Monday, 21 August 2017


21th August 2017.
This scheduled walk of “The Arcot Nawabs Trail at Triplicane” kick started on 20th Aug 2017,  after a delay of 20 minutes around 06.20 hrs,  from Madras University entrance on Walajah Road. This walk is a part of Madras day celebrations. Registered for this walk well in advance. Since all the gates except one,  of PWD offices are closed,  reached back side of the Khalsa mahal through small passage. Mr Anwar gifted us a small bottle of “ather”,  a perfume extracted from the natural flowers, which normally used by the Muslims before going to the Mosque and functions. The he started explaining the details of the Kalsa Mahal and Humayun  Mahal. The story of the Nawab’s Chepauk Palace goes like this…  

The Carnatic usually refers to South India, once the power center of various dynasties like Mughals, Marathas, British, French and also The Nawabs of Arcot. This dynasty of Arcot was controlled between Mughals and Marathas during 17th century. Till date the present Prince, Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali holds the seat of power as Arcot and Madras, presently called Chennai as their Home.

At the end of 17th Century, while Marathas are trying to establish their base in South, Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor  wants to overtake Marathas. So he sent Zulfikar Khan, who could not do  anything for about 6 years.  Seeing this the local chieftain Yechamma Nayak had written a  letter to Aurangzeb saying that   Zulfikar Khan is fooling the Emperor and if he is given power, he would defeat Marathas within a weeks time. But the letter some how landed on the hands of Zulfikar Khan. So he called Yechamma Nayak cunningly for a meeting, without revealing, how he got the letter written to the Emperor  and killed him. After Marathas were defeated Zulfikar Khan was recalled to Delhi and also Zulfikar Khan was asked to make Yechamma Nayak's son to the throne. ( This shows that Aurangzeb  knew the feud between Zulfikar Khan & Yechamma Nayak ). Saadatullah Khan or Mohammad Saiyid,  the successor of Zulfikar Khan has become the Nawab of Arcot. 

While the Arcot Nawabs grew, the British East India company also established their strong hold from Fort St. George. The friendship between Nawabs and British also grew slowly. The British supplied liquor and expensive gifts to the Nawab Daud Khan Panni, who was a drunkard. He has the funny character of giving villages in the drunken state and ask British to return back during normal.

Zulfikar Khan’s successor Saadatullah Khan or Mohammad Saiyid wants to suppress the business of British by establishing a Port at Mylapore, but landed at Kovalam. He invited Armenians and Belgium East India Company  for the trading to get more revenue. The Robert Clive and Dupleix  clashed in the wars of carnatic, British won the war and Mohammad Ali Wallajah  came to the Power of Arcot. When Wallajah wants to move to Madras, where there are no friends, asked British to build  his Palace in side the St.George Fort which was turned down. ( There is an another version that the Governor himself asked Wallajah to built a Palace within the fort, which was denied ). A new Palace was built at Chepauk on the banks of River Cooum. The Palace’s north boundary the present Madras University has become the bathing ghat for the Wallajah.

The present Chepauk Palace consists of two blocks namely Khalas Mahal, which was built in mid 1760's  with minaret entrances on west and south and Humayun Mahal with a single story. It was believed that the Khalas Mahal was designed by Paul Benfield.  In the mean time the Khalas Mahal was taken over by the British  for the debt of Wallajah. Robert Chisholm  made alteration in both blocks and converted in to offices for the Revenue board of Governor Lord Napier. The original single story Humayun mahal was added with madras terrace first  floor. Both blocks are inter connected with a 75 feet tall domed and minaret square tower called Records tower in 1870AD, by Robert Chisholm.

Since we are not allowed to enter the Khalas mahal under renovation  and all the gates are closed, we returned back on the same way and headed towards Wallajah Big Mosque.


