Vidur’s Travel Diary – 3 : Chennai


VAITHEESWARANKOIL  –  NAGAPATTINAM  –  TAMIL NADU          NOVEMBER  28 , 2011              00 .30 A.M.

I was at Tirupati on November 21 , 22 and 23rd . On 24th November I took Garudeshwar Express from Tirupati and  reached Chennai in the morning . Train reached Chennai Central station . I must admit that Chennai Central station is well-kept and well maintained building .

Chennai Central Station

After checking in Hotel Golden Tower on Periyar road , I immediately booked a cab and went for Chennai sight-seeing  . Though I had visited this city almost 6 years back but that time I was not able to see much as it was Sunday and Chennai was Closed .

First my driver took me to Government Museum . It is a sprawling British era building stablished in 1851 . It is the oldest museum of India .and is well-kept . It has three different sections .

At Chennai Museum Main Gate

Chennai Museum - Exterior

After spending more than 1 hour in the museum , I went to Snake Park . Though park is not related to the snakes in any way and I  don’t like the idea also but the place is named as Snake Park , so I had no option . I am not very fond of reptiles also but still went there . Apart from snakes , it also has crocodile section.

Chennai Snake Park - Crocodile Section

Chennai Snake Park - Exterior

From Snake Park , it was turn of a very different building . During British era it was called Ice Building . Ruling British gentry used to keep ice in the building and used to serve it during the evening to those Englishmen , who came for revelry . Now this building is called Vivekanand House .

Ice House / Vivekanand House

From Ice House we went to Fort St. George , the Vidhan Sabha of Tamilnadu Government . On the way we saw Nappier Bridge , which one has to cross while going to Fort St. George . It was built-in 1869 by Governor Nappier across Cooum river .

Nappier Bridge

After crossing Nappier Bridge , we reached Fort St. George , the administrative headquarters of Tamilnadu government . The Flag Mast , which stands in front of the main building is the tallest in the country . Foundation of the Fort was laid in 1640 . Before that Chennai used to be just two villages ; Madraspattinam and Chennaipattinam . East India Company bought some land from the king of Chandragiri and started building the fort . It took 15 years to be completed and was declared open in 1654 .

Fort St. George in the Background

Fort St. George compound has two very important buildings ; St. Mary Church and the Museum . St Mary Church was stablished in 1680 and is the first church of India .

St. Mary Church - Fort St. George

Fort museum was stablished in 1948 .

Fort St. George Museum

Another British Era structure , situated in between Fort St George and the Museum , is a canopy .

The Canopy

Can any description of Chennai be complete without Marina Beach ? Mile of sand and sky blue , azure sea is beyond words . You have to see the spectacle to believe it .

At Marina Beach with my Wife

We all know about the Samadhis of national leaders in Delhi on the banks of Yamuna river . In Chennai also there are two Samadhis on Marina beach . First Memorial belongs to C. N. Annadurai , the first non – Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and also the first leader of Dravidian party to form a majority government in India . He was also the founder of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] .

Annadurai Memorial at Marina Beach

Another Memorial belongs to MGR , the founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] . He , along with Sivaji Ganesan , was the top most Tamil film star . He broke away from the parent party DMK and in 1972 formed AIADMK and subsequently became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu . He was Chief Minister for two consecutive terms ; 1977 – 1982 and 1982 – 1987 and was the first actor in India to become the Chief Minister of a state .

MGR Memorial at Marina Beach

But journey of Chennai cannot be complete without visiting Adyar river . We north Indians don’t know about this huge river but Adyar flows magnificently and silently in Chennai . Along with Cooum river , Adyar  trifurcates the Chennai city .

Adyar River

After spending just one day in Chennai , I proceeded for Vaitheeswarankoil in Nagapattinam district on November 25th . I will again return to Chennai on November 29th. Chennai is not a remote place that I cannot come here again . I might visit it soon . But who knows ? I might not get another chance ! So I remember a poem of Hindi poet Sachchitanand Hiranand Vatsyayan ” Agyeya ” and finish my travelogue of Chennai .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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