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Old December 21st, 2011, 01:05 PM   #41
Madurai gilli
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Gigantic Madurai Tirumalai Nayak Palace with its FORT





Source : http://collections.vam.ac.uk via AAM.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 01:12 PM   #42
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History of Madurai Tirumalai Nayak Palace

Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace is a spectacle of Indo-Western palatial brilliance in Madurai. Built by King Thirumalai Nayak (or Nayakkar) in circa 1636, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal covers a large expanse of land in the city which is 2.5 km from the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.

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Thirumalai Nayak Palace History:

The palace was built by Thirumalai Naicker, the greatest of Nayakkar kings of Madurai. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from 1545 till 1740, after the Pandya kings. History of Madurai reveals that they were originally governors of the Vijayanagar Empire (based in Karnataka). As the empire broke up and declined, the Nayaks gained control over their governing regions and became rulers of the cities they controlled.

Thirumalai Nayak constructed this palace in 1636 with the help of an Italian architect who visited Madurai around that time. As the abode of the king, the palace participated in activities in and around Madurai. The king and the Nayak Prime Minister Arya Natha Mudaliyar was instrumental in restoration of other architectural monuments in the city like the Meenakshi Amman Temple, the Thirupparamkundram Temple and the Mariamman Teppakulam (water tank). The palace was actively involved in the Scepter festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival, Float festival and Panguni Peruvila.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace Architecture:

The palace is the place where Thirumalai Naicker lived and held his court. The palace complex area was originally four times bigger than it is now, consisting of two portions – Swarga vilasa and Ranga vilasa. There were also other portions like the palace shrine, harem, theater, royal band stand, armory and other structures which were used to accommodate palanquins, royal chariots, relatives, servants, guests and other regal paraphernalia.



Palace Design:

Thirumalai Nayak Palace has a minimalistic and rather-bland exterior. But on the interior, its grandeur is unparalleled and extraordinary that many of its contemporaries in India. The palace is a blend of Italian, Islamic, European and Dravidian style of architecture. While the domes and arches signify the Islamic touch, the huge and tall white columns speak for the Italian style. The Dravidian style is visible in the patterns on the walls, the ceiling, the windows and the arch ways of the palace.

Palace Layout:

On entering the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, one comes across a large central courtyard measuring 3,900 sq.m. This expansive and open courtyard area is flanked by huge white circular pillars on all four sides. The Courtyard and the Dance Hall are the major attractions of the palace. The Swarga Vilasa or celestial pavilion was used as the throne room (arcaded by an octagon dome 60-70 feet high) while the Dance Hall was used for dance, music and other entertainment activities by the royalty.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace specialties:

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, managed by the Archaeological Department of India, was declared a National Monument after the Indian independence. The palace has an archaeological museum which houses artifacts, idols, pottery, pillar-stones, scripts and paintings unearthed from various places in South India, right from the 102 A.D. Restored in 1858 by Lord Napier (the then Governor of Madras), Thirumalai Naicker Palace is open from 9 AM to 5 PM for visitors.

Sound and Light Show:

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a feast to the eyes in the evening. The Indian cultural department conducts the famous Sound and Light Show at the palace premises daily. The show, an amazing spectacle of sound and light, narrates in a subtle and interesting way the lifetimes of King Thirumalai. Myriad hues of light plays truant with the palace walls transforming the dark courtyard and surrounding area into a real vista of the Thirumalai Nayak’s Madurai. The show is an ode to King Thirumalai and his glory. It presents anecdotes from his life – his victories, his enemies, his daily routine, his passion for arts and his vision for the city – in dramatic and regal splendor. The palace turns into a symphony of sound and light at night time, with every pillar becoming an eloquent story teller and every cornerstone narrating the glory of the past.

The Sound and Light show takes place every day from 6.30 PM (IST). The English show happens at 6.30 PM while the Tamil (local language) show is scheduled at 8 PM. The duration of each show is half an hour.
Source : Madurainow
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Old December 21st, 2011, 09:08 PM   #43
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One land, many tongues - MADURAI

The Kannadigas find it easy to merge with the mainstream here than their distant motherland, writes S.ABRAHAM MILLS

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Think Karnataka and the first thing that comes to mind is the chain of Udupi hotels and restaurants identified by their simple vegetarian fare with a hint of sweetness in everything they prepare (there is a dash of jaggery in all dishes, except rasam ).

