Once considered the gateway to Chennai, Poonjeri is where the names of the ancient sculptors and architects, who carved the monuments in Mamallapuram and were among the greatest artists of their times, are inscribed on rocks in the Granta script. The government’s widening of East Coast Road poses a grave threat to ancient inscriptions in Poonjeri just a few kilometres south of the Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) heritage site.
The newly-expanded road is now perilously close to the rocks bearing the inscriptions. Heritage activists who inspected the site said that they want the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take care of the site. If they don’t do it, more expansion work in the future may destroy the rocks.
The state highways department were not aware of the heritage value of the rocks in Poonjeri and assured that they will do whatever they could to protect the site.
The rock is locally called `Nondi Veerappan Thotti’.These inscriptions mention names of architects and sculptors, who created the Mahabalipuram monuments. These include Kevatha Perunthachan, Lalithangkuran, Ravi Perunthachan and Paiyamizaippaan.