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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XXI No. 19, January 15-31, 2012
In the Fort & outside...
... with Vincent D'Souza

Vincent D'Souza leading the Fort Walk.

Highs & lows of Fort walks

Heritage Walks receive great attention in this city, more so during Madras Week when most walks are specially designed for the occasion.

Sriram V. makes it a point not to repeat his Walks and is into his 70-plus Walk this season. I choose to focus on the Fort. Fort St George.

This place is a delight, especially when you walk around it on Sundays. More so if you do this before 9 a.m.

The security at the main gate can put you off. Till last weekend (August 26th) I had not found out the simplest method to get a formal OK for walks early in the mornings. The police secure the State Assembly and CM's office and may not be too keen about what we do elsewhere. When Dr. Karunanidhi was the CM he used to drop in even on Sundays and, so, the police had to be alert always.

They still are and, so, last Sunday (26th) when 28 people had assembled for the Walk, I was still negotiating with an Inspector beneath the massive flagstaff at the Fort. Thankfully, all the buzz and media coverage of Madras Week have created a great deal of awareness of this celebration and the Public Department of the State Government warmly okayed the Walk.

Yet, with over 35 people mailing us to say they would be joining me, I had to close the sign-ins.

More so when a group of 40 Architecture students mailed us, asking to join us.

I hope to run another Fort Walk soon.

This is the place that we want to be recognised as a World Heritage Site.

* * *

Schools present City's old houses

The annual Multimedia Project on Heritage for Schools is here to stay and we want to keep at it. Because many students seem to take a deep interest in it.

In the past years, we have been focussing on less known landmarks of the city as the contest's theme. This year we chose to focus on Old Houses.

Though fewer schools registered, all of them – from St. Kevin's in Royapuram and St. Columban's in George Town to PSBB in T'Nagar and Bala Vidya Mandir in Adyar – had very interesting presentations to make at the Srinivasa Sastri Hall, Luz.

We are pleased that SINA (the South India National Assn.) which manages the hall gave it to us rent-free to host this event. This is a cosy hall that needs some maintenance, but it is just the setting for such a contest. Madhana Ratnavel, urban planner who is also Chair at The Environment Group at CII's Young Indians station, was one of the judges. Having just completed a Green Houses project for schools here, she enjoyed sitting through the Madras Week event and we hope to join hands with her to take this beyond being just an event. I particularly loved the effort taken by the Jawahar Vidyalaya team from Ashok Nagar which spent time to locate a simple street, tiled house in Ekkaduthangal and found the simple families there welcoming them. I think the students had a great experience working on this project and there is more to be done. The PSBB School at T.P. Road, T'Nagar team (Niveditha Bharathy, Anvita Ramachandran and R. Ram Mohan) won the rolling trophy for standing first. Their project was a row house on an agraharam street in Chintadripet. The second place went to Chettinad Vidyashram (S. Eshwar, S. Vishwesh and Jayanth Deshmukh) who studied a magnificent house on Coral Merchant Street in George Town, once the hub of millionaires.

Bala Vidya Mandir (K.P. Tejaswini, B. Kavya and Taruna Sudhakar) won the third prize for studying a palatial bungalow in T'Nagar. L&T supported the event and the trophies.

* * *

Adyar of the 1960s in pictures

The banks of the Adyar were like a picture shot in rural Tamil Nadu.

The bungalows built in Gandhi Nagar copied the art deco style and defined the lifestyle of residents there.

The members of the Gandhi Nagar (Ladies) Women's Club may have had only a thatched roof but they looked a happy community. As did the children who studied at the founding avatar of Besant Theosophical High School.

And Kalakshetra Colony was just a sandy casuarina thope.

All this and more of Adyar of the 1950s and 60s were to be seen at a unique photo exhibition that was up at Spaces, at the far north end of Elliot's Beach, Besant Nagar. Titled 'Adyar Social History Project in Photos', it was part of the annual Madras Week celebrations.

All the photos for the project, of which a select few were on display, have been contributed by people and institutions.

Brothers Sukumar and Ravikumar of Gandhi Nagar have shared pictures of the area as has Dhanasekaran of the Mudaliar family. Businessman Srivatsan from Bhaktavatsalam Nagar who is also a professional photographer has shared some stunning black and white pictures from his collection while Theosophical Society Publications shared pictures taken on the TS campus.

There were pictures copied from the Natchiappan Collection while Kamakshi Subramaniam's contribution gave us an idea of how Sardar Patel Road-Kasturba Nagar area looked like when the first houses were built here. Sekar Raghavan also made contributions.

There was a rare picture of the public clock tower which stands at the mouth of East Coast Road, near the Valmiki Temple (it still stands there today), and a picture taken from considerable height from the area opposite what was once Satya Studios, showing a wide view of the Adyar river, the old bridge and areas off Besant Avenue.

The show was put together by photographer C.P. Dhanasekar while Sadanand Menon at SPACES provided the venue.

Adyarites who wish to contribute pictures of life, places, people and sites of the area to the future project can call 94446 42491.

Please click here to support the Heritage Act

In this Issue

Is conservation on right track?
Neglect threatening QMC building
Beach, bins & beauty
Krishnan entertains off the court
In the Fort & outside...
Walking about with
Sriram V.
Collecting our memories
'Curdrice cricket'
Dennis no 'menace' in Madras
Inspiring a crop of chess champions
Changing times
Fly away with them...
Children's focus during Madras Week

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan


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