Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z --- Zzzzzzzzzz!

That is right!  I just want to sleep after this challenge. :P

I did have one last topic for the Letter Z - Zoo of Vandalur, located in the outskirts of Chennai city, the largest and the oldest zoo of India. It houses many species (more than 1000) and is a popular tourist spot. Need I say more? :) It is located just 15 kms from Chennai Airport.
Image source: in-motionathletics.com

But I wanted to go for Zzzzzzzzzz as I am very tired from this challenge :P
Not literally, but the pressure did take a toll on me.

Before I doze off, I would like to confess it was kinda fun to have participated in this challenge and glad that I could complete it.

For those who missed out on my A-Z posts, my theme was centered around Chennai, my home town.

I have blogged about my city's A-Z, places, celebrities, features and the things related to it. As far as I know I have covered as much that is of significant importance to the city.  It was a fulfilling experience.

Good day folks :)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Y --- Y This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di!

Aaaah....Previously I thought of blogging about an area YMCA grounds but then I thought this is even more cool :) Obviously, this line became a sensation all over India.

The above line is the name of the popular song composed by Anirudh and sung by Actor Dhanush, who both work in the Tamil Film Industry and also they are Chennai natives.

The song has nothing that much special to offer- just ordinary music with ordinary lyrics. In my opinion, it is surprising that it became a worldwide phenomenon. Maybe the lyrics were liked the youth as they could relate to it more? Perhaps. Anyway the bottom line is this song became a sensation in youtube at that time period. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X --- 'X' Stills From Chennai!

Sunrise at Elliots Beach

An MTC bus

An auto-man looks on

Arbritrary scene

The Colour photographs were captured by Prasanna- For more, Click Here 
The Black and white photographs were captured by Karthik Pasupathy- For more, Click Here 

Friday, 26 April 2013

W --- War Cemetery of Madras!

Madras War Cemetery is both a war cemetery and a memorial, about 5 kms from Chennai Airport.
For more, Here click

Image source: flickr.com

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V --- Vadapalani Murugan Temple!

The Vadapalani Murugan Temple is a very famous temple in Chennai city, where the main idol is Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga is the second son of Lord Shiva. Vadapalani is the name of yet another bustling area in Chennai which interestingly houses many film studios.

This temple was built 125 years back and is visited by people frequently. Many weddings are also held in this auspicious place. There is a legend connected to this temple, wherein a Lord's devotee, built a small hut and kept a painting of Murugan and meditated. He gained some sort of Divine power and uttered some things which later became true. The local people then started going there. 

The Lord in this temple is believed to cure diseases, help in getting jobs and marriages etc;

As you can see from the below picture, the temple is indeed very big and also has a small square pond where pujas are conducted.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org

I have gone to this temple many a time. The Gopuram (Entrance tower) is magnificent to look at. This place is a must visit and I recommend it. Especially since it is maintained very properly and it is a clean temple.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U --- Udhavum Karangal!

This name might hard for you to pronounce, no doubt. It is a Tamil word which translates to "Helping Hands". Udhavum Karangal is an helping organisation set up in Chennai, headed by the good man
Mr. Vidhyakar. It is a social service organisation aimed at helping orphans and destitutes.

This amazing organisation was started in 1983 by Mr. Vidhyakar. While I was a baby, my parents registered my name as a donor. Whenever there are excess clothes or toys or books or whatever it may be, my parents ensured they donated to the organisation. This is a very good thing. Charity. However, I haven't gone to that place. In the future I must do so.

And another thing. Each year, on my birthday, a post comes from the organisation wishing me :)
Image source: behindwoods.com
This motivates us to donate even more apart from cash.

