Cities » Chennai

Sriram V.

Musical steps in the 1940s

The 1930s and ’40s were turbulent and exciting times for women in the classical arts. The old Devadasi system was on the wane, wit...»

A portrait of the past

The Empress Victoria Memorial Hall as it was originally named, became the National Art Gallery, displaying some of the country’s best painti »

Searching for Aal Thottam

Used in a song for a movie, the ‘thottam’ refers to what was once Hall’s Garden »

Ill-fated castle

Brodie’s Castle, along the Adyar, is said to have brought ill luck on several of its residents »

Tale of the Connemara

An intriguing drama took place at the Government House where the new Secretariat, now a multi-specialty hospital, stands »

Immortality via activism

Sidhalu Street in the Choolai area commemorates Gazulu Sidloo Chetty a man in the business of indigo, dye and cloth in the 1830s. ...»

Doorway to Mohammedan Mylapore

Mylapore’s history is inexhaustible and every day, something new comes up. My latest discovery has to do with Devadi Street, a small thor...»

Victims of a peaceful river

A boating tragedy in 1866 led to the death of two men and two women in Adyar River »

Atop a hill, a historic temple

Last week, I went in the company of friends to the hill temple of Tiruneermalai just off Chromepet. It is one of the historic shrines aro...»

Knowing more on Dr. Muthu

One of the great joys in writing this column is the volume of replies, rejoinders and recriminations that come about. Of greater h...»

A home of law

Sriram V captures a large chunk of Madras’ legal history, all connected with Vasantha Vilas! »

The story of a sanatorium

Dr. Chowry-Muthu started the Tambaram Sanatorium in April 1928 »

Recent colony has old story

Kesavaperumal Puram is an upmarket housing development in south Chennai. One end of it is along the Buckingham Canal and standing on its...»

A village called Nungambakkam

Nungambakkam features repeatedly in East India records under different names »

Pongal circa 1800, seen through French eyes

Of Pongul, as he spelled it, Abbe J.A. Dubois said it was an occasion of great rejoicing »

How Florence Nightingale got Madras its drains

While Calcutta and Bombay got their drains by the late 1860s, there was no sign of them here »

A road straddling two religions

In an inspired moment, the street in Alwarpet was named after two giants of the legal field, K. Bhashyam Iyengar and Basheer Ahmed Sayeed »

The Tiger’s tale

Varadachariar spoke about Colletpet, in a 1940 radio talk, where the Kalyana Varadarajaswami temple was a cultural hub. »

Concerts in a cowshed

Sabhas From 1887 onwards, the nascent venues for Carnatic music, provided a floor for legends to perform. »

A musical note to dust in the air

A garbage bin stood guard over what had once been a home to music »

Where Ariyakkudi sang for idlis

Artists from all over South considered it an honour to perform for PSS. »

From one man’s home to many children’s school

Known as Palm Grove, it was the residence of L.A. Govindaraghava Aiyar, who practised law »

A good home and a better doctor

Dr. K.N. Kesari, an Ayurvedic physician, had a passion for building houses »

Of Mrs. Napier and Mr. Elliot

Mrs. Napier chose to abandon the matrimony of 17 years to seek happiness with Mr. Elliot »

A man who dreamt big, lived bigger

Given that the landscape of Chennai symbolises the success stories of several entrepreneurs who dreamt big, I wonder why we keep reading...»

Mark Twain’s pit stop in city

The author spent only a few hours here in transit while on a voyage from Calcutta to Colombo »

Madras’ pushy First Lady

When Lady Willingdon arrived in 1919, the city got a taste of her energy »

Of diamonds and dazzling business

Among the many wonderful characters that I keep running into as I journey backwards in time into the history of Madras, that of Catherine...»

Grave matters at Presidency

The graves belonged to members of the erstwhile ruling family of Arcot »

Behind the statue

It has been standing for 173 years, watching over the changing topography of Madras that is Chennai. It is the oldest statue standing in...»

Lost and found: the good doctor’s tomb

Those concerned with heritage matters will agree that it is a rather depressing interest to have. News invariably centres on demolishing...»

The mystery of a missing tombstone

“The tombstone of Edward Bulkley, a physician in the service of the British East India Company, is situated opposite to the Madras Medic...»

