Thondai Naadu Articles

எங்கே போகிறோம்? (Weekly article by Mythili Chandrasekaran - Sketch courtesy Mrs. Nithya Balaji )

எங்கே போகிறோம்?அது நான் சிறுமியாய் இருந்த நாட்கள்.1960களில் தற்போதைய சென்னை எனப்படும் மதராஸ், கான்க்ரீட் ஜங்கிள் எனப் பெயர் பெறாத காலம். புது மாம்பலம் ( தியாகராய நகர் ) பகுதியில்,...

Rare exhibits(Weekly Article by Historian Pradeep Chakravarthy)

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY A collection of unusual musical instruments vies for attention with the philately, numismatics, zoology and botany galleries. (This is the fifth and last article on the five-part series on the Government Museum, Chennai.) As part of the anthropology section, the Government Museum, Chennai, has several artefacts of South Indian tribes including the Todas, Chenchus, Lambadis and Gonds. The artefacts include garments, jewellery and weapons. A collection of rare musical...

Where creativity thrives

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY One of the oldest institutions in the city, the Government College of Arts and Crafts is a treasure trove of books on art. It was founded in 1850 by Dr. Alexander Hunter, an eminent surgeon in the British military service, as a private institution and was called the Madras School of Arts. Hunter had a commercial motive as well — of selling artistic wares. By 1852, the Government had acquired the college and moved it from Popham’s Broadway to its present...

MADRAS, land of the LORDS

August marks the founding of Madras and is therefore an excellent opportunity to survey the temples of Madras. Although Madras was the creation of the British with Fort St. George at its centre, the individual villages it slowly subsumed have ancient histories and temples. The temples of Madras can be classified into three categories – ancient, Colonial and later additions. Temples in Mylapore, Tiruvallikeni (that has our city’s oldest inscription from the 9th century),...

Era of the opera

In ancient Tamil Nadu, dance, music and drama were closely intertwined and it is not always easy to separate these three art forms. Ancient Tamil literature mentions nadagam and koothu. Many of these references are from texts in the third and fourth centuries. In the Perumkathai, a work of the eighth century, there is a reference to the entry of the ‘Koil Nadaga Kuzhu' or the drama troupes of the temple. Inscriptions related to theatre and plays are rare in temples. The few there are...

About life in towns and villages

(This column attempts at unravelling fascinating facts on the art and architecture of India and this week’s article throws light on the village life.) With the teaching of history being grudgingly tolerated, it is a pipe dream for us to expect local history to be taught in schools. Yet, thanks to inscriptions, the medieval life of several towns and villages can be reconstructed to a large degree. With the use of literature references, it becomes even more colourful and absorbing. Some...

Heritage tours get a regional flavour

Heritage tours to sites like Madurai, Thanjavur, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and other smaller ancient citadels, complete with curated experiences, have become popular in the city, as many people are keen to rediscover their roots.    During his journey in search of authentic south Indian recipes, Rakesh Raghunathan, a culinary researcher who documents food traditions, realised that people wanted a rustic experience. “When I was going through small towns in search of recipes, I...

Of music and Hindu history, carved in stone

If you are to participate in author and epigraphist Pradeep Chakravarthy’s heritage walks, then you have to be accompanied by a schoolgoing child. On Sunday morning there was only one child among the group of enthusiasts at the Marundeeswarar temple where he sung Tirugnanasambandar’s padigams in soothing Hindolam and Mukhari. And the youngster persisted with numerous questions about the various stone carvings on the pillars. The early start to the day didn’t seem to bother...

Land of the blazing sun

Thiruvekha – Little Kanchi The four forms of earth are chewed and spat out by the fiery sun This dry desert is the last we need to cross dearest girl! Vekha is beyond, where even the celestials worship Krishna And beyond that Tirutankal amidst a shaded grove Be patient dearest for our long journey draws to a close (Tiruvirutta 26) So saying the Vaishnavite Saint Nammazhwar mentions Vekha. The metaphor of the sun chewing and spitting out the land had always fascinated me and I...