Friday 3 October 2014

Heritage Rides for Madras Week Celebration 2014 (Part-2)

Madras Day Heritage Ride on ECR (Sunday, 24th August 2014)

If Lords is for cricket, Madhya Kailash is for cycling such is the popularity of this place that over the years its become a norm for many cyclist to start their long distance rides from this point. Not minding the early morning start at 5.00 am, cyclist began to gather here for a ride which was to celebrate the 375th birthday of our city. As the clock ticked 5.00 around 60 + Cyclist began to pedal towards the ECR Road eagerly looking forward to know a bit of its history and legends. 
Marundeeswarer Temple 
East Coast Road (ECR) was known as the Vadugaperuvazhi(Vadakku Peruvazhi) the big way to the North. Besides providing connectivity between the Kaveri delta and the northern regions especially Andhra and being of particular value to the Cholas, the road facilitated trade with other countries primarily with those of South East Asia. Our first brief halt on ECR was the entrance of Sri Marundeeswarer Temple (Tiruvanmiyur) here in this temple inscriptions can be found in the shrine of Tripurasundari Amman (Godess Parvati). These date back to the 11 century during the period of Rajendra Chola. A commentary on Thiruvanmiyur by Saiva Saint Thirugnanasambandar suggest that it must have been a thriving region even in the 7th Century(circa). Sage Valmiki Temple found here is perhaps the only one in India. Getting on to the saddle our next stop was at VGP Golden Beach for a water break soon we reached Covelong (Kovalam) it was a port  of the Nawabs of the Carnatic.  The Nawab built the ancient port of Covelong. In the year 1746 Covelong was taken over by the troops of the French  and in 1752 destroyed by English under Clive. The Dutch built a fort in Covelong during the colonial times, which today has been made the Taj Fisherman Cove , a private luxury beach resort. It  also has an ancient Siva temple named Kailasanather Temple which perhaps dates to 13th Century and the famous Dargah of Sufi Saint  Tamim al Ansari.
Kovalam Dargah
He is considered as one of the Sahaba (Companions of Prophet Muhammed) after a group picture at Kovalam Dargah the next destination was at the u turn point and it was the ancient Vishnu temple at Thiruvidanthai named  Sri Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple in this temple many of the Chola inscriptions are seen on the base of the north wall in the central shrine. It has an inscription dated 11th Century which talks about a merchant from Kondungallur in Malai Nadu (Kerala) making a gift to the temple and insisting that proceeds from it feed and support some Brahmins.   There is also an inscription of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III dated 959 A.D.  This place was sung by Vaishnava Saint Tirumangai Alvar. After a very short interaction and a group picture we now set out for long ride towards Madras Square at Neelangarai, in the history of the ECR this place Neelangarai was also referred to as Neelagangaraiyan. This was the name of a chieftain named Neelagangaraiyan during Chola times, he made many donations to
Madras Square
around Chennai. Having pedaled for the an hour we now reach our final destination Madras Square (Cafe- Art Gallery), here a sumptuous breakfast coupled with an nostalgic talk by veteran cyclist Mr. Jahiram Janakiraman on Cycling in the city of Madras between the years 1970 - 1990 awaited us. As time just kept ticking the entire morning now appeared like a mirage having packed itself with loads of memories, if I was there to celebrate 350th Birthday Celebrations during my Loyola College days and now for 375th Birthday as a Cyclist, providence willing one can never rule out the 400th Birthday bash ... Three Cheers to Madras.   

To view the video click on this link:

Tiruvidanthai Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple