Faces of Triplicane – Chennai
Triplicane or Tiruvallikeni as it was known in the Puranic age is one of the oldest villages that is a part of the Madras (Chennai) city today . It is in fact older than the city itself. Located just half a km from the Bay of Bengal coast and Fort St George , it is today synonymous with the Parthasarthy Temple and the agraharams where the Brahmin community lives till date . The name Tiruvallikeni or Tiruallikeni refers to the lotus pond in front of the temple. The place was also referred to as Vrundha-raNyam (beautiful garden) in Puranic scriptures.Today, it is a maze of narrow lanes and alleys, each having a character of its own.
Initially Triplicane was a part of Mylapore suburb sandwiched between the temple township and the Chepauk palace. Besides the Parthasarthy temple, the place is famous for the Chepauk stadium, the Amir Mahal, the home of the Nawab of Arcot, who lives there to this day. Near Amir Mahal is the Wallajah mosque also known as Badi Masjid or the Big Mosque built by the Nawabs.
Nobel prize winner Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar attended the Hindu High School (1922-1925) in Triplicane. Subramanya Bharathy, the freedom fighter and poet, lived his last years in a house there; the house has since been bought and renovated by the Government of Tamil Nadu (in 1993), and named Bharathiyar Illam (Home of Bharathiyar).
We started an early morning photo walk at Triplicane from the Parthasarthy Temple. A sort of a field trip, we were clicking images of the locality. People and homes have always been my twin fascination and so I began clicking away. But before that – a little bit of legend
The Parthasarthy temple built in the 8th century is considered to be one of the 108 divadesams or the abode of Lord Vishnu . The name ‘Parthasarathy’, in Sanskrit, means the ‘charioteer of Arjuna’ as Partha is another name for Arjuna. and Sarathy means charioteer. The legend says that this is where the Lord gave darshan to King Sumathi in the form of Parthasarthy .
The interesting aspect of this deity is that the face is scarred by the arrows that have been hurled during the Kuruskshetra war. Scholars suggest that the Pallavas built it as early as the 8th century. However, additions and renovations were constantly made over the next four centuries by the Pandyas and Cholas and the Vijayanagar kings.
A walk around the lanes only reflect the traditions and the old world charm that is still retained in the four main streets around the temple. Triplicane is called the Bachelors Paradise of Chennai. The locality has a large number of mansions – a local synonym for guest houses.Think food and think Triplicane.
Be it messes, cafes , idli shops or bhavans, Triplicane gives you great food for thought.While this post is more to do with the faces of Triplicane, the following post will showcase some of the old houses and the lifestyle followed probably 200 or more years ago .