The first Sabha of Madras

One of the earliest attempt to make Britishers appreciate Carnatic music was initiated by Gayan Samaj. »

What I learnt from the heritage walks

The creative presentation of our past is perhaps the only way to kindle an interest in history »

A part in discovery of God’s particle

One of the earliest exponents of the theory was born here »

Upliftment through dance

The works of two foreign artistes helped fight the stigma against devadasis and paved the way for Bharatanatyam »

The muse did not disappoint Thackeray, Maugham

The city contributed to 19th century English literature in a big way »

A city with a sonata and a symphony

French composer Maurice Delage and American pianist Dr Henry Cowell created musical pieces dedicated to Madras »

Mulligatawny, Madras Mulls and curry powder

From Madras pancakes to kidney toast à la Madras, the region’s contribution to international cuisine is legendary »

A Beatle from Madras, almost

Think Chennai and Carnatic is, perhaps, the only variety of music that comes to mind. But Chennai is also the birthplace of two personali...»

Origins of the father of computer science

Alan Turing had a strong Madras connect through his parents »

Flashback of a glorious past

Who would have thought that the first cathedral for celluloid in the South was but a humble tent kottai in Tiruchi? From a home-si...»

When cloth maketh a city

Chennai was not founded for spices or gold, but cloth. In fact, an array of fabric was procured from here and sent to locations such as Bant »

One small meal for children, one giant leap for literacy

HIDDEN HISTORIESThe idea of the noon meal scheme, now implemented across the country as the National Programme for Nutrition Support »

The jet-setting Maharani from Alwarpet

Maharajah Surya Rao and Maharani Chinnamma Roads are two innocuous streets in Alwarpet commemorating the Rajah of Pithapuram and his wife...»

The origins of a temple

The temple forms a square, on three sides of which is the agraharam, marking the residential area »

A relic from World War II

The air-raid shelter in Royapuram along with several others was never put to real use »

Garbage woes over the century

One complaint, above all, would be the civic indiscipline practised by the people themselves »

A century of sisterhood and social reform

Subbalakshmi, widowed at the age of twelve, resolved to be a sister to all widows and made that word a prefix to her name »

Ice, made in Madras

The International Ice Company was established in Madras in 1874 but nothing much is known about it, beyond the fact that it killed the Ameri »

Activism, 19th century style

Records refer to him as a ‘congenital fighter’ and this is amply borne out by the battles he fought on behalf of Madras and its vast Pres...»

A journey from the past

Much of the western side of Mount Road then comprised paddy fields submerged under water »

In LIC Building’s shadow

The LIC Building on Anna Salai remains a landmark despite several new high-rises coming up. To heritage enthusiasts however, the colonia...»

Gujaratis gave us this temple

The temple comprises a small set of shrines and is remarkably clean — a hallmark of the Gujarati way of life »

A maharajah stands tall

A statue was installed in honour of Chitra Tirunal, in Chennai, for enabling temple access to all Hindus »

Kolkata collection, Chennai link

A collection of photographs recently found in Edinburgh includes 4 of Madras in 1914 »

The Great Wall of Chennai

Paul Benfield and his boss John Call most probably drew up the specifications for the wall »

The story of Ariya Gowda

Ari Gowder was President of the Backward Classes League and leaned towards the Justice Party »

Journey from Surajmal's to Saravana's

Some of the best-known names in Carnatic music came to this building, including M.S. Subbulakshmi »

The father of Fort Museum

Fort Museum is one of the most charming places in our city. On this site originally stood the house of Peter Massey Cassin, a free mercha...»

Memorial to a vaccinator

At the intersection of Langs Garden and Harris (now Adithanar) Roads, stands a small green pillar. In the middle of the structure is a m...»

The ballad of Arubathu Moovar

Guzili Pattu is the name given to a type of song by which news was disseminated in Madras city during the late 19th and early 20th centu...»

Hundred years of a statue in Chennai

First Indian judge of High Court got this honour »

Hundred years of a statue

Statues are dime a dozen in our city, today, but a 100 years ago, the idea of statues for Indians was unusual and indeed, a matter of de...»

Whither this National Library?