The organisation houses almost 2000 unfortunate people ranging from newborn babies to old age women and men. :(

Thankfully it does an excellent job in caring for these people. We, the people must do something for these people. They are in a pitiful state. Instead of sympathising, we must empathize and think from their place. If you start empathizing, then you won't hesitate to help these people. Moreover, the old clothes and toys are not going to be necessary to you once you have used it. Atleast, lend them to some orphan boy and see the smile spread in his face. Trust me, a wonderful feeling comes within you. I am not telling that people don't donate et al. What I am attempting in this post is to urge even more people to help, help, help :)

You too, if you are coming to Chennai or living in it please do give in your donations.
After all, what you give is what you get :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T --- Thalapakkatti Biriyani!

Thalappakatti Restaurant has numerous branches all over the state and in a few months time it would be the largest biriyani seller in India. Biriyani is a hot and spicy and delicious dish made from rice, masala and spices. Lol, my description seems too easy but actually a lot goes into the preparation. There are a lot of shops serving biriyani all over Chennai but this new spot is gaining popularity, apparently for the hygiene and the wonderful ambience.

source: theHindu

source: tripadvisor.in

The biriyani's aroma is enough to make anyone fall in love with it. The soft and tender pieces mixed with the delicious rice is a thing I crave for.

By the way, Thalappakatti literally means turban which worn around the head. The late owner used to wear it, thus comes the name. Started in Dindugal (a town in Tamilnadu) this restaurant is now present in Chennai too.

Monday, 22 April 2013

S --- San Thome Basilica & St. Thomas Mount!

I think all Christians would know of the fact that St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus (I got to know only recently).

Santhome Cathedral: wikipedia
These two names are closely related to each other. Santhome Basilica is a minor Basilica located in Chennai city very near to the sea. Originally built by the Portugese explorers in the 16th century, over the tomb of St. Thomas, this was later modified by the British into a beautiful Cathedral, in the late 19th century.
The story: Christians believe that St. Thomas arrived in the state of Kerala from Judea, preached between 52 A.D and 72 A.D when he was martyred on St. Thomas Mount.

Now St. Thomas mount is a small hill in Chennai, near the airport. From the 17th century Anglo-Indians have been living in and around the place. Another church is located on top of the hill. Though I live somewhat close to it, I have never been there. Must visit sometime.

Santhome Cathedral is a popular pilgrimage centre for Christians in India.

P.S: This particular post is purely sourced from wiki, as I am not a Christian. I wanted to create awareness about this interesting news  :D. Do visit this Church if you come to Chennai.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R --- Rajinikanth and Rahman!

For the letter R, these two personalities are the most apt people I could think of :). These two people are considered as cultural icons and the most awesome and popular in their respective fields. While Rajinikanth is considered as the SUPERSTAR of movies, AR Rahman is considered as the Mozart of Madras.

AR Rahman - Image source: forbesindia.com 
You must know about Rahman. I needn't say about him if you knew that he won two academy awards (oscars) for his wonderful music in the film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny boyle. The movie did go on to many different awards. Rahman also did the music for Boyle's next 127 hours. But I personally feel that Rahman created some awesome and magnificent music in his previous Indian movies which are far better than the oscar winning movie. The music composer also has done music for hindi movies and other regional languages. Rahman is known for his experimental music. He has won a great number of awards. For more on Rahman, click Here. Also he has the nickname "Isai Puyal" (translated Music storm) apart from Mozart of Madras.

Rajinikanth - Image source: http://www.indiglamour.com/
Rajinikanth is an actor who has primarily acted in Tamil movies but also has done roles in other languages too. I am just going to put it there. Rajinikanth is like a God to the people here. Yes, seriously. He is the highest paid actor in Asia only after Jackie Chan. He is truly the Superstar (his another name) of cinema. Every actor has his/her own fans but everyone is a fan of Rajini. No one can refuse to fall in love with his Charisma and Flamboyance. Style cannot be defined better than him. Every movie of his has become a blockbuster with the exception of a few. He has a large fan following in Japan after the people over there watched his movie Muthu. Everyone out there is crazy about him. Though sadly, he hasn't won that much awards. But who cares about it. He is respected and there are people who literally will do anything for him. That is more important, right? Another reason people love him is that Rajini is known for his simplicity and spiritualness. For more on him, click Here

Both of these amazing people did not have a good childhood. Both of them have struggled to come to the place they are right now. While Rahman was born and brought up in Chennai, Rajinikanth is a native of Bangalore and came to Madras where he proved his mettle as an actor.