Madurai had quite a few Udupi hotels run by the hotelier-community, who migrated in the 1940s from undivided South Kanara district in Karnataka.

According to N. Ramakrishna Rao, whose father R. Narasimha Rao, started the Sri Jaya Vilas Coffee Hotel in 1942 on Chinnakadai Street, though there were many Udupi hotels in Madurai, the Udupi Boarding & Lodging on West Masi Street was the biggest till it closed shop in the 80s.

“Till Pandyan Hotel came up, all the visiting VIPs – from MGR and Sivaji to Kamaraj — used to stay at this hotel, started in 1939 and closed in 1975.” Other popular Udupi hotels were ‘Central’ Udupi (1932-67)) and ‘Chinthamani’ Udupi (1929-73), denoting the cinema halls adjacent to them, and Dhanalakshmi Hotel (1947-91) on Kamarajar Salai.

The Chinnakadai hotel is the only relic of a glorious past.

The city is home to about 250 families from Karnataka, excluding a 10,000-strong Kannada speaking Devangar Chettiars from the Hampi region. While all of them speak Kannada, their mother tongue differs.

While majority speak Tulu (Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty’s mother tongue), some speak Konkani.

V. Mohan of Thiagarajar College of Engineering opines that initially Harvey Mill (Madura Coats), TVS group of companies etc., attracted the Kannadigas to Madurai. Next came the hoteliers followed by bank employees since major banks such as Canara, Vijaya, Syndicate, Corporation and Karnataka banks were started by Mangaloreans (Konkani-speaking Gouda Saraswaths) only. Later on, professionals such as doctors and engineers came and settled down in Madurai.

N. Srikumar of K. Pudur says, “ Despite Madurai becoming our natural home, our marriages are conducted in our native place to make it convenient for our relatives there to attend the ceremony. Also, temples of our family deities are there.”

In order to keep the bond with their motherland strong, the kannadigas get together for Ugadi, Vishu and other festivals under the Karnataka Sangha-Madurai banner. Some times they bring the ‘Yakshagnana’ troupe or else screen Kannada classic movies. But such entertainment highlights have become rare over the years owing to dwindling audience.

Dishes
Says Harikrishna Bhat, Head, Department of Kannada Studies at Madurai Kamaraj University, “Our people merge with the mainstream wherever they are, identifying more with the local culture than the distant motherland.” Mr. Bhat, from Puthur in Kasaragod district, who has written a book, ‘Madurai nenappugalu’ (memories of Madurai) is now translating Tirukkural from Kannada to tulu.”

Some like K. Krishna Joisa, who is always on the lookout for new Kannadigas to rope them into the association in his capacity as its secretary, rue that Karnataka delicacies like Maddur vada, cherooti and Mangalore holige (boli) are not available in Madurai.

Besides the Kanara people, there are some wholesale coconut merchants (Basappa Mandi in Mudakku Salai and another opposite Cinepriya theatre complex) from Hubli-Dharwad region and few professionals from the Mysore-Bangalore belt.

Industrialist B.T. Banghera and renowned architect Y. R. Ramnath also hail from Karnataka.

Their association has bought a land near university for constructing a building with all facilties.

Dr. J. Vasanthkumar Bhat from Mangalore, who is the president of Gouda Saraswath Community of about 100 families in Madurai, says: “Initially our people came here to make pappads. My father J. Vasudeva Bhat was a Superintendent of Police for Madurai North in the 60s. We originally belong to Kashmir from where we migrated to Bengal and thence to Mangalore. Nowadays, many of our people here do not even speak Konkani.” Some of these strict vegetarians eat fish due to the Bengal interlude in their journey down south.

Shyamala Bhat, who hails from Kumble, says she misses ‘southakai’ (similar to cucumber but bigger) and kovakkai but is all praise for cotton saris here.

By and large, Kannadigas here are a contented lot.
http://www.hindu.com/mp/2009/09/17/s...1750790400.htm
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 02:37 AM   #44
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TVS Buses plyed in Madurai during 1950's and 60's



The Tiger Leyland City buses roamed in Madurai Roads, ran by TVS, in route nos.2,4,5,10-A,11,11-A & 14

Source: - Namma Madurai-FB
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Old December 28th, 2011, 06:25 AM   #45
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Old but interesting news item...
---------------

A little known palatial legacy

Published in 2006 in the "The Hindu"



Even remnants and unfinished structures, such as Nayak Fort, have their own place in history


Though the Temple City is decked up with modern and tall structures that state contemporary life vividly, its every nook and cranny greet visitors at every step with delightful pieces of history. Scattered across the sprawling expanse of the city are reminders of a rich history. Even the remnants and unfinished structures have their own place in history. One such structure is the Nayak Fort that now houses the south zonal office of the Madurai Corporation and a library. But often, the structure eludes the public eye, as it is always defaced by posters. Thanks to the Assembly election, the fort is there for all to see in white splendour.

