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Once upon a time in Thyagaraya Nagar…


Rambling in West Mambalam (5) … with Janaki Venkataraman

Temples and a theatre – in a place with heart and soul

West Mambalam residents are a temple-visiting lot. There are scores of temples in the area but three are of some antiquity. The Kashi Vishwa-nathar temple is said to have been built by Nayak Kings in the 17th Century. On the stone -ceilings of the temple you can see the fish emblems, the signature of the Nayak dynasty. The temple stands on land that was once covered by vilva trees. The lingam is swayambu (found, not made) and it is said Shiva -appeared in the dream of the Nayak king and ordered him to build the temple.

Abutting one wall of the temple is the Mambalam wing of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. There is a shrine for the Goddess Kamakshi here and a lot of poojas and homam-s are performed every day. Sanskrit scholars meet here to discuss the Vedas. On a more secular level, there is provision for collecting and exchanging community-wise horoscopes to arrange weddings. Perhaps the most interesting part of the Mutt is the Goshala (cow shelter)in the backyard. At least a 100 cows reside here, mostly donated as calves by various devotees. The cow sheds have also been donated by philanthropists and the cows are obviously well looked after. On the day I visited it, it was Dwadasi, the twelfth day of the lunar fortnight, and visitors were feeding the cows bundles of agathi keerai. The cows here don’t grab the food, they take a casual, almost elegant, mouthful, and chew thoughtfully. If you are born a cow in Chennai this is probably a good place to be. Mambalam, in fact, has a number of Hindu religious mutts including the Sringeri Mutt, off Arya Gowda Road, and the Raghavendra Mutt that is -actually off Gopathi Narayana-swami Chetti Road, close to Panagal Park.


The Kothanda Ramar Tem-ple, just a stone’s throw away from the Kashi Vishwa-natha temple, is said to be at least 150 years old and is peaceful and well-maintained. So also is the Adi Kesava Perumal Temple on Govindan Street. Perhaps the most unusual of West Mam-balam temples is the Kali Bari in Umapathy Extension Street. -Inaugurated in 1981 by the Bengali community in Chennai, the small temple is a miniature of the Kalighat Temple in Kolkata. Around the temple have grown various welfare activities like free medical camps, professional training courses for women, volunteering for relief work during natural calamities, and poor feeding. The Kali Bari’s Puja celebration is huge and attracts devotees from all over Chennai. The annada-nam during Puja has a huge fan following for its sheer variety and taste.

Read more at: http://www.madrasmusings.com/vol-26-no-22/rambling-in-west-mambalam-5-with-janaki-venkataraman/


I love T. NAGAR

Much of Chennai's charm comes from T. Nagar, its shopping capital. Most things can be bought without having to go on a long search. For me, everything worth buying is just a short walk away. Connectivity through public transport is another plus. I enjoy the buzz that accompanying the festive season. I might not celebrate all the festivals. But by living here, I get to witness the excitement generated by all of them. Also, the area is home to many good schools and parks. Another important factor is that the rentals are also less when compared to other areas. I have lived in Ashok Nagar (closer to T. Nagar) since 1994. After my wedding, I moved into an apartment in Mahalingapuram and I could not have been happier.

Read more at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-downtown/i-love-t-nagar/article4748231.ece


Smart makeover: Pedestrian Plaza at Chennai's T Nagar inaugurated


Pondy Bazaar road sports a new look after it was relaid ahead of pedestrian plaza’s inauguration | P Jawahar

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami opened the project executed under the Smart City mission at a cost of Rs 39.86 crore.

CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami opened the pedestrian plaza, under smart city mission, in T Nagar on Wednesday.Flanked by cabinet colleagues, including Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani, he checked various features of the pedestrian plaza- a 700-m stretch at Pondy Bazaar built at a cost of Rs 39.86 crore. He also opened the 23 streets, including Kannadasan street, Raman street and Ramanujam street, redesigned at a cost of Rs 19.11 crore in Kodambakkam zone.

With Greater Chennai Corporation officials, including Commissioner G Prakash and Deputy Commissioner (Works) M Govinda Rao, CM, in a battery-operated car, witnessed several shows organised as part of the inauguration. The shows included a laser show, firework display, hip hop and puppetry. The stretch was lit up in the evening and a few hundred people lined up to get a glimpse.

Read more at: https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/nov/14/smart-makeover-pedestrian-plaza-at-chennais-t-nagar-inaugurated-2061452.html


Wide pavements, Live music,Glittering Lights welcome Chennaiites As Pedestrian Plaza Open: Focus now on Maintenance.

City gets right of way and a plaza it can call its own

CHENNAI: The trees glittered with serial lights. The hawkers with their wares had disappeared from the pavement that was now double in width. The road looked like an endless slab of slate that had been wiped clean. As chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami left the newly-inaugurated pedestrian plaza, shop owners and their families, evening walkers, shoppers and residents from the neighbourhood poured out on Pondy Bazaar to savour the change.

Read more at:


An iconic school in West Mambalam



A landmark institution in West Mambalam is the Ahobila Mutt Oriental Higher Secondary School that started functioning in 1953 at Kothandaramar Koil Street. This was a dream project of N. Srinivasachari who had been a teacher par excellence and had retired as Headmaster of Ramakrishna Mission High School (North Branch).

N.Srininivaschariar was the adopted son of Sri Vasudevachariar, popularly known as Maharishi Vasudevachariar, founder of the Ramakrishna Mission High School (Main), the one opposite Panagal Park, T’Nagar (started in 1932) and various other educational institutions in the T’Nagar area. Srinivasachariar joined the Ramakrishna Mission High School soon after it started and later taught English with great proficiency. When the North Branch of the High School started functioning at Bazullah Road, T’Nagar, he took over as Headmaster of the School.

During his stint as English teacher at the Main School and, subsequently as Headmaster of North Branch, he was responsible in moulding the careers of several students who later went in to occupy high positions in life. The list is long but I mention just a few. Former Indian Army Chief Sundarji, B.S. Raghavan I.A.S, (former Chief Secretary, Tripura, and Director, Political and Security Policy Planning, Union Home Ministry, and Secretary, National Integration Council), Narayan Vaghul, former Chairman of ICICI Bank, R. Rajamani I.A.S, who served as Jt. Secretary in the Secretariat of three Prime Ministers, Krishnamoorthy Santhanam, former Chief of DRDL, and M.R. Sivaraman I.A.S. former Chairman, Board of Revenue, Government of India.

Read more at: http://www.madrasmusings.com/vol-27-no-24/an-iconic-school-in-west-mambalam/

Courtesy: madrasmusings.com


Once upon a time in Thyagaraya Nagar…
By R. Keerthana

History depicts a peaceful and modern T. Nagar — a planned town and a sought after residential locality. One can hardly imagine a Ranganathan Street as agraharam or absorb the fact that T.Nagar's land value was as low as Rs. 500 per ground.


Ironically, the article shapes up at a time, when the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Services Limited and international consultants are charting out T. Nagar re-development plans. In fact, Thyagaraya Nagar was the first ‘planned' town in Chennai.