The great thing about these stars is that even after they have achieved tremendously, have a staggeringly large  number of fan and respected by people all over India, they are humble and simple.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q --- Quintessential Chennaite!

Who is a quintessential citizen of Chennai city?

Well, frankly, this is quite a difficult question. For the fun of it, I brought this topic to discuss and wonder about who could be a typical example of Chennai.

To facilitate this, I come up with some common things that I feel, every Chennaite must possess.

1. He/She must know atleast a little bit of Madras Baashai (Madras Tamil Slang). Madras Baashai is a little different from the standard Tamil prominently used by people of Madras.
2. Born in Madras.
3. Know most of the routes and roads in Chennai city.
4. Should have watched one or more Rajinikanth movie (Rajinikanth is an actor which is coming
                                                                                       up for the letter R).
5. Must have practiced or know about or atleast listened to Carnatic Music.
6. Should know about Cooum. Hahaha LOL.
7. Must have seen the dance staged in front of a moving death procession. (No, I am not kidding)

From the above, I think I qualify to some extent for the tag of Chennaite. But the one section of citizens, in which every person qualifies for the tag are Automen :) (in my opinion).

Auto men are classic and I admire them for the usage of bad words in Tamil with such style. It is just like Al Pacino says the F-word in the movie Scarface. :D

Have a nice day folks!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

P --- Pondy Bazaar!

Pondy Bazaar is a very big market located in Chennai in the area called T Nagar. It is exclusively famous for shopping. It is a host to all kinds of shops ranging from Dress and attire, food items, footwear, plastics, stationary to fruits & vegetables, sweets & savouries, jewellery, vessels, electronics, watches and all kinds of consumer goods. 

People of Chennai throng to this place for a reason. The prices here are relatively cheap but the bazaar also houses Brand Showrooms. It is not wrong t exaggerate that almost more than quarter of Chennai's population roam the place from day to night. This district is always crowded and the traffic becomes a mess at peak hours. However this has been improving in the recent years.

At the eve of festival days, the district is packed. I have had many a experience in this Bazaar when my mom goes for shopping and I carry the bags for her. It would be both irritating and good. At the end of shopping we go to a popular bakery where we refresh ourselves from the Shopping fatigue. 

However that was when I was a kid. Nowadays I don't visit it and ask my mom to do shopping for me also :P. 

The important highlight of Pondy Bazaar is the platform shops. Without them Pondy Bazaar wouldn't have that much crowd. Our people, prefer to do shopping from the shopping vendors, who generally sell toys, books, edible snacks, dress materials, innerwear, plastic stickers and toys etc; Therefore this explains the crowd. 

There is a risk of people losing their valuables as there are a lot of petty pickpockets around this area, lurking somewhere to snatch from busily shopping people. So be careful ! 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O --- Old is Gold!

For the letter O, I am gonna post only pictures :) What pictures? Pictures of old monuments and wonders that are present in Chennai even now.

Image source: wikipedia
This Indo-saracenic white beauty is the offical house of the Corporation of Chennai. Designed and completed in 1913 by Loganatha Mudaliar and named after Lord Ripon, the then Governor General of British India, the Ripon Building is situated on the same road as the Chennai Central (see here).

Image source: Fort St. George
This is the Fort St. George, the first English fort in India, built in 1644. The fort played a major role in the development of Madras (Chennai). This beauty is another magnificent structure.

Image source: wikipedia
This is the Government Museum of Chennai City, the second oldest (1851) in India and one of the largest in Asia.

This again was built during the British Raj times in the Indo-saracenic style.

Have a nice day folks! :)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N --- Nungambakkam!

