Selective Amnesia There was a point to this. But I forgot.


The fortyninth Chennai PhotoWalk

Srinath/Ram N bring you this latest Chennai Photowalk. Great route I should say. And right in the backyard of my old home, and a place/area I know pretty well.

Here’s the call.

The May edition of the walk is here. This time we hit the areas in and around Purasawalkam. In fact there are so many interesting sights over here that we have planned to have the next few walks in the same area to do justice to the place. For starters this is what’s in store:

We start at Sydenhams Road (Now Called Raja Muthiah Road on the side of Ripon Building), enter Vepery High Road, take a right at the junction and enter EVK Sampath Road, continue straight and take a left at Purasawalkam High Road. The walk ends at Doveton Cafe where we can feast ourselves to some awesome breakfast!

This walk has an interesting confluence of cultures. We will be passing by Periamet Mosque, Baynes Baptist Church, Jain Temple, Mathais Church, Narayana Guru Temple. Not to mention TN Veterinary College and the Doveton Clock Tower.

Being summer we would like to start the walk early and finish early (the heat can be sapping). We request all of you to be on time.

Day 13th May 2012
Time 6:00AM
Starting Point: Sydenhams Road (Near Ripon Building)
Ending Point: Doveton Cafe

If you need directions contact – Srinath (9962510275) or Ram (9444062684)

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Madras Week Specials: The fortysecond and fortythird Chennai PhotoWalks

Right. This post is about 5 days late, so I shall keep this short.
Special Walk #2 for Madras Week, and the fortysecond Chennai Photowalk is on this Saturday, 27th August 2011.
We walk from the Pachayappa’s College gate, and along Poonamalle High Road, into Dr. Guruswamy Road, hit Pachayappa College Hostel Road and Chetpet Station, exiting on to Taylor’s Road. As the crow flies, it’s a pretty short route. As Madrasis walk, well, it is not bad at all. About 2.4 kms of art deco houses, post-art-deco houses, lovely quiet tree lined roads, and more.
Besides, the route I have has a superb benefit, that far outweighs every other Chennai PhotoWalk routes in the past: it’s quite literally next door to me.

There you go.
Date: Saturday, 27th August 2011.
Time: 5:45 AM (that’s 5:45 in the morning.)
Meet at: Pachayappa’s College gate/Petrol pump



Special Walk #3 for Madras Week, and the fortythird Chennai PhotoWalk is on this coming Sunday, the 28th August 2011.
Lovely straight stretch of Madras’ principal road. We walk from the Thousand Lights Mosque all the way up to the corner of Mount Road and Dams Road at Tarapore Towers. 2.4 kms of everything that’s nice about Madras. Shops, people, traffic, art-deco, Indo-Saracenic, 60s modernistic grey concrete, and much more. And loadsa history, and some geography too. It’s all here, on this walk. So come.

Date: Sunday 28th August 2011
Time: 6:45 AM (yes, morning on a Sunday.)
Meet at: Thousand Lights mosque.

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Madras Week Special: The fortyfirst, fortysecond and fortythird Chennai PhotoWalks

Well, what do you know. It’s August again. And that means Madras Day, Madras Week and a minimum of 3 Madras Week Special PhotoWalks.
I am hoping I get better and back on my feet soon, because even I cannot resist these walks I have in my mind. So here goes.

Walk1: August 21, 2011: 7 AM to 9 AM (Sunday)
Royapettah Clock Tower to Chepauk Palace (via Zam Bazaar)

Walk 2: August 27, 2011: 6 AM to 8 AM (Saturday)
Pachayappa’s College to Taylor’s Road via McNichol’s Road and Chetpet station

Walk 3: August 28, 2011: 7 AM to 9 AM (Sunday)
Thousand Light to Tarapore Towers along Mount Road.

More details and reminders, history, topography and such soon. Stay tuned, and get ready.

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The thirtyeight-th and thirtyninth Chennai PhotoWalk

February 2011 was a low month for me. Among many disappointments, the worst was that I couldn’t organise a photowalk for reasons absolutely not in my control. One more reason to hate the UK Border Agency.

SO, to make up and to spice things up, and because it is after all Mad March, two photowalks from the price of, well, two photowalks.

the 38th Chennai PhotoWalk. Satuday March 12, 2011. Thiruvotriyur and Environs. 6 AM.

New devotee in an old temple Monochromatica

The Thyagaraja Swamy temple in Thiruvotriyur is a Pallava creation. But as in most temples of Madras, the Cholas and the Vijayanagaras aren’t content to merely live and let live, and have to necessarily fix broken temples and make them bigger, better. And this is what we’ll see on March 12 2011. Thiruvotriyur as a village is as old as time, and has been occupied nearly continuously through all prehistory and history.

Or well, that’s the story I am going to tell and stick to it. You’re welcome to come and disagree with me. Just come. Walk with us. And see a part of Madras I bet less than half you young ones have seen before in your life.

Thiruvotriyur is also famous for being on the sea front. The shoreline has been receding quite dangerously over the last 50 years. Breakwaters and groyenes are helping keep the fury of the sea at bay (see? Nice subtle pun there) and are superb photo-ops as well.
As is the graveyard temple of Pattinathar.

First of the March 2011 walks, then, on the 12th, in Thiruovtriyur. Start point: The Thiruvotriyur Thyagaraja swamy temple East gopuram at 6 AM.