Khalas Mahal an old Photo – Courtesy : The Hindu & Mr Muhiah  

….. to be continued The Arcot Nawabs Trail at Triplicane – A Heritage walk with Kombai Anwar – Part -II 

Sunday, 20 August 2017


19th August 2017.
This temple on the back side of the Sri Dhanmeeswarar Shiva Temple in MMTC Colony.
The temple is facing east with a 55 feet  5 tier Rajagopuram in the midst of residential area. The temple complex is little big in a 10 ground land. Dwajasthambam, Garudalwar  and Palipedam are in front of Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Sannadhi.  

Sannadhi for Chakkarathalwar, Vedhanthadesikar, SrinivasaPerumal, Alwars, Andal, Ramanujar and Kothandaramar with Anjaneyar ( Visa Anjaneyar – pray to get Visa to US ). Chakkarathalwar sannadhi was built like a chariot with Vedachakra Vimana.  On the back side is Narasimhar seated on a 5 hooded Adisheshan. The Navaneetha Krishnan’s sannadhi is in octagonal shape with  Globe shaped Vimana on the north side the  temple complex with Vaishnava deities wooden panels are fitted  around this sannadhi.  

It was told that the temple  is built in 1974-75 AD, on remnants of a 1500 years pre-Pallava period ruined temple site. ( But as per the legends the temple exists since Thretha Yuga ). During excavation for the new Temple a bell ( with a rare image of sudharsana & Conch on the handle ), a plate, a Lamp, a five and half feet high Mahavishnu with Sridevi & Bhudevi ( as per archeologists of ASI,  this Mahavishnu belongs to 8th century Pallava Period) and an inscription stone ( The inscription speaks about the donation given for burning a perpetual lamp by ”Kaveri Thenkarai Ravichathiran” ). A Holy prayoga chakra was also unearthed during excavation. The unearthed materials with Srinivasaperumal, Sridevi Bhudevi  were shown to Sri  Kanchi Mahaperiyava.  

The Temple accepts donations only from its member and not from the Public.

The temple will be kept opened between 06.30 Hrs to 10.30 Hrs and 16.30 Hrs to 20.30 Hrs.

The temple is in (BV Nagar) MMTC Colony,  Eswaran Koil street of Naganallur, behind Sri Dhanmeeswarar Temple ( Dharmalingeswarar temple ).
Town Buses 52K, 52P, M1A, M18C, S11 buses are running through that area, get down at Vembuli Amman Temple stop and from the temple is about 300 meters.


 Chakkarathalwar Sannadhi 

 Krishnan’s Sannadhi with wooden intrinsically carved images of Perumal avatharas

 Krishnan’s Sannadhi with wooden intrinsically carved images of Perumal avatharas

Saturday, 19 August 2017


19th August 2017.
This 1000 years old, Chozha Period Sri Dhanmeesar, a Shiva temple is at MMTC Colony, a part of Nanganallur, Chennai.

Iraivan  : Sri Dhanmeesar/ Sri Dharmalingeswarar
Iraivi     : Sri Sarvamangalambigai

Some of the important features of this temple are…
The temple is facing east with a 5 tier Rajagopuram and there is a recently constructed rajagopuram on the south side. Dwajasthambam, Palipedam and Nandhi are immediately after the Rajagopuram.

In the outer prakaram sannadhi for Agoraveerabhathirar, Dhanmeesa Vinayagar, Arasamara Vinayagar with Nagars, Sri Valli Devasena Subramaniyar ( Facing west ).

In the inner prakaram sannadhi for Naalvar, Urchavars, Bairavar, Navagrahas, Anjaneyar and Ambal Sarvamangalambigai ( Facing South with Vahana).

The Sanctum sanctorum consists of Sanctum, Arthamandaam and mahamandapam. In koshtam, Vinayagar, Dhakshinamurthy, Mahavishnu, Brahma and Durgai.

A Fragment of old pillar is erected in front of Sanctum, This iis the only remains of the 1000 and odd years old Temple, rest of the old structures has been replaced with latest brick and concrete structure.