My capture: From the median in the NGM High road 
This is yet another area in Chennai city. Actually if you search for Chennai in google maps, it would point to a certain place in the city. That "certain place" is Nungambakkam. It is like the heart of Chennai. Like the heart it is very much busy and always bustling. Nungambakkam is also a very developed area compared to the others. It is a prime residential area and is a host to abundant important and famous buildings and complexes including my Loyola College, Women's Christian College :P, Valluvar Kottam, SDAT Tennis stadium and Regional Passport office. Nungambakkam also houses some consulates such as the Korean and Austrian ones.

My capture: NGM railway station, This is where
I get down  for college
What is the reason to mention about this area?
Well, the word food brings a smile in me. When I say food, I mean restaurants. The most number of restaurants including some Star hotels are found in Nungambakkam. But sadly, I have gone to only a few. Restaurants like KFC, Cafe Coffee Day, Pizza corner, Pizza hut, the Park, the Taj Connemara, some concept Italian and Greek restaurants among the local South Indian ones line this road.

Also the roads around Nungambakkam like Sterling Road and Haddows Road are very old (Yes, you should have guessed from the English names). An amazing feature is the presence of trees on both sides of road, which is a rarity in a busy Metropolitan area. Apart from restaurants, there are also many showrooms like Adidas, Reebok etc;  All in all, Nungambakkam is a mini-city inside Chennai.

Have a good day folks!

Monday, 15 April 2013

M --- Marina Beach!

Marina Beach in Chennai is the 2nd longest beach in the world. Having a total length of about 13 kms, it is a prominent destination for Chennaites and also tourists from the world. Compared to the Elliots beach (another beach in the southern part of city), this beach is even more popular among the common people and it is more of a family-liked place. But still, children and youngsters play cricket here and even couples hang out. The Marina beach has a long promenade and serves as a good spot for the morning walkers.

Image source: wikipedia
There are many landmarks located along the stretch of the Marina such as the Lighthouse, MGR memorial and Annadurai memorial. Several statues can be spotted along this stretch including Gandhi. Apart from the beach itself these statues serve as good locales for capturing pictures.

The Marina is primarily a sandy beach and that's what I like about it. Walking in it, with the sand crushing mildly on and under your feet is awesome. There are many shops located in the beach selling from candy to coffee to hot soup to juice.

During Kaanum pongal (source: thehindu)
Now you must really be surprised by seeing the beside picture. This is how, Marina looks during the festival of Kannum pongal, a Tamil festival celebrating harvest of crops by farmers, where people go out somewhere on this day. About 150,000 people visit the Marina on this day, not only from Chennai but from other towns too. No wonder, the place is a mess the next day.

Though the Marina is a relatively clean beach than its counterparts in the country, it still has miles to go. The government is taking steps to maintain it. But it also lies in the way we people treat it. With greater awareness created by college students, including me, Yeah, I once took part in a cleaning campaign in the Marina through my college, we can educate the people on not to litter the place. But otherwise the place is a real beauty. :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

L --- Loyola College Church!

Loyola Church- Image source: Wikipedia
Loyola College is one of the top 10 educational institutions in the country, famed for its Arts and Science courses. Also it is the college in which I am studying :D. It is a Jesuit institution serving for Christian minorities in particular but also accept students from other religions too.

Before I move on, First let me tell about the beauty of my college. Yes, it is the Church is the picture. As you can see, it is just awesome. I know nothing of architecture but something about this magnificent structure makes me gaze it whenever I walk on the pebble strewn side-path. Even while I am travelling by train, when it enters the station alongside the platform, I could see the apex of the Church. It is an amazing feeling to see the cross towering above all the others in the near vicinity atleast.

The College grounds are vast for a city college. The thing I love about this college is the green cover it encompasses in and around the campus. Chennai's heat would not be felt if I come inside the campus. There are numerous trees present inside the campus with some cross breeds too.

Though, still I didn't get the right time to visit it yet. The Church hosts Mass prayers each month and also during festivals.

