chennai has got a gift from the Jayalalithaa government. The state has extended the lease on Vivekananda House on the Marina by 99 years.Vivekananda House, used as a cultural centre by the Mission, is where the reformer-saint stayed in 1897 on his return after addressing the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Formerly known as Castle Kernan, the Indo-Saracenic-styled bungalow was built by an American ice trader,  Frederic Tudor. It was given on lease to the Math in 1997 for 3 years and another ten years from 2000. The lease was again extended in 2010 for 10 years. The current lease ends in 2020 but Tuesday’s order has extended the lease from 2012 to 99 years, i.e. till 2111. The lease rent is 12,000 per annum.The government has also given a hectare of land to the Cancer Institute in Adyar on lease for 30 years. The land is between the institute campus and the Buckingham Canal.The government sent orders extending the lease to both organizations on Tuesday though the decisions were said have been taken in a recent Cabinet meeting.

Vivekananda House (Castle Kernan/ Vivekananda Illam): Vivekananda Illam, originally called Ice House, was renamed in 1963 to commomorate Swami Vivekananda’s sojourn here. The museum is a semicircular building facing the marina. This is the first shrine of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.Swami Vivekananda stayed for 9 days (6th-15th February 1897) at the Illam (then called Ice House/Castle Kernan) on his return from the West.In March 1897, Swami Ramakrishnananda, a brother disciple of Swami Vivekananda, started the first centre of Ramakrishna Math in South India and housed the centre in this very building. The Math functioned here from 1897 to 1906.This place now houses a Pictorial Exhibition on Indian culture from the Vedic Period to the advent of Sri Ramakrishna and a Photo Gallery on the life Swami Vivekananda. The room in which Swamiji stayed is maintained as a meditation room

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