Tuskers Take over the Town

Elephant sculptures

Elephant sculptures put up at Elliott’s Beach, one of the venues of Chennai Sangamam – Namma Oru Thiruvizha is drawing a lot of selfie seekers. The installation seems to be made of cane or some sort of reed. the thiruvizha is to promote Tamil traditional arts and culture.

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The Journey of the Coloured Kola Maavu

Mylapore Festival Kolam Rangoli Competition

The kolam with white ‘kola maavu’ is a common and welcome sign in front of most Tamil Nadu homes. Come Marghazhi (Dec-Jan) and Pongal the kolam takes many hues with many coloured powders much like the Rangoli of North India. I have often wondered where the colour powder comes from. My guess was somewhere in North India or even China.

On a recent trip to Tiruvannamalai I discovered the source of these coloured powders.

In a village on the highway near Tindivanam the roadside is lined with several people selling sack full of coloured powder. My curiosity was piqued by the concentration of single product around a village.  What was the unique strength?  On my return journey the driver parked at this village for me to explore.

There were several sellers – primarily old women and young girls. Some men too. My question to them was why is there such a concentration here? What is their speciality? Is it some raw material available only here or is some special skill or formula handed down? The women were not forthcoming with the answers, either because of their limited knowledge or my limited communication skills or their reluctance to share with a stranger.

The little information I got was scanty and sometimes conflicting.

“The material comes from Salem”

“The sand here is good for this”

“We get materials from many places”

“Special skills of our people”

I also spied a 25-kg sack labelled “Coated Ground Calcium Carbonate. Made in Viet Nam”

There were also some domestic grinders to grind the base (sand?) and mix the colours. The ground material was being spread on a mat to cool or dry.

They sell the powder @ Rs 20 per measure (padi?). “In the city, it sells for Rs 50”, added my driver and another customer.

The activity is confined to the weeks preceding Pongal. At other times the families go back to ‘iron business” which could mean trading in iron vessels or metal scrap according to my “interpreter”.

In any case, I came away with respect for this resilient and industrious community and will remember them whenever I see a coloured kolam or Rangoli as above.

Happy Pongal greetings in advance.

Kolam Competition

Soaking in the local culture

The Mylapore Festival returned after a gap of 2 years. Again the Kolam contest was the highlight. As expected, it was a visual delight and naturally a favourite with the photographers. As usual, there was a sprinkling of foreign tourists. They not only witnessed but also took part in and had some fun as seen in the picture. In effect, they soaked in the local culture.

From the Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival.

Three Generations

Three generations of devotees

Taken at the Manavala Maamunivar Utsavam of Sri Parthasarathy Temple, Thiruvallikkeni, Chennai.

Three generations of Vaishnavites await the Lord returning from the Peyalwar Sannidhi accompanied by 18 ceremonial umbrellas.

From The Chennai Photowalk #151

Fireworks

Diwali fireworks

In spite of high prices, governmental restrictions, and pollution shaming, Chennai kept its appointment with fireworks on Diwali night.

This is a view from my terrace.

Chennai-upon-Cooum

Spiral Staircase

Staircase

The Tamil Nadu Police Museum. The old heritage building of the Police Commissioner in Egmore has been tastefully restored and converted into a police museum. A laudable initiative. The curator and staff were very enthusiastic and took us around and explained the various exhibits and the background.

From the Chennai Photowalk #150

Drive Through Devotion

Devotion

This devout man stopped his ride to chant and do a namaskaram to Sri Dandeeswarar on his way to work. A common practice.

Dandeeswarar temple in Velachery is over 10 centuries old. It is believed to have been established during the Pallava period and expanded during the Chola reign.

Faces of Nanganallur 7

High court officer

Seeing a large number of camera-wielding men and women, this gentleman stopped his scooter and chatted with us. He introduced himself as Mr Ramesh, an officer in the High Court. When I mentioned the building in which he was working he was rightly proud of its history and heritage. He added that in case we want to visit and photograph the High Court building we must approach the Registrar General. However, he was not confident about permission being granted.

The Chennai Photowalk #145 Streets of Nanganallur

Sony A 6400 with Sigma 30mm F1.4, DC DN

f/1.4, SS 1/1000, ISO 100

The Oldest Bookstore

Higginbothams

Higginbothams – one of the oldest bookstores in Asia. The iconic structure has been well maintained by the owners – The Amalgamations Group.

Shot during The Chennai Photowalk on 12th June 2022

Sony ILCE 6400, E 18-135mm F 3.5-5.6 OSS at 18 mm

f/6.3, S.S 1/125, ISO 320

Cropped to get rid of an ugly modern structure on the left.

Royapuram

Pin code 600013 welcomes you.

A post box opposite the historic Royapuram Railway station.

Snail mailbox competing with broadband cable.

Taken during Chennai Photowalk Retrowalk #77

Sony A ILCE-6400 , Sony E 18-135 F3.5-5.6 OSS at 38mm.

Manual setting f/6.3, 1/100, ISO 320