Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Snapshot From Chennai!

It is a hot summer morning. In Chennai, that doesn't deter people from stepping out. They are busy shopping, running errands, commuting to work, or hawking their wares. Some are walking with umbrellas and caps to keep the sun away.

This is a bustling neighbourhood, the skyline dominated by the ornate gopuram of the ancient Marundeeswarar Temple. A heavily fenced temple tank, and stalls selling flowers, fruits and puja items complete the picture.

Interspersed with the temple scenario are all kinds of shops, restaurants, small businesses, residential buildings, and offices. I am on my way to the bank when I spot a huge orange-coloured figure in the courtyard of the temple. Increased activity and decorations around the area tell me that the temple is hosting some festival. I make a note to come and take a look after I am done at the bank. I have other errands lined up for the morning so it will have to be a brief stop, but I want to do it.

A little while later, I am at the imposing gate of the temple. The large image is set in the entrance corridor. It stands on a platform that in turn is resting on two long horizontal poles. People will lift the poles on their shoulders and take the idol in a procession around the temple. But clearly it is not yet time. The palanquin bearers are waiting on the side, perched on one of the long poles.

Somebody is distributing prasad--that looks like pongal to me--amongst the visitors. Many people are lounging under the brightly painted designs on the ceiling of the corridor. Women in colourful sarees, with fragrant strings of flowers in their hair are buzzing about, gazing in wonder at the pot-bellied idol, collecting the prasad on a leaf plate,or just squatting on the floor soaking in the atmosphere. The men are either in casual wear or veshtis. Two more large idols--one of them is the Nandi Bull--are set on a side. Perhaps they have had their turn of going around on the palanquin, or they will go later.

The whole scene is far removed from the world outside, where it is a normal day and people are at work. This is a tranquil oasis with old-world, unhurried charm. This is quintessentially Chennai, allowing both worlds to co-exist naturally and happily in its bosom.

Resisting my urge to linger for a little longer, I make my way out, but not before taking a picture of the resplendent God.


  1. I liked your spontaneous but detailed description.

  2. Lata great narration as normal for you. Short but very informative blog that has a link with the traditional way of life with the current busy world. The fact is the whole scene touched you and you took a break from your routine to visit the place is great. Keep us informed as usually you do.