Stroll by means of historical Chennai with Pradeep Chakravarthy. The creator of “Thanjavur: A Cultural Historical past”, Pradeep Chakravarthy has written a number of books which impart life classes from Indian Historical past and Philosophy. On this podcast, Pradeep Chakravarthy provides a walkthrough of historical Chennai. Temples, legends and lores about Chennai are unforgettable and easily surreal!

Etymology of Chennai

Chennai was the land of merchants. It attracted Telugu talking cotton merchants to the traditional Pallava Port. This land was referred to as Chennapatna, which meant “Lovely” in Telugu. Though there are various theories, there isn’t any concrete proof of the origin of the title “Madras”.

It’s mentioned that the Nawab of Arkaut was in want of a financial sum to assist the expenditure of his kingdom. In an effort to increase funds, he began promoting items of land to the British. Quickly the British collected all of the villages and rose the Port metropolis of Madras or Chennai.

Historic Historical past of Chennai

The earliest indicators of habitation was discovered within the Pallavaram area of Chennai. Robert Bruce Foote, discovered Paleolithic stone instruments on this area within the early twentieth century. These instruments date again to 4000 or extra years and provides an attention-grabbing perception to the continual inhabitation of Chennai.

One other website of archeology is the traditional river of Tamraparni. Talked about within the Puranas, Mahabharat and Ramayan, South India’s oldest Bronze picture of a goddess was discovered on this river. 

The Medieval Ages

Within the days of the Pallava and Chola rule, a temple was the centre of exercise. The presiding deity was worshipped because the King and the Temple was a palace. This instilled a way of neighborhood amongst the folks of a village. For instance, The Kodambakkam Shiva Temple was the district headquarters in the course of the Chola Interval.

The oldest current temple of Chennai is the Velachery Saptamatrika temple, relationship again to fifth century CE.

Sadly, aside from temples, there aren’t any current monuments constructed by the Pallavas, Cholas or Pandyas. Kings in these days most well-liked to remain in short-term picket palaces. Solely written information, reminiscent of on the partitions of the Mylapore temple that return a 1000 years exist. One of many them mentions commerce guilds going down in Chennai in the course of the Chola interval. 

The Colonial Interval

Chennai has seen all three colonisers – Portuguese, French and British.

Portuguese have been the primary to ascertain a Port close to Chennai within the late fifteenth century. Later there was a battle between the French and British to annex this port metropolis. After shedding the Anglo-French conflict from 1744-1763, the French have been pressured to handover Chennai to the British.

When the British first colonised India, they wanted a port on the Japanese Coast to manage textile commerce with the remainder of the world. They have been primarily buying and selling cotton and indigo. Chennai was a really enticing area to hold out this commerce.

The Raja of Chandragiri of Vijayanagara Dynasty, gave them a small stretch of land of about 300 sq. kilometre to begin their commerce. The British constructed their fort on this land and began the commerce. That is now the area of the favored Marina Seashore. 

Tamil Literature and Music

In literature and music, one can discover description of assorted villages that shaped Chennai. The Mylapore Kapaleeshwar Swami Temple is a few 1000 years outdated. Appar Swami of this temple, sang verses devoted to Pumbabai, her love for Samathar and her subsequent demise. The verse then invitations her to rise from the useless, to transcend mortal love and embrace the love for Shiva and unfold the beliefs of Shaivism to close and much off locations. 

Kapaleeshwarar Temple at Chennai
Kapaleeshwarar Temple Chennai

explicit verse may be very attention-grabbing because it has an outline of Mylapore area’s wealthy vegetation, the festivals celebrated and the meals ready for the event. Even at present, these festivals are celebrated with the identical, if no more grandeur. Apparently, Pumbabai was the traditional title of the Parvathi murti consecrated within the temple. 

Journey Literature

One other literary supply of Chennai’s historical past is Venkatadhri Kavi’s “Viswagunadarsa”. Written within the seventeenth century, this work is on the Champu metre. This metre is an Indian literary model which mixes prose and poetry. Texts written utilizing Champu metre are present in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and different Indian languages. 

The literary work describes Chennai and different Indian cities by means of the eyes of the 2 gandharvas (celestial beings), Krisanu and Viswavasu. The 2 gandharvas, one an optimist and the opposite a pessimist journey from the South to the North of Bharat Varsha and focus on the influence of the British on India. They focus on politics, tradition, historical past, infrastructural development and doable future. Krisanu, the optimist at all times ends the outline of town on a constructive, hopeful observe. By this work, one will get to know the influence the British had already made by the seventeenth century in Chennai. 

Chennai is an historical metropolis that thrives even at present. Each nook, a hint to the previous connects the traditional world to the current. There’s nonetheless tons to find and discover about this historical past. Take heed to the podcast by Pradeep Chakravarthy for an in depth walkthrough historical Chennai.


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