Interesting aspects about old Madras and the people were the highlights of the talks and programmes organised as part of the ‘Madras Week' celebrations on Wednesday.

Many youngsters of SaReGaa Children's Choir learnt songs composed on ancient Tamil literature that referred to the localities of Madras. Triplicane and Mylapore are mentioned in verses written by Thirumangai Alwar and Thirugnanasambandar.

Heritage enthusiast Pradeep Chakravarthy, who conducted the programme, said the verses reveal that Madras had several waterbodies and greenery. Children were sensitised to the need for environmental conservation mentioned in the songs.

In another talk, he spoke on the life in city as mentioned in inscriptions of temples.

The inscriptions depict the daily life in Madras when the existing areas in Chennai were only villages.

They provide information on localities such as Ambattur, Chetpet, Nungambakkam, Manali and Koyambedu.

‘Vadagaperuvazhi', a route used during the Chola period, still exists as East Coast Road, he said.

Children of Railway Bala Bhavan Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Perambur, went on a heritage walk along the Marina from War Memorial to Light House. Students also took part in oratorical and poster competitions on Madras.

Archaeologist Chithra Madhavan spoke on lesser known ancient temples in the city at a programme in Anna Nagar.

She said Virupakshishwarar temple in Mylapore and Vengishwarar temple in Kodambakkam belonged to the Chola regime.

The main shrine in the Kodambakkam temple is in the shape of a horse shoe, which is similar to that found in Nakula Sahadeva ratha in Mamallapuram. “We are losing out on such marvels while renovating temples. Steps must be taken to preserve inscriptions,” she added.

Some talks also focussed on the people, including Gujaratis and Anglo-Indians, who contributed to the growth of the city.

Karthik Bhatt profiled 20 prominent Gujaratis who settled here for several generations and made a mark in various fields such as education, social service and trade.

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