The fort wall of the Pandyas had the temple as its nucleus. The city was surrounded by a deep moat and lofty walls and the Vaigai skirted its walls to form a natural defence on one side. The Pandiya Fort, belonging to 13th-14th century, otherwise called the inner fort, is the present Amman Sannathi Gateway or `Vittavasal' as it is now known. The eastern entrance of the Pandyan Fort was Vittavasal while its western entrance was near the Nethaji statue, says C. Shanthalingam, Archaeological Officer.

Nayak Fort wall

When the Nayak dynasty established its reign, its kings involved themselves in extension activities. They built temples, tanks, aqueducts, and forts.

According to Mr. Shanthalingam, Viswanatha Nayak, a good administrator, was assisted by Ariyanatha Mudali, a well-known pradhani (first citizen), who served under the first four Nayak rulers. With his help, Viswanatha Nayak demolished the old Pandya rampart and ditches that surrounded the walls of the temple and constructed an extensive double-walled fortress with 72 bastions or garrisons (standing army).

He divided the Madurai country into 72 palayams and handed them over to 72 polygars or palayakars, who guarded their jurisdiction in the bastions.

The present Keezhavasal was the eastern gate and Melavasal near the Periyar Bus Stand the western gate of Nayak Fort wall that belongs to 16th century.

The long and wide wall structures have bastions or garrisons, which have two-storyed structures with around 5 to 10 rooms that served as guard rooms and arsenal, says G. Balaji, Conservation Architect, Department of Architecture, Thiagarajar Engineering College, who has done a thesis on `Conservation plan for historic city of Madurai'.

In 1841, when the then Collector Black Burn was involved in city extension activities, he demolished all 71 bastions and filled the moats to form the Veli streets.

Survived demolition

One of the bastions that survived demolition still remains to tell the tale of the past. The bastion serves as a corporation office while the ground floor accommodates a library named after a martyr.

The fact that helped the bastion to escape demolition is still a secret.

Perhaps, this bastion might have served as a hospital during that time or as an office of a British official, says Mr. Balaji, and adds that there is no proper record to show why the Collector spared the single bastion.

Similarly, the library in the bastion was founded in remembrance of a 13-year-old boy who died as martyr during the freedom struggle.

In 1942, when a political meeting was organised near Nethaji statue, an eighth standard boy Mani joined the rally, shouting `Vande Matharam.' Following a commotion, he was shot. Though it started as a mere reading room, in 1958, it became a full-fledged library for public use in the name of `Thyagi Mani Ninaivu Bharath Ilavasa Vasaga Salai.'

On the materials used for construction, Mr. Balaji says the Pandya fort was constructed with mud while the Nayak fort had stones
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Old December 28th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #46
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Guys,

Need one help. I am planning for long to do a guided tour of Meenakshi Amman temple complex. Do any of you know a knowledgeable guide for this purpose.

Having done done guided tours of many ASI monuments, i still feel bad not knowing much about our own city temple.
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Old December 28th, 2011, 07:21 AM   #47
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Some photos from the USC digital library:

(Aplogize for the huge photos, not able to resize them)



Timeline of photo:1850/1897




Timeline : 1923/28


Timeline:1913/14 || Madurai Jn.
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Old December 28th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #48
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thanks for your wonderful pictures rsubbu.mdu
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Old December 28th, 2011, 08:24 PM   #49
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A morning in Madurai



Footloose at the Meenakshi temple to record the city's pulse at daybreak.

As we turned into Elukadal Street on this cold and quiet Margazhi morning, the shrill cry of “chai, chai” broke the sepulchre-like silence. “Temple gopuram or a railway platform?” our minds wondered when Sikandar emerged from the darkness, his silhouette on a bicycle faintly visible. He apparently arrived three hours before we did for his usual rounds to sell 100-odd cups of tea. For decades, Sikandar has been among those nocturnal citizens who make Madurai the much celebrated Thoonganagaram.

