• The more than 250-year-old heritage building (fort), which houses a modern police station at Vilakkuthoon, is facing the threat of the bulldozer.
  • The fort, historians believe, could have been built during the brief Maratha rule in Madurai from 1740 to 1743 (or even earlier) going by the plaque on its right compound wall that reads Cutwal's Choultry (kotwal chavadi) Police Main Guard.
  • The modern police station is nearly 100 years old and came into existence on July 9, 1912. However, colonial records say the choultry was functioning as a police main guard since 1850.
  • Sahitya Akademi Award winner and novelist Su.Venkatesan told that the Kotwal Chavadi (Cutwal Choultry) police station at Vilakkuthoon (Light Tower) could be the first police station in the southern part of the State covering the stretch south of Tiruchi to Kanyakumari.
  • His book ‘Kaaval Kottam' talks a lot about the local police system and policing methods in pre-colonial times, until these were replaced by colonial institutions.
  • Stating that Kotwal Chavadi was functioning both as a police station and tax collection point during the 1850s, he said that in fact East Masi Street functioned as the heart of the colonial administration during those times, the district collectorate and courts were functioning from the Mahal.
  • Incidentally, the East Gate church was also built during 1843 and completed in 1845.
  • Conservationists say Madurai is the only city in Tamil Nadu to become a member of the UNESCO-supported Indian Heritage Cities Network. There is a plan to conserve the urban heritage of the city. UNESCO has prepared a heritage tool kit for various local bodies to use while implementing JNNURM projects. Members of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) say attempts to demolish heritage sites in the name of modernisation need to be stopped.