Chandanapuri is home to over 400 households, mostly retired staff of Devasthanam

Nestled peacefully on a hilltop, life at Chandanapuri Colony appears to be unswerving. With most of the residents being retired employees of the Simhachalam Devasthanam, the ‘T’ shaped neighbourhood beams with a life of its own.

In 1978, there were hardly any houses in the 16.45 acre layout. A society called Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Employees’ Cooperative House Building Society was formed and land was sold at a reasonable price to the staff of the devasthanam. “The place, approved by the VUDA, was originally known as Palli Narayanapuram. Some of the original residents like us continued to reside here after 1985 while others disposed the property and moved out,” says N. Jagannadham, one of the oldest residents.

Traditional houses

More than 400 households live in the colony, which has a decent share of apartment blocks and independent houses. Many houses exude an old world charm with red oxide and cement floors. The architecture of the independent houses impresses one with their traditional appeal.

What makes the place lively is the number of shops that have cropped up on one side of the main road of Prahaladapuram junction, leading to the neighbourhood.

From bakery to small eating joints, schools to grocery shops, readymade showrooms to medical stores, the place has it all. A row of thatched houses on the other side of the main road is home to several autorickshaw drivers, domestic workers, washermen, and a host of other workers. “Two decades ago, the colony used to have a single shop catering to our domestic needs. Today, with every store accessible in our vicinity, we don’t really have to commute much to meet our daily requirements,” says U. Vijaya Lakshmi, a resident.

With a majority of the residents being retired employees and a few of them still serving in various departments of the devasthanam, the place paints a picture of the past.

Elderly women keep themselves busy with their household chores and retired men meet at the local library reminiscing the past and debating over current affairs. Unlike other colonies, youngsters say that they miss the fast-paced life in the neighbourhood.

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