Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden home is now her memorial

Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence is now her memorial

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Credit: PTI Photo

'Veda Nilayam', the iconic bungalow where former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa lived for nearly five decades, was on Thursday inaugurated as a memorial for the late AIADMK supremo. However, the sprawling mansion will not be thrown open to the public immediately due to a Madras High Court order restraining the government from doing so. 

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami inaugurated the memorial house in the presence of his deputy O Panneerselvam, their cabinet colleagues, and senior leaders from the ruling AIADMK. This is the second show of strength by EPS-OPS duo in as many days as they fight to claim the political legacy of late Jayalalithaa.

The inauguration ceremony took place as per the direction of the Madras High Court, which allowed the function but restrained the government from opening up the place for the public on a petition filed by J Deepa, and J Deepak, the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa. The sister-brother duo had moved the High Court challenging the government's acquisition of the bungalow. 

On Wednesday, the day V K Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's shadow, was set free by Parappana Agrahara prison authorities after she completed her four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets (DA) case, the Chief Minister and his deputy threw open a memorial built for their late leader at her resting place on the Marina Beach in Chennai. 

Also read — Sasikala walks free after 4 years in Bengaluru jail

Sasikala was staying at the Poes Garden bungalow of Jayalalithaa till the morning of February 15, 2017, when she began her journey to Bengaluru to serve her prison term. Knowing well she can no longer claim the bungalow, Sasikala is building a brand-new residence for her just opposite to 'Veda Nilayam'.

The sprawling mansion in upscale Poes Garden was where Jayalalithaa resided for nearly 50 years after her mother, Sandhya, bought the bungalow in the late 1960s. A trip to Poes Garden residence was nothing short of a pilgrimage to lakhs of AIADMK cadre when Jayalalithaa, who nurtured the party founded by her mentor M G Ramachandran, was alive. 

Also read — CM Palaniswami unveils Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina Beach in Tamil Nadu

After her death in 2016, the Tamil Nadu government had in 2017 announced that the Poes Garden bungalow will be converted into a memorial for Jayalalithaa. 

The bungalow, whose value is nearly Rs 100 crore as on date, was purchased by Jayalalithaa’s mother Sandhya for a mere Rs 1.32 lakh in 1967. Sandhya bought the front portion of the mansion in the 1960s, but Jayalalithaa expanded the bungalow by acquiring near-by properties. 

For Jayalalithaa, the Poes Garden residence was more than a home. A voracious reader, Jayalalithaa had set up a library that had nearly 8,000 books overlooking her bedroom on the first floor. These books will now be on display.