Sights, Buildings and Thoughts in Mylapore....

November 16, 2009

Very long post, read only if you have some leisure.

I do love my country, which often has its flag represented in unique ways:

india flag star 131109 myl

And I like walking through its cities.

Each city in India is quite distinct from the other; not for us the bland homogeneity of a skyscraper downtown and sprawling suburbs…I find Indian cities totally fascinating.

Like all Indian cities, the architecture in Chennai is an often astonishing mixture of old and new idioms, which are radically different from each other. It’s fascinating to watch…and there are also the this-es, the thats, and the others as I walk. I decided to take my MLC for a walk, too…and we went together, through a few roads in

Mylapore (town of the peacock), now called Thirumylai or the place of the divine peacock

Here's the "Kutchery Road" sign...this was named, I think, after some ancient courts (kacheri) that used to be there, and not after Carnatic music concerts: catchery road sign 131109 Vegetable sellers do brisk business as the shops open by 6 am: veg sales r h rd 131109 The newspaper vendors gather together to sort out the papers (and add those hundreds of paper leaflets advertising everything from educational courses to weight loss gyms) newspaper vendors 131109 luz Turning into this ancient road is the stuff of...well...romance, even for a tailor! romance tailor myl 131109 This orphanage operates out of an old dilapidated building, which yet has lovely trees: ashraya illam orphanage K rod myl This shwEthAmber ("clothed in white") Jain temple is itself clothed in white, and follows the typical Jain temple architecture idiom: jain temple katcheri rd 131109 "Crude" or "country" "drugs"....that is, "nAttu marunthu" in Tamizh...medicinal herbs and roots, sometimes very esoteric, have been sold this in this shop for at least forty years to my certain knowledge, because I have gone there as a young girl with my aunt to buy soapnut seeds for washing my (then very long and luxuriant) hair... 131109 dubba chetty shop In fact, "dabba chetty kadai" (shop) has become a kind of generic term now, to mean such a herbs-and-roots shop! There are some old gems of facades, like this lovely monkey top: old monkey top 131109 k rd myl This one seems to be for distressed and working ladies (perhaps it comes to one and the same thing? :D ) ashraya distressed and working ladies The architecture of the Mylapore Police Station is also not bland: myl p s catcheri road I caught this picture of the old idiom and the new style, cheek-by-jowl: old and new architecture myl 131109 I turn into Santhome High Road, now called Kamarajan Salai (kAmarAjar sAlai) kamarajar salai santhome high rd and at the junction is the "dreaming spire" of the beautiful Santhome Cathedral Basilica : santhome basilinca Here's the nave, with the stained glass behind it: nave in santhome church 131109 here are the pews, with the congregation: pews in santhome church In Mylapore, I find this contractor doing very good work, cleaning the garbage: neel metal fanalca garbage The quality of life for the urban poor,however, remains very's a cycle-rickshaw (a very eco-friendly method of local transport which we ought to re-introduce to our cities!)-plying family....that baby is as pure and innocent beloved ...and as the One lying in the manger in the nave of the Basilica. baby on footpath 131109 Near, and at, of the junction of Kamarajar Salai and Dr. Radhakrishnan Road (earlier, Edward Elliotts Road) are the Madras Lighthouse (yes, I have been to the top!), and the very beautiful heritage buildings of the Inspector-General of Police, respectively: lighthouse and police bldg marina 131109 The I.G's Office (as it is called) building was saved from demolition by concerned conservationists, proof that sometimes citizens' wishes do prevail. I G office 171109 In the compound of the building, police constable exercise in the early morning: police exercise marina Queen Mary's College is another magnificient campus at that junction; the buildings are in a sad state of decay,'s one of them,you can see the solidity of the structure: 131109 old bldg queen mary's I then turn into Dr. Radhakrishnan Road, and find the Mylapore Fire Staion: mylapore fire stn 131109 And a little later, the pavement is blocked by a roadside temple; the architecture is generic: pavement temple 131109 In another nondescript building, this woman practices her oral hygiene... brushing her teeth 131109 Further down lies the weird Greco-Roman mishmash of the City Centre I G office 171109 with gryphons on the roof are part of the mishmash griffon on city centre rkrd 131109 I wonder why they didn't think of adding yALi instead? Oftentimes, the exterior walls of a building bear political posters, with sycophantic praise of this or that politician: a href="" target="_blank">waill politics 131109</a> The building of the Kalyani Hospital (yes, I've been treated by a very crochety old Dr E V Kalyani myself!) still has lovely tiles: kalyani hospital 131109 The architecture gets glassy: tafe bldg 131109 And weird: arihant nitco bldg rkrd 131109 But some of the gracious old bungalows, hidden behind the shady trees, remain: 171109 old house rk road After this, I turn into Venkatachala Mudali St (VM St.) and see the old Young Men's Indian Association (YMIA) building gate : YMIA myl 131109 ...then I turn back into P S Sivasami Salai (earlier, Sullivan Garden Road) .... where a plaque on the wall announces the opening of a "roadside park" by our Chief Minister, and all I can see is the trash can... sAlai Ora poongA! myl 131109 watch women carrying headloads as a matter of routine... 131109 myl headloads See that in spite of everything, there are plenty of Neem Trees neem tree myl and gardens which still have jasmine (this variety is called nithya malli in Tamizh) on their gates, scenting the air: nitya malli 131109 myl </lj-cut text> Think about the beauty of seeing a small temple, that's traditionally built under a spreading young Peepal Tree temple under peepal tree 131109 ...and make my way home.... Some more on Mylapore the walk without photographs Mylapore Tank New Year in Nageshwara Rao Park Chennai vignettes Mylapore Tank And if you STILL have patience for more, here !