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.

Which is the Main Entrance?

Eastern Entrance to Kapali Temple

Have you thought about this? The ‘main’ entrance through the Eastern Rajagopuram is not the ‘front’ entrance to Kapali temple? It is actually the back entrance!

The Lord faces West and the Dwajastambahm is also on the West. So the entrance from the West facing the tank is the front of the temple. The Eastern Gopuram is tall and there is Ganapathy at that entrance. This makes us assume that this is the front.

This was highlighted by Dr Chitra Madhavan in her talk about the 3 temples of Mylapore on Sunday, 8th January as part of the Mylapore Festival 2023.

This is something which we see but never think of.

Western Entrance

Gajalakshmi

Gajalakshmi

A stucco bas releif of Gajalakshmi on an old building in Mannady, Chennai. Wonder how long this old building can withstand the onslaught of development!

The two cherubs with wings (angles?) look rather unusual in an Indian design. Or do they?

Art Gallery

A viewer enjoying the exhibits at the art gallery. Cholmandalam Artists Village on ECR, Chennai.

Feeding the Birds

Pigeons

Some philanthropists feed the pigeons daily at the Marina and Elliot’s beaches. The quantity of grain fed every day runs into hundreds of kilograms.

It is always a pleasure to watch the flock of birds take off together and land again for no particular reason after a quiet meal. This also gives a great photo opportunity. Even if you have hundreds of such pictures, every frame is different. One such frame from a recent visit to Elliot’s beach. The famous Schmidt Memorial is hidden behind the flock.

Sony ILCE-6400 with Sigma 30mm F 1.4 DC DN

f/1.4, S.S 1/1600, ISO 640

Processed on LR

Milk by the Metre

Tea shop

A common sight in tea shops in South India (maybe, elsewhere too).

The Chennai Photowalk #146 From 10th Century to present day Velachery

Multiple Connections to the Divine

Connecting to the divine

This photographer seems to have multiple ways of reaching the divine – ladder, lens, hose and a rope!

From the Chennai Photowalk #146 Velachery

Another Perspective

Vertical Perspective

Another perspective of the longest mural featuring AIDS-affected persons on the wall of Indira Nagar MRTS station.

The Street is My Studio

Street Studio

A common sight. Aspiring models and photographers use the painted walls of Indira Nagar MRTS station walls as a backdrop for their shoots.