Holding cups of steaming tea at 4 a.m. and staring at the empty dark street, we smugly thought we are the first ones to arrive. But when we reached Amman Sannathi, we were surprised to find a group of Ayyappa devotees in saffron dhotis queued outside the East gate. Stray dogs dug into the previous day's garbage. An elderly man walked briskly towards us and disappeared into darkness. It was a different feeling to see the pride of Madurai in the early hours, serene and silent.

Suddenly, our ears pierced with the loud beating of the nagada and cymbal. We looked at the watch: 4.30 a.m. A faint light glowed in the mandapam opposite the Amman Sannathi. Head constable Selvamohan quenched our curiosity. “It is the old man you just saw. Climb atop the Mandapam, you will find him there.”

But nowhere could we find a way to climb. The cop pointed to a wooden door of one of the shops tucked by the roadside. It was left ajar and we peeped in to find a stone staircase wide enough to place one foot! We pulled in our stomachs and squeezed ourselves up to the Nagada Mandapam.

The tiny cabin atop the mandapam was a revelation of sorts. We found the elderly man there. He flashed a toothless smile as he played the cymbals. His companion Selvaraj sat on a raised platform beating the nagada. Exactly after 30 minutes, silence fell again. Selvaraj emerged from the cabin sweating profusely. “It is a way of announcing to the city that the temple has been opened. Our family has been doing this since the time of Rani Mangammal. But with concrete buildings around, the sound of the nagada gets drowned so we are forced to use the mike. We will be back at 4.30 p.m.”

The first ray of the sun now kissed the gopuram. It instantly illuminated the faces of the yazhis and yakshis on the nine-tier gopuram. The temple gongs rented the air as did the chanting of ‘Om'. Fresh jasmine and roses in cane baskets came up on the platforms, shop shutters went up and a mix of walkers and devotees entered the Chithrai streets. All of sudden, there was a flurry of activity. Men in sport shoes and T-shirts, their lungis folded at the knee and foreheads smeared with vibhuti and kumkum, walked briskly around the temple. Some of them had earphones while the others walked to the Gayatri Mantra and Suprabhatam blaring from the loudspeakers.

It was time for the lights to be switched off as the sky turned from black to blue. More walkers poured in and the streets were no longer empty. Now we saw men in T-shirts and shorts. The women were out too, in sarees and sport shoes, filling their lungs with fresh air. We also spotted few foreigners swigging coke bottles for their morning stroll.

Bhakti and fitness now walked hand in hand in the abode of Goddess Meenakshi. ‘Tiffin ready' boards came up on pavements outside the restaurants and the city's heart started throbbing with life.

There were no prospective buyers in sight, yet Muthupandi and Nagamma were up and about for business. Muthupandi tried his best to sell us gaudy necklaces and bangles he makes from old brass coins. Our hearts, however, melted seeing a smiling Nagamma, full of hope for the day ahead. At 80-plus, abandoned by her sons, she makes a living by selling hair bands. At ten rupees a packet, each containing 15 colourful bands, even if she finds 10 customers in a day, she is grateful to God. We bought her tea and snacks and returned with her unforgettable expression of gratitude.

With the sun now shining in full glory and the gopuram resplendent in its light, we looked up for one final glance at the temple and walked back. Back in the hustle bustle, what lingered on in the mind was the chant of ‘Om' at dawn, the nagada beats piercing the silence and the smiles of Nagamma and Sikandar.


Source : http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-sty...cle2754774.ece
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Old December 28th, 2011, 08:26 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madurai gilli View Post


The Tiger Leyland City buses roamed in Madurai Roads, ran by TVS, in route nos.2,4,5,10-A,11,11-A & 14

Source: - Namma Madurai-FB
Wonderful picture gilli , thanks for sharing
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Old December 29th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madurai gilli View Post


The Tiger Leyland City buses roamed in Madurai Roads, ran by TVS, in route nos.2,4,5,10-A,11,11-A & 14

Source: - Namma Madurai-FB
Im not able to see the image. Whether the URL is directly taken from FB and posted here? Can you host the image different website and paste it here?
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Old December 29th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #52
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Here it is dhandapani

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Old December 29th, 2011, 07:15 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madurai gilli View Post


The Tiger Leyland City buses roamed in Madurai Roads, ran by TVS, in route nos.2,4,5,10-A,11,11-A & 14

