Friday 1 December 2017

Heritage Site Cleanup @ Fort St.George - 2017

On Sunday, 19th November 2017 the fourth year edition of Heritage Site Cleanup as a part of World Heritage Week Celebration was organized by Cycling Yogis at Fort St George. Around 100 heritage enthusiasts including cyclists cleaned up the Wallajah Gate and its environs coming under ASI Chennai Circle during the occasion. Participants included members from DP WORLD- Chennai Container Terminal, students and staff from Ethiraj College HTT Dept,  Anna Nagar Social History Group and cyclist's from diverse cycling groups in Chennai. The Cleanup up was inaugurated by ASI Chennai Circle Dy Engineer Mr.Sarathy, after the Cleanup students were taken on a tour of the sprawling fort. At the end of the programme Swachh Bharat Pledge was taken by all the participants. The Cleanup organized by Cycling Yogi is a run up towards the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebration of Mahatma Gandhi to held across the nation in 2019-2020. 

Participants at Wallajah Gate

Deccan Chronicle dt 20th November 2017.

Friday 1 September 2017

Madras Day Heritage Ride 2017 - Adyar River

Sunday, 20th August 2017 

To celebrate 378th Founding Day of the city, the 6th year edition of Madras Day Heritage Ride was organised on this occasion to Manimangalam (Adyar River) on Sunday, 20th August 2017. The river begins its journey at Manimangalam and thereabouts and it merges with Bay of Bengal after forming an estuary and creek that are rich in flora and fauna at Adyar. On its banks are located some of the Oldest Educational Institutions in the country, Oldest Race Course, National Park, Historic Churches, Ancient Temples, International Headquarters, Battle Fields and Residences of great luminaries.
Ride Highlights: 
The 6th year edition of Madras Day Heritage Ride - Adyar River on Sunday, 20th August 2017 saw 71 Cyclists including 18 Support Staff/ Volunteers converge at Manimangalam Dharmeswarer Temple (the region and its thereabouts considered to be the starting point of the historic Adyar River) the ride starting at 5.00am from Santhome Inn consisted of route chosen to follow the river at its maximum. At Manimangalam (U Turn Point) of the ride a brief interactive session about the river and a sumptuous breakfast was arranged. Participants took part in the Swachh Bharat Pledge followed by Medal distribution, ASI Chennai Circle CA Mr. Saravanan gave away the Medal/Badges to the cyclists after which was the return leg of the ride to Start Point. The event would not have been a success without fellow riders, sponsors and volunteers including the support staff. 

Group Picture @ Manimangalam Dharmeswarer Temple 

Media Coverage

DTNEXT dt 22nd August 

Deccan Chronicle dt 22nd August 

Review by Madras Musings 

Madras Musings 

Thursday 31 August 2017

"Madras by Cycle" 40 Cycling Trails in and around Chennai - Booklet Release

After publishing "Cycling in Madras" Booklet in 2016, it was the occasion for release of "Madras by Cycle" Booklet covering 40 Cycling Trails in and around the city with QR Codes containing GPS Coordinates. The booklet is an attempt towards cultural mapping of cycling trails and an amalgamation of information about built and natural heritage found in the city and its thereabouts. The booklet was released on Saturday, 5th August 2017 by Ms. Saraswathi Rajamani, Inteligence Service, INA (Indian National Army) and the first copy was received by Dr. Sylendra Babu IPS, ADGP & Inspector General of Prisons, Mr.Sharath Nambiar COO - Dakshinachitra collected the second copy of the booklet followed by the other guests. The Booklet launch was held in Madras Literary Society (MLS) Nungambakkam one of the oldest existing libraries in India.

"Madras by Cycle" Booklet Release by Ms.Saraswathi Rajamani INA 

Review of the Booklet

New Indian Express - 30th July 2017

The Hindu MetroPlus - 7th August 2017

Deccan Chronicle - 11th August 2017

Sunday 30 April 2017

World Heritage Day Ride to Ancient Tamil's Art Gallery - 2017

Ancient Tamil's Art Gallery @ International Institute of Tamil Studies 
Sunday, 16th April 2017

Covering an area of 14,500 sq ft the Ancient Tamil's Art Gallery consists of world class infrastructure including five exhibition Halls and state of art Mini Theatre, abundant resources and years of research from Tamil Literature have gone it making this Art Gallery. The uniqueness of Tamil Civilization considered as one among the oldest existing civilizations has been exceptionally brought forward at this centre thereby necessitating a visit during the World Heritage Day Ride. 

On Sunday 16th April 2017 a pelaton consisting of 75 Cyclists started off the 5th edition of World Heritage Day Ride on this occasion to Ancient Tamil Art Gallery from Probikers OMR at 5.00am in the morning and cycled up to SIPCOT Siruseri before making an U Turn and returning to reach Ancient Tamil's Art Gallery, Taramani and thereby making it a 50km Ride. At the finish point riders along with our guests and invitees were treated to Folk Dance performance by artists including students from Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, after which Breakfast was served the participants were taken on a tour of the art gallery which included screening of film on Ancient Tamil Lifestyle, Water Management, Medicine and Warfare. 
Screening of film on Ancient Tamil Lifestyle 
After a short medal distribution cermony the event ended at 10.30 am with the highlight of the day being the Folk Dances performances by artists from Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. Men and women from different age groups participated in the Ride. The event would have certainly created a mindset to assimilate our past glories and created an awareness about the ideals of ICOMOS which declared 18th April as World Heritage Day and need for celebration across the globe on this day.

