Monday 28 December 2020

North Chennai Bicycle Trails Book Launch

Saturday, 22nd August 2020

The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods. Fifth in the series of our Publications was the North Chennai Bicycle Trails Book. Sandwiched between the rich past and rapid development in the recent times, North Chennai is a city within itself, be it the social history, remaining heritage, street food or local music. These and much more make this region unique from the other parts of Chennai. For a better understanding of Madras City and its people, a visit to North Chennai is mandatory.

The Book is an attempt to map the remaining relics, natural and built heritage, and review the recent past of this region. It envisages to clear general misconceptions on North Chennai and highlight its historical and strategic significance. Seeing is believing. Being a melting pot of diverse communities, North Chennai still has a vibrant culture thriving on local traditions which are showcased in the form of lifestyle, food, music and festivities. Alongside the region also faces some noticeable concerns from the ecological perspective.

While every attempt has been made to document the layers of history, work on the book which commenced in May 2019 through weekend explorations was cut short in March 2020 due to nationwide lockdown courtesy Covid-19. As providence will have it, majority of the places in the 20 Trails were covered before the lockdown was put in place. Hence we decided to go ahead with the publication of the book.

The book was published on 22nd August 2020 as part of Madras Week Celebration. Due to the Covid 19 situation it was an online affair. The Book was released online by Sriram V, a reputed historian of Chennai, while the first copy was received by Ennarasu Karunesan, Former CEO Adani Ports at Probikers OMR the venue for the book launch. 

Historian Sriram V releasing the Book

Book Launch @ Probikers OMR

Featured in 'The Hindu Metroplus'

Saturday 29 February 2020

Navagraha Temples Cycling Tour - Kumbakonam

8th Republic Day Heritage Ride - Kumbakonam
24th, 25th & 26th January 2020

The 8th edition of Republic Day  Ride was organised between 24th - 26th January 2020 covering all the Navagraha Temples (around temple town of Kumbakonam). This cycling exploration which is the first of its kind making the route a green circuit was conceptualized and formulated by Cycling Yogis, 40+ partakers from Chennai and other parts of TN brusquely participated in the marvel encompassing 54 kms on Day 1 traveling across Alangudi Guru Bhagavan and Thirunageswaram Raghu Sthalam which was ensued by Day 2 covering 115 kms which comprised Suryanar Koil, Kanchanur Sukran  Temple, Vaitheeswaran Koil (Sevvai Bhagavan), Thiruvengadu Budhan,  Keezha Perum Pallam Kethu Sthalam and Thirunallur Sanishwarar. Day 3 was our love towards cycling to the Moon (Thingalur Chandra Bhagavan) and back which covered solid 70+ kms. With Swach Bharath Pledge and Medal Distribution Ceremony at Airavateswarer Temple, Darasuram (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the riders bid adieu to gods and headed back home to redissolve into buzzing life looking forward to next Cycling Yogis tour !!

(Content Courtesy : Sai Harish,
Photo:BMS Photography & Madhan Sundar)

Start Point - DSR Madhanam Inn, Kumbakonam

Flag Off by Kumbakonam Municipal Commissioner
Riders of to Navagraha Temples

Finish Point & Medal Cermony
Airavateswarer Temple, Darasuram

TOI - Trichy dated 4th February 2020

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Kathivakkam Clock Tower Rediscovered

In this era of smart phones and tech gadgets, the Stand Alone Clock Towers seem to have lost their relevance and become mere things of the past barring some small towns in Tamil Nadu where they still find patronage. Called in Tamil as "Mani Koondu" they once performed the role of a wrist watch and became an essential part of peoples lives. Thus these structures became vital around which institutions, markets and bus stands began to mushroom.

While the concept of these Clock Tower date back to pre Industrial revolution period in the Western World. Little information is available about their history in Chennai, it is said that our city once had fourteen such structures, but today all that remains are those at Mint Street, Doveton (Vepery), Pattalam, Tondiarpet and Royapettah. The Thiruvanmiyur Clock Tower was the latest to join in the recent years, not to mention the imposing Thiruvottiyur Clock Tower that perished in last decade.

Even as it was thought that only six Clock Towers presently exist in Chennai, the Kathivakkam - Ennore Stand Alone Clock Tower jumped on to the bandwagon in the recent weeks thereby increasing the total to seven, similar to the Thiruvanmiyur structure this Clock Tower was almost hidden from the public view all these years covered partially by the trees and the building. The Clock Tower was inaugurated by then Chief Minister of Madras Shri. M. Bhaktavatsalam on 29-01-1967 fortunately the inauguration plaque has survived, while the clock on the tower is not functional, the structure seems to weakening due to growth of vegitation on one side even though it is not critical.

This blog was featured in 'The Hindu'Downtown dated 29th December 2019