Source: - Namma Madurai-FB
Gilli any idea, where this pic was taken. I am bit curious as TVS is written on the bus or its some photoshopped image.
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Old December 29th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #54
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Past Perspective

Christine Grandy-Dick, wanders around Madurai and is fascinated by the interesting mix of architectural styles: the indigenous tradition of Hindu architecture and the Raj era colonial architecture. She takes a look at the magnificent British era colonial buildings such as the Madura Mills, American Madura Mission, American College, Collector's Office, and the Government Rajaji Hospital. She traces the historic past of these buildings and says that it is imperative to preserve and honour the past because the future is the past in perspective

When I was strolling through Madurai, I was instantly captivated by the interesting mix of architectural styles – be it the enormous, colourful Meenakshi Amman Temple, the Thirumalai Nayak Palace built in 1636 in an Indo-Saracenic style, constructed entirely of brick and mortar, but without the support of a single rafter or girder, as opposed to the rustic buildings of the Raj Era between 1857 and 1947.

In the 16th century when the Nayaks gained independence and ruled Madurai, the ancient city was laid out in a lotus-like pattern around the Meenakshi Temple. After the mid 19th century, the British razed down the fortress of Madurai and filled up the moat, which led to the four Veli-streets which nowadays serve as the borders of the old city.

Mr. M. Ganapathy, the well-known Madurai-based architect and interior designer, who with his wife Chitra also founded Kadambavanam, a centre to celebrate Tamil culture, located 25 km from Madurai, shared his immense knowledge on colonial architecture in Madurai.

Madura Mills: Looming Large

In the 1880s, two brothers from Scotland, Andrew and Frank Harvey, came to southern India and started a huge steam-powered spinning mill dominating the north-west skyline of Madurai. Situated next to the then newly laid railway tracks, the mill grew rapidly. The well-lit, well-ventilated, spacious buildings, spread out like wings, were constructed with heavy stone blocks and large louvered windows with frosted glass panes. The Harvey brothers ushered in sweeping changes and a new ethos to the concept of labour employment. Caste barriers were weakened or eliminated. They also built a separate colony named 'Harveypatti', a few miles south of Madurai near the railway line, for their workmen's families, and the village 'Kochadai' for higher officials, which today is the “Heritage Hotel”. In the 1900s, the mill became Madura Coats and later Madura Viyella. Those responsible for the manufacturing and technical functions of the company operate out of here, from where one can oversee all the thread mills in Madurai.

From a Hill Village to a Premier Hotel

During the mid-19th century, Pasumalai (meaning 'cow hill') village, on the fringes of Madurai, took on a Christian flavour when the American Madurai Mission was established there and began to have an impact on local society. An American College followed in the mid-1880s. At the same time, the entire hillock was acquired by the giant Madura Mill. The company laid a proper road to the top of the hill', planted trees all over the hill and built a large house on the summit as the official residence of the Scottish managing director of the mill. This enabled Sir William Harvey – the first chief executive to move into the house – and other British magnates who followed him—to live relatively close and yet far away from the jostling crowds of Madurai and the din of the mill, in a realm under their total control.

From this vantage point, a managing director must have felt as grand as a White Pandian or White Nayak! A time came when this building was too large for one household and too unwieldy for installing modern amenities. Martin Henry, one of the managers of the mill in the 1970s, decided to use the building as a school, at first exclusively for the children of company officials and later for outsiders.

One of the first of these outsiders was M. Ganapathy, whose father – despite being poor – wanted to provide the best possible education for his son. “In 1970 at the tender age of four, I learned swimming at the pool located in the school and went in and out of the prestigious homes of my classmates,” recounts the architect. This school, Vikaasa, which Ganapathy attended from 6th grade onwards, outgrew the Pasumalai village and in the 1980s, moved from the Pasumalai hill into larger premises in Madurai itself.

Today, the former hill village is a premier hotel after major changes and additions to the structure. For example, the guest block of 1906 opposite to the reception, housing rooms like No.16, where I am currently staying. It certainly captures the Raj era ambience!

Monuments in Stone

The Government Rajaji Hospital, the Albert Victoria Bridge and the Collector's Office, built during the Raj era, reveal a classical influence in their layout as well as Islamic details in mouldings and open, arched balcony windows. The Rajaji Hospital was the first hospital in Madurai. Therefore it needed to be spacious. Every institutional building or college of that era by European colonists was monumental in scale and impressive. Materials and the costs of labour would have been much cheaper than today. At the Rajaji Hospital, I discovered three plaques set in grey brick stones. One tells about a foundation in 1940, followed in 1958 by an outpatients' department.