Participants of World Heritage Day Ride 2017

Deccan Chronicle

Folk Dance Performance by Artists from Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram

Monday 20 February 2017

Republic Day Heritage Ride to Chandragiri Fort (AP) 2017

A Ride in search of Madras Connection

To commemorate the 68th Republic Day an heritage ride was organised to Chandragiri Fort (AP) on Sunday, 22nd January 2017. Located 16 km from the famous Hindu pilgrimage centre Tirupathi and under the ASI, Amaravati Circle the well secured fort with typical bastions, pierced with gateways was erected originally by Immadi Narasinga Yadava Raya (1000 AD). The Fort gained importance with the rise of Saluva Dynasty of the Vijayanagara Kings, the shifting of the capital from Hampi to Chandragiri in 1565 brought it to the limelight. The Fort was sufficiently strengthened by Venkata Pati Deva Raya of the Arividu Dynasty. In the later years Chandragiri Fort came under Sultan of Golkonda and the Mysore Kings. The FIRMAN granting the site of FORT ST.GEORGE in Madras to the British East India company was signed here at the Chandragiri Fort on 22nd August 1639 thus paving way for the founding of Madras.

On the D- Day, Sunday 22nd January 2017
The Ride was flagged off at 5.00am from Santhome Inn located at Santhome High Road by Mrs.Teena Charles wife of deceased cyclist Charles Pradeep Kumar, a pelaton consisting of 70 Cyclists including men and women cycled via Moolakadai, Red Hills, Janappanchatram, Periyapalayam (Breakfast at CAAD Academy), Uthukottai, Nagalapuram, Puttur and reached Tirupati Youth Hostel (Tirupati) by 2.00pm. Buffet Lunch and other important requirements for the riders after a strenuous ride was arranged at Tirupati Youth Hostel. After break at 4.30pm the ride to Chandragiri Fort started as a single big pelaton/group with all the riders following the pilot vehicle. The Ride came to an end at Chandragiri Fort where a series of programmes were awaiting, the ASI Amaravati Circle Govt of India under Mr.Anil Kumar Dy Superintendent welcomed all the Cyclists and Support Team. After a brief introduction about the heritage of Chandragiri Fort there was a Medal Ceremony followed by SWACHH BHARAT PLEDGE. Return journey by vehicles were arranged the same day evening. All the participants and their cycles arrived at Chennai by 10.30 pm. It should be mentioned that without the support of Sponsors and Supporters organizing this ride would have been a mirage. Thanks a ton to all who made this ride a remarkable success. 

Group Picture at Chandragiri Fort

Newspaper Clippings 
Deccan Chronicle 

Sakshi Telugu Newspaper 

New Indian Express 

Media Coverage 

DD Sapthagiri 

Sunday 1 January 2017

The Forgotten Tiruvanmiyur Stand alone Clock Tower

Stand alone Clock Towers have always been considered as a landmark wherever they existed, mostly ascribed in the regional language as Mani Koondu many of the commercial establishments and other institutions were situated around them, even in this age of smart phones the centrally located mofussil bus stand near to these structures with the surrounding market is something unique to our region.The Stand alone Clock Towers in Madras seems to have an unique architecture and modelled on the lines of European ideals which existed there in 18th & 19th Centuries. Of the existing Clock Towers in Chennai the Mint Clock Tower seems to have been popular and the ones in Pattalam and Royapettah have similar design in the bottom half, while Doveton can be considered the smallest that in Tondiarpet seems to be the tallest, other than these one can also come across a miniature Clock tower located in WCC Campus at Nungambakkam . If time keepers of the city P.Orr & Sons still maintain the Royapettah Clock Tower, Gani & Sons have provided clocks to the city administration between 1940-1960's articles in newspapers which now and then appear when these Clock Towers were renovated by the Corporation of Chennai bring forward information which otherwise is scarce. 

The Tiruvanmiyur Stand alone Clock Tower which is besides the present day bus stop for mofussil buses on ECR Road and just opposite to the market seems to have been in existence since early 1960's and I have been a witness to it ever since my childhood days (ie:) mid 1970's. Being a landmark those were days when many Horse Carriage (Jatkas) would stand lined up near the Clock Tower awaiting to pick and drop people residing in RTO, Kottivakkam and far flung areas. Any old time resident would vouch the area being surrounded with green groves, scattered ponds and direct view of the sea from the roadside. Thus it is no wonder that the scenic road also having historical significance was called "Vadakku Peruvazhi" (Great way North) during the Chola Period.

The present day status of this Clock Tower long hidden by the tree branches and surrounding shops looks disheartening and grave, the structure seems to be weak and only experts can determine its fate as all the approaches to the Clock Tower seems to be cut off, if like minded people, institutions, others organisation and the local authorities join hands together this landmark structure can be restored and brought back to life. Similarly to that of Schmidt Memorial in Besant Nagar Beach and thereby adding another identity to the temple town of Tiruvanmiyur. Trust a day will dawn when our city's sixth Stand alone Clock Tower ticks.

The Six Stand alone Clock Towers in Chennai 

My article in The Hindu Downtown dt 23-12-2016

The Hindu Downtown 

Times of India dt 27-12- 2016

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