Sunday 30 August 2015

Cooum River Heritage Ride - 16th August 2015 (Madras Day Heritage Ride)

The Cooum River Heritage Ride organised by the Cycling Yogis as a part of Madras Week Celebrations 2015 was held on Sunday, 16th August. The Ride stated from CISF Guest House, Port of Chennai (where the Cooum river mearges with the sea) a peloton of 79 cyclist began their ride in the wee hours of the morning (5.15 am) and pedaled all the way to its origin near Kesavaram via Poonamalle High Road, Tirumazhisai, Tiruvallur, and Mappedu to reach the final destination Koovam Village (Distance:72km) by 11.00 am. Soon after which there was a brief interactive session followed by visit to important places notable being Sivapuram Sivan Temple and Kesavaram. In the return direction shuttle service was arranged (transportation of the riders and cycles by vehicles). Medal Distribution Ceremony and Bufffet Lunch was organised for all the participants at Sathyam Grand Resorts, Sriperumbudur. Earlier a special 25 pages booklet on Cooum History in form of snippets was launched by Historian. S.Muthiah on 14th August at KRM Public School, Perambur. Both men and women from various age groups participated in the ride. Going by the feedback  the ride brought forward camaraderie and spirit of Madras Week Celebrations, most importantly the memories the participants took back to cherish. 
Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters.

CISF Guest House
Sivapuram Temple

Sathyam Grand

Kesavaram Dam

Sathyam Grand 

Cooum River Heritage Ride Snippets 

# 1 Be it the famous Bodyguard Muneeswaran Temple or the numerous religious places dotted on the banks of the Cooum River the list goes long but few which could find mention are ... Mount Road Dargha of Sufi Saint Hazrath Syed Moosa Sha Quadri (RA) who hailed from Persia (Baghdad Shareef) and lived here during the middle of 17th Century. The ZION CHURCH, Chindadripet which is probably the only Church in Chennai to be started by Americans in 1847, the first Indian female English novelist Krupabhai Satthianadhan is also said to be associated with this Church. Lastly the Sivapuram Temple near the Koovam Village built during the reign of King Rajaraja Chola (985-1014) where an inscription mentioning about a canal being dug from the Cooum Lake to the temple can be found. The River throws interesting insights into many facets of people's daily lives, for now religion being one such. Look out for something new in the weeks and days ahead. Till then Happy Cycling. 
# 2 Weather conditions form an integral part of cycle rides many of us peep into the daily weather forecast before venturing out early in the morning on a ride. The Madras Observatory presently in the Regional Meteorological Centre , Nungambakkam is perhaps the oldest observatory in the country, founded by the British East India Company in 1792 for over a century it was the only astronomical observatory in India that exclusively worked on the stars eventhough hourly weather forcast was made available from 1840's by 1899 it had been relegated to gathering weather-related data. The 15-foot tall granite pillar weighing 10 tonnes, which carried the original transit equipment is still preserved in the RMC Campus. (Picture of Madras Observatory from its archives, the orginal 15 feet tall pillar and ever memorable Ramanan)
# 3 Pictorial story on Higginbothams the oldest bookstore in India
# 4 He would bathe in the Cooum River twice a day before venturing to worship the deity at Komaleeswaranpet Temple. Perhaps he was the first Indian to bequeath a will. It was none other than Pachaiyappa Mudaliyar (1754-1794) a renowned philanthropist, dubash and merchant who made a great fortune during his younger days and resided in Pagoda Street later Harris Road. As a tribute to his life and times a commerative stamp was released in 2010.
# 5 First plane in Asia took of from the middle of the Cooum River @ Island Grounds.  Giacomo D'Angelis of Corsica founded the premier hotel of his times Hotel D'Angelis near to the present Anna Statue (Mount Road).It wasn't until the Wright Brothers that Madras witnessed it's first exhibition of flight. Giacomo D'Angelis inspired by the Bleriot's cross Channel flight and determined to get Madras to aviation in March 1910 piloted the made in Madras aeroplane using the Island Grounds as the Airstrip.
# 6 India's first steam Car was made on the banks of Cooum River. 
In 1903, Samuel John Green of Simpson & Co, Madras, built India’s first steam car and caused a sensation on the roads of the city. The Madras Mail hailed its appearance as the beginning of “a new industry for Madras.” Thanks to Cooum - Cultural Mapping (Picture : Model of a steam Car)
# 7 The Oldest Lending Library in the South was the Madras Literary Society  Established in 1812 by the Asiatic Society of Madras, in 1905 it moved to the present location in DPI Campus from the Connemara Library. Famous members included Subhas Chandra Bose, Annie Beasant and Dr.S.Radhakrishnanan. Legends abound of British Officers rowing down the Cooum River to enter the Library through its current back entrance 'River Gate'
# 8 The only World War-1 engagement that took place in India
This happened in Madras and importantly at the mouth of the Cooum River, parts of the Madras Harbour, the Royal Madras Yacht Club and wall near Madras High Court were bombed by SMS Emden on the night of 22nd September 1914.
# 9 Battle at Takkolam 
Last in the series of snippets, this battle took place on the plains of Cooum River and Kosasthiliyar in 949 AD. The battle was between Rajaditya son of Chola King Parantaka 1 and a confederacy of Western Gangas, Banas and Vaidumbas led by Rashatrakuta King Krishna the Third at Takkolam. The battle resulted in the defeat of Cholas and death of Rajaditya. 

Thanks to Cooum Cultural Mapping 

This article was published in Madras Musings September 2015

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