A solid brick castle built in 1916, houses the Collectorate of Madurai with its undeniable British origin, with low towers on its edges and terraces along the first floor, where well-ventilated offices with high, dark brown wooden doors, that you ascend by means of an elegantly-carved wooden staircase. So far, due to its perfect technical quality, no restoration has been necessary. But now, the first signs of erosion are visible. When you take a look from the outside up to the white painted ceiling, interrupted by wooden beams, the joints alongside the thick brick walls display a long crack: nevertheless, the present condition is quite commendable for a structure almost 100 years old.

The 105-year-old Albert-Victoria Bridge is still one of the strongest, with its sturdy, grey granite stones fused with cement. The TVS Cooperative building marks the end of the British architectural age in Madurai, according to Mr. Ganapathy. Although I couldn't enter the famous American College Campus because of a confrontation between students and the college management, the British architectural influence was visible even from the black iron gate. One section in warm red bricks and classical style; another block, square and functionally shaped, to the left of that. Going around Madurai I feasted my eyes on several buildings from the colonial era. It reminded me that the past and present can comfortably coexist. What is more important is to remind ourselves that the past has several lessons for us. For one, we need to preserve and honor the past because our future is nothing but the past in perspective.

Source:http://www.maduraimessenger.org/prin...pril/time-out/
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Old December 30th, 2011, 05:52 PM   #55
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Handpicked by history

