Chennai Walk – Part IV

Well the next on my stop was the Elliots Beach in Beasant Nagar.  Here lies the dilapidated Karl Schmidt memorial.  Karl Schmidt was a Dutch man living in Chennai during the 1800s.  He happened to save the life of a drowning boy …….and lost his life doing that.  The British Governor of the times ………erected this memorial in his honour.  Elliots Beach has its own flavour.  My best beach is the Thiruvanmiyur Beach … my own backyard.  It has its own seclusion and privacy.

Beasant Nagar has other interesting places ……….like the Velankanni Church, the Ashtalakshmi Temple and the Subramanian Temple.  While the Velankanni Church is more like our Viveknagar Infant Jesus Church ………..the Subramanian temple has its own flavour and is well maintained.  The Ashtalakshmi temple ……….although more famous is really very poorly maintained.  The gopuras and vimanas are in pathetic shape and the brahmins there are super-consters.  We lost 200 rupees ……..conned by a brahmin there …… the name of God.  The interesting thing about the Ashtalakshmi temple is its concept of a tiered temple with the ‘Dhana Lakshmi’ at the very top on the 3rd floor.  Other lakshmis are all on subsequent floors.  You get a very good view of the sea from there.

My favourite part of the Subramanian temple complex is the ‘Dhandapani’ temple.  You have other temples here ……..which cover various forms of  Lord Subramania.  I like the Dhandapani temple because of the monastic form of the god and it gives you the feel of Palani (forgive me for my overt religious sentiments here!!!).

Also visited the Parthasarathi temple of Triplicane.  While Mylapore area with its Kapaleeshwarar temple is famous for Iyers of all shades ……..Triplicane is more so famous for Madhwas …….and more specifically Kannada Madhwas.  The immediate precints of the temple is more a hive of Raghavendra matha and Vyasaraja matha activities.  There are so many kannadigas here that it gives you a kick listening to Kannada devotional songs of Purandara Dasa while you walk the streets of Triplicane in the immediate precints of the Parthasarathi temple.

These kannada speaking people are the blue eyed kannadigas of tamil nadu.  There are the sect of Madhwas who migrated en-masse to Tamil Nadu – about 250-300 years back.  Their Kannada is quite different and has many tamil words in it.  Their choice of words are also very old kannada.  They would not call a baby as ‘Magu’ ….they would rather call it ‘Koosu’.  Its interesting talking to them.  One of our neighbours is a Madhwa Kannadiga from here.

Its very interesting ……….that Karnataka has its own blue-eyed tamilians.  When I mean blue – eyed is people who are from that place and who have lived there for centuries and who have preserved their distinct language/culture for centuries.  Around Melkote and Mysore you have many Iyengars who descended from the migration of Sri Ramanujacharya during the 1200s.  They still speak a pretty old Tamil with many words of Kannanda inter-spersed.

Ooty/Salem/Krishnagiri/Coimbatore have another sect of Kannada people ………more from the Vokkaliga and Badaga backgrounds.  They have their own Kannada which is different from the Madhwa Kannada.  They again are blue eyed Kannadigas who have lived there for centuries.

Similary Bangalore has another shade of blue eyed Tamilians who have been there for centuries …….and whose Tamil is quite different from the Mysore Tamil.  I can go on and on.

Check out my album for the pics

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