Friday, 12 April 2013

K --- Kollywood!

It sounds like Hollywood isn't it? Yes it is actually true, partly. Kollywood is the Tamil film industry or also known as the Chennai film industry. The name Kollywood comes from Kodambakkam, (area in Chennai) where Films are produced and Hollywood. It is the second biggest film industry compared to Bollywood (Hindi) in India. But if you ask me, Kollywood can be both entertaining and experimental, where the latter is gaining popularity and people here seem to like it, whereas Bollywood aims for entertainment mostly with the exception of a few really good movies. This is just my thought :)

The previous post for J where I had mentioned about Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha were formerly active in Kollywood as screenwriter and actress respectively.

Kollywood has seen a great number of genuinely good and realistic movies. It may not have the cutting edge technology as much as Hollywood has, but it mainly scores in the drama section. However a lot different genres have explored such as thriller, comedy, horror etc;

In 2010, an attempt was made to produce a real action movie with all computer graphics work. It turned out to be the one of the most grossing Indian films. That was Rajinikanth's Endhiran. May be you would have heard about it. It was all over the news and it broke many records. Though the movie did not have that impressive graphics (I have seen far greater ones like Transformers) but it took Indian cinema to new heights.

The people are crazy about cinema and each actor has his own fan base. And the funny thing is, rival actors would be friends but their followers keep fighting over which actor is best. Online debates would happen. It is real fun to view these fights as a silent spectator. Kollywood is gaining international attention slowly. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

J --- Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi!

Well, these two people 'play' the politics in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. These two people always come in pair.......I meant in the sense "rivalry in politics". I am not a fan of politics and not that much interested. I just tune into news due to my father's pestering.

Jayalalitha- Image source: Hindu
Karunanidhi- Image source: Hindu
Interestingly, both these political people have had experience in the film industry of Tamil Nadu. While Jayalalitha was a former actress who acted with late MGR, who was the one who started the political party, now headed by Ms. Jaya, Karunanidhi penned screenplays and dialogues for movies in the 1950s and even now. Karunanidhi was the head of the rival party. For much of the time period from 1969, K's party administered Tamil Nadu with some gaps filled by J's party.

At present, Ms. Jayalalitha is the Chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The usual thing goes on here too. Each party accuses the other of something or the other. But as I said, I don't know much about it. But Chennai is peaceful and safer to live compared to the other cities. One of the fastest developing cities, low crime and rape rates, safer with a diverse and happy population, with shades of both Modern and Traditional also having a strong cultural background. Overall, Chennai is the Best! (my opinion)

 P.S: The pictures are arranged in the above manner that would be understood by our people. It would be like Ms. Jayalalitha mocking Mr. Karunanidhi after she won the elections last year for the post of Chief Minister. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I --- I.I.T Madras!

IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras is one of the 15 premium institutions (colleges) located in the country. Established in 1959, this institution imparts knowledge and many other things to its students. IIT Madras is located just in the arterial Sardar Patel Road, only a few minutes walk from Gandhi Mandapam and Guindy Park. You would know the aforementioned places if you had read my post
on G . :P

The entry into this institution is damn tough.
Students can get admission into these institutions by writing a nation wide exam called JEE. It is said to be one of the toughest examinations ever held. Each year thousands of students compete for the exam and only a mere around 9k are awarded admission. Such is the competition. The students in here like "one unique class" and have high level of thinking. A major share of students start preparing for this exam while they are still in 9th grade itself. Students can do enggineering, management and anything related to science. I too, thinking I am brilliant, prepared for this exam. But alas, not only I understood none of the concepts but my school grades also plummeted down. Now, when I think about it, I am lucky not to have joined it. I realised I have no interest in engineering. Else I would have suffered as most of my friends are, right now :P.

The IIT Madras campus is very big and located inside a forest like setting. I have been there once for a cultural festival. Spotted deer and monkeys could be spotted occasionally. As I am an not of this institution I can't tell much more :P. But I can tell this. This is one of the best institutions in the country. :)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H --- Hot and Humid!