Sahitya Akademi Award winner Su. Venkatesan on his literary journey

At first glance, the 1000-odd pages may not interest you and you may put ‘Kaval Kottam' aside for later reading. But soon, the volume itself becomes a compelling invitation to read. A fleeting look through the first chapter that describes the atrocities of Malik Kafur and his army grips one's attention. The sharp prose activates your ophthalmic and auditory nerves and you soon begin to smell the blood even while hearing horses' neighs and gallops as the novel races through the battle field.
Often history is made by people who think differently; but sometimes, history chooses people for greatness. Latter is clearly the case with Su. Venkatesan, one of the recipients of Sahitya Akademi Award for 2011. This is the first time in the history of the Sahitya Akademi that the prestigious award is being conferred in recognition of a debut novel.
Su. Venkatesan's love for history is evident even in the paintings and photographs that adorn his room apart from numerous books and manuscripts piled in the book rack. The visibly elated winner begins his chat with facts about the robust Madurai that's been a witness to 2500 years of History. “Every nook and corner of the streets and lanes have history embedded in it. The city has seen both a glorious and hoary past,” he says.
“Usually, if a city gets destroyed, life would come up in a nearby place rechristening it with a prefix ‘Pudhu' (new) to the name of the city. On the contrary, life in Madurai blossomed at the same place every time it was destructed,” notes Venkatesan.
Besides, he says, the city has inspired every writer since Sangam Age. Writers have elaborately dealt with Madurai's way of life and society in Sangam Literature, Bhakthi literature and so on. When he felt that the city's mammoth historicity is missing in modern Tamil literature, Venkatesan decided to make the town the hero of his novel – Kaaval Kottam, published in 2008. “Madurai is,” he says, “the endless stimulating subject.”
Already an author of poetry collections and seven research articles, Venkatesan was wondering what genre should he opt to write upon Madurai. Initially, not knowing whether it should be a fiction or non fiction, he traveled the length and breadth of the State and collected materials, records, facts and figures about the city. After three years of collection he sat for writing the book and from then on, the track was destined to reach success.
After contemplating on the idea, Venkatesan decided to record the untold history of Madurai in a novel form. He says: “poetry is certainly not a perfect medium to bring life in full. Hence I decided to go for novel.”
In Kaaval Kottam, the writer presents recorded history and folk history simultaneously. “Generally, history is written by taking inscriptions, copper plates, books of Islamic historians and Jesuit's Father's diaries into consideration. But, there exists a parallel history called ‘folk history' that has been disseminating facts through memories in the form of stories that never made an entry into the recorded history,” he says and adds, “there is a wide gap between the recorded and folk history.”
“In Kaaval Kottam, I have tried to bring out the subaltern history of Madurai, which was relegated for centuries,” he notes, “In my work, every character is an alpha male and alpha female apart from the strong women of royal lineage like Gangadevi, wife of Kumara Kempenna and Rani Mangammal.”
Though there are many scenes of importance in the novel, Venkatesan immediately highlights the utmost significance of demolition of the Madurai fort- the largest in Southern India of that time.
“The population of the city was 42,000 and the whole city was involved in demolition. Usually, British rulers demolish forts and walls from outside to conquer the city. But, this fort was demolished from inside and that too by the people themselves. People were lured to pull down the huge wall that protected the city,” he says.
The fort demolition scene runs into 60 pages picturesquely depicting the fall of the fort and how the British wooed the residents to part with the fort in the name of development.
The next dominant factor of the novel is the Mullai Periyar Dam. In his novel, Venkatesan presents the societal and economic background in which the Mullai Periyar dam was built. It portrays the suffering of people of the then unified district of Madurai and deaths that took place during the construction of the dam.
The novel also elaborates on the local policing system that prevailed in the city especially during Nayak regime before it was wiped out by the British to bring in the modern day judiciary system. It also vividly describes how the British officials crushed the security guards and lodged them in camps after declaring them as notified community under the Criminal Tribes Act.
Talking about his research and resources, Venkatesan says that he collected government orders, letters and manuscripts. In fact, he provides eyewitness descriptions for many facts including the ‘policing system'. Venkatesan also vividly describes the life of people, the equipment they used, their ceremonies and religious observances. He is tremendous at detail and descriptions of everything from the ‘local guards', the way they dressed, to the way they functioned and the way they spoke.
“Even in the language part, I have used varieties. From classic language for royal lineage to colloquial connotations for the laymen,” the author explains and believes that his book is a major contribution to Madurai's folk history.
The novel traces the history of 600 years of Madurai in a winning fashion starting from 1310. ‘Kaaval Kottam' is a product of 10 years of labour and through out these years he has written his manuscript in pencil – a writer's idiosyncrasy.
In total, the novel has about 250 short stories. Venkatesan has also given a story to director Vasanthabalan's ‘Aravaan' – a sub plot in Kaaval Kottam.
Forty-one-year-old Venkatesan loves poetry since his school days. In fact, his love for language earned him about 300 certificates which he had won in speech and verse writing competitions. Out of which, around 50 certificates are for State first prize. He owes his love for language to his Tamil teacher Ilankumaranar.
Under the influence of his parents, Venkatesan joined commerce course. Later, his love for language and philosophy made him join Marxist forum. At 19, as soon as he was out of Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College, he published his poetry collection ‘Ottaiyidatha pullaangulal.' “In those days, Marxism had a charm and no youth could escape its enchanting philosophies,” he says.
In 1997, he became the Taluk secretary for CPM in Thiruparankundram. Now, this full-time writer is the general secretary of Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association, art and literary wing of Communist Party of India.
“Sahitya Akademi for Kaaval Kottam is the recognition for local history written intricately and elaborately,” he says.
He plans to publish a research work on Criminal Tribes Act in India. At present, he is working for a historical novel on Tamil traditions.
And for the photo shoot, Venkatesan takes us to the Chettipodavu cave. “This is the place where Gangadevi worshipped Mahavir statue and began her life in Madurai. And my initial chapter is based on her and her warring skills.”





http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-sty...cle2760987.ece


Waiting for 'Aravaan' release which will portray our history in a very different perspective. Hope it makes Tamil movie Industry to transcend to the next level, and one thing is very sure, the movie will definitely be a thing that is going to make us Maduraiites proud. Posted here because it is related to the history of Madurai.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:02 PM   #56
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:45 PM   #57
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American College in 1905 - Very Rare Photo in its architect Mr.Henry Irwin who designed Chennai Central Rlwy station too



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Old January 7th, 2012, 10:11 PM   #58
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Old January 8th, 2012, 04:40 AM   #59
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Just now i noticed this thread. I feel very happy and proud of Madurai. Thanks for the efforts and contributions by our forumers. I have forwarded this link as many to my friends and collegues. My Intention is to bring more foreign as well as local tourist here.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 05:15 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsubbu.mdu View Post
Gilli any idea, where this pic was taken. I am bit curious as TVS is written on the bus or its some photoshopped image.
Sorry rsubbu.mdu, this picture was taken from FB where a friend called Karthikeyen used to post ancient/old images of Madurai.. He has the hobby of collecting old pictures.. I have no idea from where it's taken. But it is not a photoshoped image and a real one.. Guess, this bus shud be in Chennai/Bangalore now..
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