The 39th Chennai Photowalk. Sunday March 20 2011. Guindy Race Course (possibly) and environs. 7:30 AM

Another of those old-as-time localities, Guindy must also have been occupied by humans throughout prehistory. And history. With dense forests (fed by the Adayar river, in its pre-open sewer state) and on gentle rising land (Madras’ elevation goes up gradually, west and south of the beach that defines it) rich with game and rocky outcrops that provided shelter, Adayar, Guindy, Saidapet and Pallavaram/St. Thomas Mount were all superb candidates for human colonisation. Which is perhaps why, legend or myth, St. Thomas is said to have lived on his hill, preached in Saidapet’s Little Mount and Marina just north of the river mouth.

Be that as it may, Guindy is a superb location for a walk, and a part of Madras I haven’t exploited much for these little jaunts. I’m trying to get us all into the Race Course. A coup it might be, but not the end of the world by any means. Guindy has other treasures for us. The lovely King’s Institute and gardens, with its rambling and crumbling old buildings, the bend of the river Adayar with its superb view across the industrial estate, Hotel Zen Gardens, and many new and old things to shoot.

SO that’s the plan. Sunday, March 20 2011, at 7:30 AM. Start point: Guindy Railway station

As always, for information and directions, email me or call 988four4six7463
Update: Apologies to those reading this off the feeds. Note: 39th Walk is on Sunday March 20, not the 19th.


The thirtysixth Chennai PhotoWalk

Well, what do you know. It is the prodigal son’s return to planning and organising the Chennai PhotoWalks. Rejoice. And kill the goat. Set the table.
This month, December 2010, is going to be special for the Chennai PhotoWalk. Not just because we’ve done 3 years of it, a walk everymonth except for September 2009. Not just because it’s now so big, other people are calling in and asking us to judge photo competitions and asking to buy photos off us. Not just because Chennai PhotoWalk is easily the best of the city’s heritage/history/art walks. Mainly because, well, I am back.

So, as a special treat, and because I am a sadist bastard that way, an extra long, superbly diverse walk this December.

The plan is we all assemble, Sunday 19th December 2010, at 10:30 AM at the Mylapore MRTS station. I don’t care how you get there or what you do before you get there. Just get to Mylapore MRTS station by 10:30 AM and wait for me.
I shall be there shortly after 10:31. We’ll all then get on the train, and go all the way across Madras, following for most parts the line of the coast, to reach Beach station. Along the way, we will spot lovely photo-worthy things, including the new Secretariat building in Triplicane, and the wonderfully empty Sunday-Morning Mount Road.

Once we reach Beach station, we alight, and then cross platforms to board the Tambaram bound train.
We take the Beach-Tambaram train, travel for about an hour, alighting at Tambaram station.
Now, the walky portion of the walk starts.
Around the station in Tambaram are some good little places. The MCC is good, and big. Pretty old too, all 360+ acres of it. Some lovely architecture and beautiful wooded campus. (Incidentally, my father studied at the MCC, and was captain of the Bishop Heber Hall hockey team) And outside the MCC, there is still good photo-ops, including a neat little market and some old houses not far off.

When we are all sated with photos from Tambaram, we board the train again, and go our separate ways, taking back lovely memories and the joy that comes with being in my company.
All good?

So, the plan

Sunday, 19th December 2010, 10:30 AM
Mylapore MRTS - Beach – Tambaram, via train
Tambaram and environs, walk.
And then home.

For directions, and for general pestering, call Vatsan at 944499945six/950007017six. TO bask in the life-giving warmth that is my voice, call 9884four6746three.

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The thirtysecond Chennai PhotoWalk

Vatsan writes in.

This walk is along a classic Chennai route. It begins outside the Pallavan Headquarters opposite Gymkhana Club and near the Chindadripet railway station. Then we proceed to walk down past the new Secretariat, crossing the historic Simpson building, Kasturi & Sons, P Orr and Sons and the Daily Mail office. Finally the Bata Showroom, where Douglas Jardine, presumably* stayed while traveling to Australia for the Bodyline series. Beyond that is the Barath Insurance Building, which just got a new lease of life since the courts issued a stay order against its demolition. Finally, ending the walk near Augurchand Mansion opposite Spencers plaza.

Date: 24th July 2010
Time: 7 am
Meeting Point: Outside Pallavan Headquarters Mount Road
And incase anyone is lost please contact me on 9500070176/9444999456 or mail me @

PS: 24th July also happens to be the Worldwide Photowalk, and the Chennai Photowalk is a part of it.

*Um, not presumably. Factually. He and his team did stay at the D’Angeli’s hotel which was taken over by the Bosotto Bros, which company either became bankrupt or defunct, (though, they had (or still have) an outlet on Nungambakkam High Road, if my memory serves me right.) and the building became the Bata Showroom.

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The thirtieth Chennai PhotoWalk

Vatsan does indeed, both literally and conceptually, follow in my footsteps. This month’s photowalk begins where the 2nd and the 13th photowalk end.

Here are the pertinent details. From the horse’s mouth.

This is a quasi repeat of the 2nd Chennai walk. It is a classic Chennai Route. This walk begins at the War Memorial outside Island Grounds. The aim is to shoot that and then walk down the marina beach, hopefully capturing images of Napier Bridge and then cross the Samadhis of Anna And MGR before ending the walk hopefully somewhere near Kannagi Statue. This route is littered with examples Indo Saracenic architecture and there the backdrop of the recently opened Secretariat.

The only change is that considering its peak summer, this has to be an evening walk. There will be the setting sun in the Horizon when viewed from Napier bridge making for some wonderful shots.

Date: 23rd May
Time: 17.00 Hrs
Starting Point: War Memorial

And as usual if your lost/have questions contact Vatsan via email at or mobile phones 9444999456 or 95000 70176

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