As per the history, during Rajaraja Choha’s 6th year rule, 99 CE,  a small king by name Kariyaathithya Chozhan, who ruled  Thenkuruminjur, Mizzhazzhai kottam, south of Kaveri came to this temple for Shiva’s dharshan. He was up set  for non beating of the drum during early morning pooja, due to non availability of man power. So he donated 300 kalanchu fertile land for the drummer to beat during pooja hours and inscribed on the kumudham of the sanctum. This story related stucco images are in the south side Rajagopuram entrance. ( could not find the inscription since except the fragment of a pillar, no other old structure is available Now).

The temple kept opened between 06.30 hrs to 0.30 Hrs and 7.00 hrs to 20.30 Hrs.

The managing committee may be contacted for further details. The Secy Murugappan 944429865, Treasurer Natarajan 9840989825 and Asst Secy Sukumar 9444555947.

Town Buses 52K, 52P, M1A, M18C, S11 buses are running through that area, get down at Vembuli Amman Temple stop and from the temple is about 500 meters.


The 2009 AD, photograph taken during Kumbhabhishekam

 The story of a kurunila ( small )  king Kariyaathithya Chozhan’s donation story related stucco

 The story of a kurunila ( small )  king Kariyaathithya Chozhan’s donation story related stucco

 The story of a kurunila ( small )  king Kariyaathithya Chozhan’s donation story related stucco

The story of a kurunila ( small )  king Kariyaathithya Chozhan’s donation story related stucco

The fragment of the Pillar, which reminds the temple is more than 1000 years old.

Friday, 18 August 2017


18th August 2017.
This is an unique Shiva temple with a life size Durga statue in a separate sannadhi on the 4th Main road of Nanganallur near Palavanthangal railway station.

Iraivan : Sri Arthanareeswarar
Iraivi    : Arthanareeswari

Some of the important features of this temple are..
The temple is facing east with a huge pond on the left side and a 5 tier Rajagopuram . In the center of the first level stucco image of Arthanareeswarar. Dwajasthambam, Palai pedam and nandhi are immediately after the Rajagopuram.
The sanctum sanctorum consists of sanctum, arthamandapam and maha mandapam. In koshtam, Vinayagar, Dhakshinamurthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma and Durgai. In Sanctum relief of Arthanareeswarar standing in front of nandhi. Balaganapathy and Balasubramaniyar are in front of sanctum facing Devotees. It was told that the moolavar was unearthed from the temple pond through Sri Kanchi MahaPeriya.   

In the mandapam Sannadhi for Natarajar, Arthanareeswarar, Somaskandhar and Navagrahas.

Ashtabuja Durgai temple is on the back side of the main sanctum with a mandapam. Simha vahanam is in front. Durgai is of about 6 - 7 feet hogh,  holding various weapons as Vishnu Durga. In the upper two hand Durga  holds the conch and discus.

During my Visit to this temple’s front mandapam roof is under construction.

The temple will be kept opened between 06.15 Hrs to 10.30 Hrs and 17.00 hrs to 21.00 hrs.

The temple is on the 4th main Road of Naganallur.
About a KM distance from Palavanthangal sub urban railway station.
The MTC buses route nos 52P, 129C, M18C, M18N, M70N, N45B passes through this temple and get down at either market street or Chidambaram stores bus stop.


 Ashtabuja Durgai 

 Ashtabuja Durgai 



18th August 2017.
Nanganallur has got it’s name from Sri Rajarajeswari as Nangai Nallur, which latter changed to the present name of Nanganallur.
This Varasiddhi Vinayagar Temple is on 2nd Main Road of Ram Nagar, a part of Nanganallur.

Moolavar : Sri Siddhi Vinayagar

The temple is facing east with a 3 tier Rajagopuram. Sannadhis for Kothanda Ramar, Valli Devasena Subramaniyar, Anjaneyar and Navagrahas are in the mandapam.

Though the temple looks new after renovations, is an old temple and it was told that Sri Kanchi Maha Periyavar used to stay in this temple whenever he visits Nanganallur.  The temple activities are being managed by Sri Ganesh Mandali. I had the dharshan of Sri Siddhi Vinayar during, one of the Sunday morning Abhishekam.

The temple will be kept opened between 06.00 hrs to 0.30 Hrs and 7.00 hrs to 2.00 hrs.

