Phenomenalindia is a new project by Marco Saroldi about the incredible variety of surrealistic stories you can find in this country. Every week we will publish one of his works.


Finding the fossilized vertebrae of a whale inside the Royal Palace of Thanjavur was a surprise and a mystery for everyone. 

The palace was built between the 17th and 18th centuries, and the city is 60 kilometres from the Bay of Bengal. Which makes it impossible to think there was a massive flood that brought the sea to Thanjavur, much less a whale. And how an animal of that size could have passed through the palace doors is another unanswered question.

We, therefore, deduced that the whale in question comes from the Eocene (40 million years ago), a time when the Indian peninsula was still half-submerged and detached from the continent. As the ocean shrunk, the whale remained in situ. The architects who had grown to love the massive mammal so much (they named it Clarence) didn’t feel like removing it and instead decided to build the palace around it.

However, we have our doubts and are in no way sure of our hypothesis. Anyone with clarifying information on the matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

© Marco Saroldi