Yes, that is the climate that best describes my Chennai. There are two main seasons : Summer and the monsoon. There is also winter but it is only for a short period of time. I agree that most people in India don't like Chennai owing to the weather it experiences. But we Chennaites have got used to it. Being close to the sea and lying some what closer to the equator, Chennai experiences moderately hot and humid climate. In the months of December, January and February the weather is pleasant.

After all, Hot is just another type of climate and we must learn to enjoy it, unlike certain people who have stupid pre-conceived notions. I agree, at first the heat is unbearable. This post aims at giving some tips on how to enjoy your time in Chennai.

1. Wear light clothes. Some people have no dressing sense. They think they are in America and wear layers of clothing. *Facepalm*... fashion it seems.

2. Cotton is must preferred and useful in here. Synthetic will burn your skin.

3. Carry adequate water bottles and if possible wear a pair of sunglasses. It really helps from glaring.

I think that is about it. Stop in a nearby juice shop and buy a fresh fruit juice. That is what I do.  Atleast Chennai is not that hot as the Arabian countries. An interesting piece of info: People in TamilNadu, for centuries have been wearing Dhotis (men) and Sarees (women) etc; This is the most comfortable kind of clothing to wear in this weather. Our elders follow something for a reason. But hardly any people understand that. What once was worn everywhere, even while travelling, is now looked down and now worn only for traditional functions and in some cases inside house. This list includes me also. One possible reason is influence from the Western world (no offence).

That is all for the day. And oh, before I sign off, I want to add another thing too.
I think Sarees are the most beautiful, sexy dresses made for women (no straps or gowns or coats or chudidhaars or anything). Yet they exuberate of dignity and respect. :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

G --- Gandhi Mandapam and Guindy Park!

Everyone in this world knows Mahatma Gandhi. He was the main man who helped in getting independence for India following his famous non-violent and civil disobedience movements. Mandapam is nothing but another word for memorial. This memorial is situated in one of the important roads (Sardar Patel road) in Adyar, just near to Anna University and Guindy national park. The memorial is surrounded with lush grass.
Image source: thehindu.com
But apart from Gandhi's memorial which was built in 1956, there are also Rajagopalachari's (India's first governor general after Independence) memorial, Kamaraj's (TamilNadu's first chief minister).

The  place does not really have anything to see but inside the memorial there are many paintings around the wall, along with certain writings and incscriptions. The place gives a sense of calm to you. If you are interested in history and a nice place to learn do visit this memorial.

Entrance of park: My click
Also visit the nearby Guindy National Park which is one of the few national parks situated inside the city itself. I recommend you to go to this place. It is awesome. Essentially, this area in the city has got the maximum green cover and many animals can be found such as spotted deer, emu, Indian peacock etc;

The park is really beautiful and the thing about it is it provides a totally different refreshing atmosphere than the city's hot one. I can talk about it more and believe me I want to, but I can't afford to destroy your patience :) Have a good day!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

F --- Filter Coffee!

As you can see in the picture this is coffee. Maybe you are drinking it while reading this post. Let me tell you more about this drink. There is a difference (most probably) between the one in the picture and the one you might be drinking now. Filter coffee is prepared by a method in which the water passes through the filter only due to gravity and not due to external factors. I might not know all the details considering that I have never prepared coffee 'manually' but I do know that it is the best coffee, far much much better than what is served at restaurants or cafes.  All I know is that my mom uses a two part cylinder like vessel with a filter in the middle separating the top and bottom wherein the bottom part collects the filter, which later is mixed with and sugar. My mom has this magic of perfect brewing and the right proportions of filter and milk.

Filter coffee - Image source: wikipedia.org
Chennai is known for its coffee shops, no, not the cafes. Apart from that, there are shops that sell coffee beans to the people. The people here prefer and like to make their own coffee. Nothing can beat the taste of home made coffee. Instant coffee - nah, I don't like that much. Infact, I have bunked last periods of college just to have a cup of coffee within that stipulated time (6 PM).  