Sri Ganesh Mandali, 2nd main Road, Nanagainallur, Chennai 61.

Town Buss 52K, 52L, M70N and M152N passes through 2nd Main Road Nanganallur and get down at Pillayar Koil stop and the temple is about 100 meters.
The Nearest Railway station is Palavanthangal which is about 2 KMs.



Thursday, 17 August 2017


14th August 2017.
Marayoor Heritage Visit  was scheduled on 13th August 2017. With high expectations of Rock Art Paintings and Dolmens of Marayoor, started our travelling from Valapady after our Hero stones and Neolithic Tools heritage visit in the tribal Villages of Kalvarayan hills to Udumalpet on 12th Aug 2017. We travelled via Salem, Erode, Tiruppur and  to Udumalpet.  It  was told that the last bus to Udumalpet from Tiruppur is 22.30 hrs. When we reached Tiruppur it was 23.00 and missed the last bus. But luckily we got the last bus to Valparai and reached Udumalpet, standing all the way around 01.30 Hrs. Mr Santhosh and Nandakumar booked a room and escaped from trouble of searching a room in the dark night. 

It was 09.00hrs on 13th August, 2017 ( scheduled time to depart from Udumalpet to Marayoor ), we gathered at Hotel room after having our breakfast and waited till 11.00 hrs to the last batch of 4 members to arrive. With a delay of 2 hours, we the 16 history enthusiasts started our travel to Marayoor through a Van. All the arrangements for the van and permission from the forest department were obtained by  Mr Sadasivam, a history enthusiast, archaeologist, etc.

This guided tour is being conducted by the Tribal Tracker Eco Development Committee under Anamudi Forest Development agency & Kerala Forest and Wild life Department. After filling up the members list and payment of Rs 300 each, a Tribal guide took us   in side the Chinnar Wild Life Sanctuary.

There are about 25 shelters has the rock paintings of both white kaolin and Red ochre in Anamalai hills area.  Patty means a shelter for the cattle. Shelter might have been used for both humans and cattle.  We had seen the rock paintings in 4 shelters of which two shelters has the white Kaolin paintings  and other two are red ochre paintings. As per the experts, these paintings are estimated to be of 9000 to 10000 years old. The paintings expresses the prehistoric human beings, their culture, the knowledge, worship, customs etc. The paintings contains the images of man, women’s dance, animals like cow, buffalo, Deer, elephant etc. They had shown the wealth of their land in a symbolic way with markings. Some of the signs matches with the Indus script.

In this red ochre art two deers are drawn. The Guide told us that when the horn fallen down, till it grows the skin will become soft and even a thorn will be sufficient to kill it.   The name of the rock shelter is called as Madathala 

 The ritual followed before taking honey from a tree. – in Red Ochre

  Honey Comb -in Red Ochre

 A Man is praying - in Red Ochre

 Dancing ?- in white Kaolin

 The animal is shown with inner organs -in white Kaolin 

The Palm impression in white Kaolin 

On the way to Rock Art Paintings inside the rock shelters, the guide showed us the Dolmens of smaller sizes covered on  three sides and top. The dolmens are in a group maximum of 3, 5 nos etc,.. It was told that each group of dolmens belongs to a family.

The Megalithic period ( Iron age ) Dolmens are erected on this Murugan Hill are 5000 years old ( As per ASI- a certificate is available at Panchayat office).  The Dolmens are of big in size of about 6 feet high (  height is about 1.4 meters to 1.7 meters  and 3.5 meters length),  behind the  Govt High School. It is estimated that at least 2500 to 3000 Dolmenoids erected from the base to the top of the hill. The Dolmenoids has several burial chambers may be belonged to  a single family.  Some of Chambers has the hole like opening either on East or west side. This indicates that the person died during Dakshinayana or uttrayana. It was believed that the dead man’s soul/ sprit will go through these hole like opening. Depending on the status of the dead, stone structure is created around the Dolmen. It is happy to note that the local body had taken interest to protect these dolmenoids and erected fence around them.

 A Dolmen has the white kaolin painting – what is the meaning ?