M&SM Railway building by the Wadia Family of Porbandar.

The PALATIAL M&SM Railway building – now known as the Southern Railway Headquarters building was built of Porbandar stone by the Wadia  Family of Porbandar. 


As Madras celebrates its 375th anniversary, I wish to draw your attention to the connection Porbandar  and the Parsi community has with the city of  Madras.


The M&SM Railway building – now known as the Southern Railway Headquarters building was built of Porbandar stone by the Wadia family of Porbandar.  


Mr. Manchershaw Wadia who bid for the contract to build this edifice and together with his brothers executed the project. I have a photo of the Porbandar building stone being tested in Madras for its tensile strength.

Following are the details 


  1. H. Wadia Bros, founded by Hormusji Hirjibhoy Wadia, were the pioneers in quarrying Porbandar stone and later played an important role in popularising its use in many parts of the country. When this small, unknown firm bid for the contract to construct the M&SM Railway building in faraway Madras (presently the Southern Railway Headquarters,  at Madras) they must have surely faced an uphill task. 


How they bagged the contract and successfully completed it, as also just escaped bankruptcy due to the innate fair-play of the British are tales by themselves.


Hormusji, the natural leader, and younger brother Manchershaw, a competent builder and meticulous organiser, camped in Madras for almost a decade from 1913 to 1922. They took along their team of skilled masons from Porbandar under the leadership of master mason Pitambar Hira.


The foundation stone was laid by Lord Pentland, Governor of Madras on 8th February, 1915, and the offices were formally inaugurated on 11th December,1922 by Lady Willingdon, wife of the  Viceroy. The majestic edifice is constructed with Porbandar stone which was transported for 8 years via sea to Kerala and then by rail to Madras. The building stands as a living tribute to the entrepreneurial traits of  the INDUSTRIOUS PARSIS OF THE PAST WHO WERE DEVOUT PARSIS AND PRACTICED OUR RELIGION AS PER THE LAWS OF OUR RELIGION .


[Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai]
Southern Railway HQ.jpg

Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai
alt           alt                 enlarge photo
Hormusji Wadia     Manchershaw Wadia     Southern Railway Headquarters





Courtesy : Hushang Vakil


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