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Bhakti with a difference

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ANCIENT The simple yet gorgeous Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar Temple.
ANCIENT The simple yet gorgeous Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar Temple.

Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar Temple is laced with political history

True to its tag `The Athens of the East', practically every nook and corner of the Temple City hides a slice of history. Like the one, right on the West and North Masi Streets junction, the Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar Temple. It assumes significance because of its strategic location and also earned the reputation of being one of the most preferred and popular venues for political parties. Top political leaders have been addressing gatherings in front of this temple for more than ten decades now.

Origin

The temple was found some 120 years ago by the residents of Nadar lane also known as West Perumal Maistry Street and Makkan Thoppu. Since then, the temple is being maintained by a committee comprising residents of the streets, says 83-year-old M. Nallathambi, managing trustee. It sounds incongruous to read the name of the temple. Why Nehru? Yes. It is named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who paid a visit to the temple. "Perhaps `Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar Temple' could be the place of worship, where Nehru, the rationalist, has `offered prayers.' To honour his visit the tag `Nehru' was added to the temple's name," recalls Mr. Nallathambi.

List of visitors

The list of visitors to this place does not end with Nehru. The other illustrious national leaders who have visited the temple include Subhash Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi, says Thalapathi Mariappan, one of the trustees and area councillor. In the later years, the venue became a hotspot for political leaders who organised public meetings for sentimental reasons. From former Chief Ministers M.G.Ramachnadran and Jayalalithaa to present Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, all have addressed crowds at this junction. Even the latest entrant to politics, Vijayakanth has participated in a public meeting at the venue.

Main venue

In those days, be it a public meeting or a demonstration or street corner meeting, the junction was the venue for everything. Now the venue is being used for street-corner meetings alone. But, permission is granted for party leaders to organise meetings, Mr. Mariappan says and adds that the location has a more sentimental linkage to people.

Next best choice

Though people suffer from hurried syndrome, people never forget to part a salute to this God as they believe that any new venture that starts at the temple venue would be a great success, says Mr. Mariappan. Next to Thilagar Thidal, the junction is main choice for many to organise meetings especially to arrest the attention of the public on the move, says A. Navaneetha Krishnan, a resident of the area. S.S. KAVITHA

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