As one of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), it is recognised as an Institute of National Importance. 22nd July 1959 is a red letter day in the history of IIT-M and in the lives of the first batch of “120 students who made a beginning of their Engineering education at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. It was on this hot summer day that IITM welcomed students from the length and breadth of the country”, reminisces B.S. Sudhir Chandra (BTCE - 1964) a student from the first Batch, in his blog. Founded with technical and financial assistance from the former government of West Germany, it was the third IIT that was established by the Government of India. One can find many ‘gems’ within the campus that remain a treat for the past and present generations who studied here.
Founded in 1959 and inaugurated by Prof. Humayun Kabir, the then Union minister for Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, the institute among the woods has celebrated its 60th birthday this month. DC takes a walk through this iconic landmark of the city.
Quark: Named after an elementary particle, Quark is the iconic canteen that was built by the students in the early 80’s. Wanting a canteen that stayed open much longer than the hostel canteens, the students got the permission they needed and designed and built the canteen, with guidance from the engineering professors. This place serves all kinds of amazing food at reasonable prices.
Vana Vani and Kendriya Vidyalaya: Imagine studying in a school located inside a forest and surrounded by wildlife, from monkeys to deer to anteaters! Vanavani Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Kendriya Vidyalaya, both founded in 1963, offer just that.
“Both schools have their own different atmosphere despite being in the same IIT campus. Vanavani being a matriculation school and KVIIT being CBSE, they both were unique in their own ways. I learnt fluent in Hindi whilst studying at KVIIT”, says Boopathy Rajendran, a student.
Open Air Theatre: The iconic Open Air Theatre at IIT is the place to go for a unique movie experience. Watching a film under the canopy of the trees at night, surrounded by the night breeze is a one of a kind moment. Everybody looks forward to Sunday evenings at the ‘film club’. Students and residents can relax on the stairs and steps available and be far more comfortable, even showing up in pajamas, to enjoy the movie of the day. Popular Nights of Saarang, the annual social and cultural festival of IIT Madras are hosted at the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras
Chemplast Cricket Ground: One of the most scenic grounds, it was established only in 1998. Despite its age, the ground is still excellently maintained and is a sort of haven where the field is completely surrounded by a wild canopy of trees, making it all the more beautiful on golden afternoons. Walkers, joggers, sportspeople and the elderly make use of the field in the mornings and evenings for their own benefit. “The stadium is a lovely place in the evenings. I go walking there despite living outside of the IIT campus. Even though I am retired, I had worked there from 1969 to 2000, and I can’t seem to let go of the campus”, says 80 year old M. Rajendran, an IIT retiree.
Hostels: Their 15 hostels are all named after Rivers. IIT hosts accomodation for all the students who wish to live in the hostels. There are many recreational activities available from sports to literary and social activities that take place in the hostels during the academic year. A few rooms are used for common facilities such as the library, computer room, and indoor sports etc. A washing machine (Laundromat) is available in every hostel for use by the residents. Students can find leisure in the evenings or on holidays and spend time in the common room which is equipped with a T.V, a music system, newspapers and magazines. One half of the common room houses a table tennis (TT) board as well. Most hostels have a music room which has a high-quality stereo music system and a variety of cassettes to offer to the music lovers out there.
With many more jubilees to celebrate, IIT will always remain one of Madras’s treasures and a home to the different species of wildlife that one can spot on a simple drive through the roads of the forest....