Filter Coffee is aromatic, hot, relishing and energising. You couple that with some snacks. You experience the best feeling. 

Contrary to popular belief, Filter coffee is very good for health. Due to the caffeine present in it, it helps us being active all day. This could be substituted for Red Bull. :P

Friday, 5 April 2013

E --- Elliots Beach!

The Elliots beach is located in South Chennai. It is more popularly know as Besant Nagar Beach (an area in Chennai) or Bessie. This beach is a popular hangout place among college students, loving couples in particular. You can spot them holding hands and walking together or huddled together glued in romantic talk. This part of Chennai houses mostly higher class people (in my opinion). This is proved by the kind of vehicles and bikes you get to see. I have seen Audis, BMWs, Mercedes and even a Ducati which is hard to spot normally in Chennai. If you happen to visit it on a weekend, the place is crowded with these couples and also singles with their friends, especially in the evenings.
Schmidt Memorial-
Image source: wikipedia.org

The name Elliots comes from Edward Elliots who was a governor of Madras before Independence. A famous landmark found in this beach is the Karl Schmidt memorial which looks like a gateway. This was built in memory of a Dutch sailor who lost his life saving a drowning swimmer.

On the other side of the beach, the road is lined with numerous restaurants and cafes. A lot of tourists are also spotted here. During festival times, the beach is packed. The beach serves as an apt locale for taking some nice photographs.

Do visit this place to enjoy the nature's beauty.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

D --- Dosa!

Dosa is a staple food in South India which can be taken for breakfast or dinner and in my case strangely even for lunch. Chennai is known for dosas. Not only Chennai, all around South India but in particular Tamil Nadu. If you want to know the technical details about its composition, here it is: Dosa is a fermented pancake made from rice batter.  It is also present in south east Asian places such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Dosa - Image source: wikipedia.org
The dosa comes with many side dishes but the most common are sambhar, coconut chutney, green and red chutney. I bet you wouldn't have heard of these words. Sambhar is a vegetable stew with a tamarind base. It has many variations based on the place but the best taste can be found in Tamil Nadu. The description may be weird to you but if you try it, you won't regret. I guarantee that :). As for coconut, green and red chutneys, they are dishes which look like creamy paste made from coconut, green mint leaves (Pudina), tomato respectively.

But if you ask me, dosas can be taken with anything such as jam, milkmaid, nutella, paneer butter masala (tandoori dish) and even sugar. The main thing for dosas to be delicious is that they must be fermented, else you won't like it. Chennai's hotels are famed for their hot, crispy but soft dosas. If you ever come to Chennai, do try some of the top south Indian restaurants like Saravana Bhavan, Sangeetha, Vasantha Bhavan etc; There are many hotels in Chennai that serve dosas. These hotels are the most famed. In the current situation and level of inflation prevailing in India, a dosa costs about Rs 40 /- (0.74 U.S $).

In my opinion, the best dosas are made at home. Also, obviously they are healthy and cost-free :P
There are different kinds of dosas available like : Onion dosa, masala dosa (inside would be filled with delicious mashed potatoes), Ghee roast etc;

Do try a Dosa when you come to Chennai. :)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C --- Chennai Central and Cooum!

These two names are known to all the residents of Chennai. If not, he/she is not a Chennaite. The funny thing, though, is that both these are strikingly contrasting.

Image source: trekearth.com
Chennai Central is the main railway terminus present in the city. You may ask what is so special about this place. Chennai Central is a very famous landmark known in South India and served as a kind of gateway to other places in the south, that is, those people who wished (in British Times) to tour south India have to go past Chennai Central to reach their destination. The terminus connects to every part of India and is an important junction. It is also one of the oldest and busiest railway stations in the country. The 138 year old beauty was designed by architect, Irwin Harding. Indeed, he did a wonderful job. Also the government ensures it looks magnificent all year by repainting it often. The grand building in brilliant shades of sandstone red and white is built in the Gothic Revival style. Declared as a heritage building which also has a clock tower, I smile inwardly every time I leave Chennai by train. Of course there are cleanliness issues. Some parts of the station stinks with the stench of urine. But then, Chennai Central is the relatively more cleaner station than its other counterparts. Now think of those
stations. :P. Central has also played major roles in many movies.

