Location : Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Vivekananda Illam was originally called as the Ice House positioned in Chennai, India. This place is popular in the remembrance of Swami Vivekananda, who stayed nine days over here when he visited this place in 1897. Hence it is also called as Vivekananda House. At present, the Vivekananda Illam is a permanent exhibition on the Swami Vivekananda and is set up by Ramakrishna Math, the Chennai branch.
Chennai was formerly called as Madras and is the largest city in Tamil Nadu, located on the southeastern part of India. During the 20th century, the city became one of the important headquarter as the Madras Presidency. The expansion and growth of the British Empire had contributed lot in the development of the city. The city is endowed with magnificent heritage of Culture and art. This is the reason why Chennai is called as the “Gateway to South India”.
The Vivekananda Illam structure was specifically built so that it has controlled of melting ice for longer time. In 1963, Chennai government bought these structures and thus renamed as in the name of Vivekananda Illam.
Frederic Tudor, the Ice King built Ice House in Madras as part of business and is faced to the Bay of Bengal. In the early 1880, the company got collapsed and was purchased by Biligiri Iyengar. Later, he again remodeled the building, renamed as “Castel Kernan” plus he used it as residential purposes as well. While returning from west, Swami Vivekananda was called by Iynegar, as he was a great disciple and thus asked him to stay in the building. He stayed there from 6th February, 1987 to 14th February, 1987, where he delivered some of his best lectures. His lectures were widely appreciated and as a result Iyengar requested to set up the Ice House as permanent center in his memory. A Zamindar further purchased this building and thus mission activities were stop in 1906. During 1917 era, the Ice House was purchased by Madras government as the part of social welfare in which various activities such as staying facilities for widows and women training school were functioned.
Current Vivekananda Illam :
At present, the Ice House is called as Vivekananda Illam from the Tamil Nadu government. On 20th December, 1999 the exhibition that took place was applauded very much. Besides exhibitions, today the government of Tamil Nadu conducts various other activities such as youth meetings, yoga classes and mediation classes in the Vivekananda Illam.