With the Anna Centenary Library just opened in Kotturpuram, what is planned for the Presidency's/ Province's/State's premier library...»

Now, ‘Namma Arcot Road'

When the postman knocked...* I' m once again doing that rare thing of starting this column with what the postman and...»

A centurion still around

I knew there'd be some member from the old days of the Lady Willingdon Ladies' Recreation Club who'd have the answers to several of the...»

Walk on the heritage side

Chennai-ites often whiz past landmarks without sparing much thought for their historical value. Bishwanath Ghosh talks to a group of women t »

Madras Week programmes today

The following programmes will be organised in the city on Wednesday as part of ‘Madras Week'. At the Department of Indian Music...»

Madras miscellany

A search for Maths roots I wonder how many of my readers have heard of the Analytic Club. My attention to it was...»

Mint Street, music and memories

Once a cultural nerve centre, today, music seems to have long departed the longest street in Chennai »

Mint Street, music and memories

Once a cultural nerve centre, today music seems to have long departed »

Awesome threesome

Till the 1970s, only three establishments were a part of the December Music Season – The Music Academy, the Indian Fine Arts Society (IF...»

Unique Season

During its 85 years, the Season has not received any kind of government support, though those in power have at times lent private help. A...»

Defying the odds

In 1931, thanks to the Music Academy banning his seven-stringed violin, T. Chowdiah conducted a violin festival at the Gokhale Hall. In 1...»

Reflection of Season economics

Though almost all Sabhas claim one of their objectives to be the construction of an auditorium, very few actually see it materialise. Th...»

A century of lec-dems

This year marks the centenary of lecture sessions on Carnatic music in the modern sense. The first of these was held in 1912 in Thanjavu...»

Ph.D Bhagavatar

The first doctorate (for really writing a thesis that is) in Carnatic music was Harikesanallur L Muthiah Bhagavatar. This was awarded in...»

A Carnatic coronation centenary

Artistes based out of George Town responded with great zeal »

Of women and awards

While it is known that the Music Academy honoured women with the Sangita Kalanidhi from 1968 (first recipient M.S. Subbulakshmi),...»

Tongue twisting titles

The titles these days are nothing compared to those of a couple of centuries ago. Kunrakkudi Krishna Iyer of the 19th century was referr...»

Papanasam Sivan's legacy

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Papanasam Sivan's first visit to Madras. Ten years later he was to become a permanent resident. <...»

Numbers matter

Given all the hoopla about the Season, a study on how many people it actually caters to would be interesting. Assuming that the top 20 S...»

Math sets an example

When Swami Vivekananda returned from his US trip in 1897, he was given a tumultuous welcome in this city. After all, the citizens of Madr...»

Chasing the Cooum: It doesn't stink all the way up

K. Lakshmi travels to the origin of what was once known as the Thames of South India but now enters Chennai as a sewage carrier. First of a »

How charity in stone turns into a shrine

It would be an interesting study to see if the donations still vest in the temples; if so, whether their incomes are being put to the use th »

Not all is lost in Kalas Mahal fire

The Hindu has accessed rare prints and drawings depicting the layout of the heritage building, which should help the PWD in restoring the st »

When Madras opposed the Budget

Trevelyan's fountain has vanished,” said my informant, “gone to make way for Metro Rail.” It was late at night but I drove down to Victor...»

Lost & found: A police commissioner's office

All that the police photographers remember about the old building they are lodged in, is something they have heard over the years: "poli...»

Theatre in memory of a thespian

Those who go through the LLA Buildings on Mount Road in order to access the British Council Library at the rear rarely pause to look at...»

The House of Love

Victoria Hostel Road is not a very frequented thoroughfare, except when cricket matches are played at the Chepauk stadium. The road runs...»

Power Shutdown

Power supply will be suspended in the following areas on Saturday From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.Alawarthirunagar: Rajaji St, Indira St, Vanchinathan St, Chidambaranar St, C.V. Koil St,... »

ChennaiConnect Newsfeed

Craving French baguettes and fresh loaves of focaccia? Head to Old Madras Baking Company »






Recent Article in Chennai

Power Shutdown

Power supply will be suspended in the following areas on Saturday From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.Alawarthirunagar: Rajaji St,... »