Cooum - Image source: thehindu.in 
  Now coming to the second name, this is rather notorious in Chennai. The Cooum is a small river that meanders like a snake through the city. During the Raj, the Cooum was once clean, to the extent that it was used for boating purposes. But after the 1960's the river has undergone terrible and beyond worse pollution. It is the only thing in Chennai which destroys the otherwise Charming image it should get. The river's stench is unbearable. This is due to various disgusting activities.

But people got used to it and continue the illicit things, still. I am looking forward for the measures (Rs 2600 crore project- to clean the river) announced by the government, hoping it would be put to action. I am still waiting for that day to ride in a boat along the cooum.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B --- Bombardment Of Madras!

I couldn't come up with a topic for B for a long time. This one seemed to interest me and I am sure it would interest you too. Most people in Chennai themselves are unlikely to know about this. I, myself, knew only the gist (just that Madras was once bombed) of the topic. Only recently, I learnt the whole story. Yes, the title says it all. Chennai was bombarded once upon a time. This bombardment happened during the world war I, initiated by the german light cruiser Emden on the 22nd night of September of 1914.

Oil tanks on fire. Image source: wikipedia

The Emden ship commanded by Captain Karl von Muller, upon whose orders, fire was opened at the large oil tanks present in the then Madras Harbour. After that, a merchant ship was targeted next. Casualties were mainly from that ship. Many sailors and part of the crew were either injured or killed. By the next half hour the British responded but the Germans escaped. Thousands fled the city.

To tell the truth, there is little information available on this topic. This post is largely sourced from wikipedia.
The reason I wanted to share this post was to spread the news that Chennai had once been attacked by a foreign nation. We have seen that only in Hollywood movies, till now. Well, mostly. It is kinda amazing also weird to know that my city was also attacked by a ship. We would never think that it could happen to us.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A --- Anna Salai!

It gives me great pleasure to take up the A-Z challenge. For a long time, I was trying to come up with an idea for a theme to blog upon the 26 days (letters) of April. After giving much thought, I decided to blog about the things, areas, places, celebrities and what-not related to my hometown, Chennai (former name: Madras). 

Part of Anna Salai -
Image source: http://www.hindu.com/
For those who don't know where Chennai is, it is a charming city located in the southern state of India, TamilNadu. It is also one of the four metros in the country, the other three being- New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. 

Now enough with the introduction. For the first letter A, I decided to talk about the most, most important road in Chennai - Anna Salai. But the more popular and commonly and also formerly used name by Chennaites is Mount Road. The name Mount comes from St. Thomas Mount, the Apostle who is believed to have matyrdom here in Chennai. 

There are some words which when pronounced gives you a powerful feeling. For example: The
F-word in English. Try it for yourself. A powerful feeling exuberates from yourself. I am not implying Anna salai is bad as the F-word. I meant only the stress you give when you say the word. This road is famous and anyone coming to Chennai must know about it. It is also old almost 400 years old. There is much history connected to it but I am not going to bore you with it. 

The End points of Anna Salai are the red circles. Google Maps
 This road is a host to major business and corporate offices. Also, much of the city's star hotels are located in this busy road such as Le Royal Meridien, Taj Connemara etc and many more. Some of the important buildings in this stretch are: American Consulate, The British Council, The LIC building (In the pic), Higginbotham's (India's oldest Bookstore), Spencer Plaza (oldest shopping mall built by the British) etc; 
This road also experiences intense traffic during peak hours, thereby the cause of many careless accidents. 

That's all for today. I am trying my best to cut short the length of my post, lest it could bore people :)


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