Madras Day: Here are the best events you need to attend in Chennai to celebrate its heritage
To borrow from the cliché, Chennai is a city, while Madras is an emotion. Celebrating the emotion behind the birth of the city, every year, old Chennaiites and new, gather to celebrate by soaking themselves in the heritage the city has to offer. From tours of heritage buildings and tracing the roots of specific communities in the city to food walks and shopping melas, in addition to music and dance performances, the air in the city during Madras Week (being celebrated from Aug 19 to Aug 26 this year) is festive and fun. As the grand old city turns 379 this year, we take a look at some events that made it to our to-do list, and should surely make it to yours.
The city, in short
If you want to take a wholesome look at what makes Madras the beautiful city that it is, make sure you check out artist Pavithra Srinivasan’s miniature sketches. The exhibition, titled Madras Miniatures by Pavithra features over 50 of the artist’s sketches, mostly in black and white, and are usually drawn on canvases under 10 inches tall. The paintings range from heritage buildings like the Central Railway Station to everyday sights like vendors on the Marina beach, and more. On till August 31, 10 am to
6 pm. At DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu.
One, two, tree
Besant Nagar is famed for its green cover, and here’s your chance to get to know the history behind the trees that dot the sidewalks in the locality. Nizhal – Friends of Trees is organising a tree walk in Besant Nagar, this Madras Day. Along with a dose of history, the walk also aims to sensitise citizens to the role played by trees in the environment and what people can do to protect them. On August 18 from 5 pm to 6 pm. Walk starts outside Words and Worths, 2nd Avenue, Besant Nagar. Details: 98406-04912.
Boom boom pav
The gullies of Sowcarpet are crammed with tiny hole-in-the-wall food outlets, which tantalise passersby with the sounds of pav crackling away in hot butter, or that heady aroma of jalebis frying in hot oil. Food lovers can sample some of the best arrays of chaat that the city has to offer, and some badam milk to wash it all down. This food walk through Sowcarpet, organised by Sridhar Venkataraman, offers interesting tidbits of history as well. On August 18 from 5 pm to 7 pm. At Mint Street. No prior registration required. Details: 97909-57208
Cruising the canal
Historian and philatelist D Hemachandra Rao is back with an informative tour of the Buckingham Canal. By foot and van, the tour reveals the sights and sounds of the chief transport channel. Starting at 7.30 am at Mylapore Club, the tour stops at the Central Station Zone, Madras University and the Basin Bridge area, where you can get a closer look at the ever-evolving functions of the canal. On August 19. Rs 150 per head. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10th edition of the Madras Market, a food, music and shopping extravaganza is back with a bang. This year, the festival gets bigger with 120 retail stalls that sell everything from clothes to home décor, 20 exclusive food stalls, a kids play area and workshops like pottery, glass blowing, terracotta jewellery making and more. Don’t miss musical acts like Agam and Rajesh Vaidhya performing live. On August 25 & 26 from 11 am to 8 pm. At YMCA Ground, Perungudi. Entry at Rs 100. Details: 917689-9666.
Grab your popcorn
Looking for movie-night ideas? Watch a screening of An American in Madras, a historical docu-film profiling American filmmaker Ellis R Dungan’s years in India as a director in the Tamil film industry, having helmed films like Sati Leelavati (1936) and Manthiri Kumari (1950). Directed by Karan Bali, the film will be introduced by actor and film historian, Mohan Raman, who is featured in the film himself. On August 22 from 2.30 pm at the US Consulate General Chennai. Details: 2857-4000.
There’s no denying it. Our Anglo-Indian aunties are the best when it comes to cooking a mean pork vindaloo. Sample this and other authentic Anglo-Indian dishes like coconut rice and ball curry, beef biryani and more at The Anglo Indian Craft & Cuisine Fair, being organised by the Ladies Forum. Also at the exhibition will be craft items such as crochet doilies, netted covers, tea cosies and a host of other items. On August 25 from 10 am to 6 pm at St George’s School Campus, Kilpauk. Details: Facebook.
If you’re looking for a chance to put all your heritage walk knowledge to good use, it doesn’t get any
better than The Know Your Madras Quiz, being organised by the ‘chronicler of Madras’, historian
S Muthiah. A two-part quiz, the event is open to citizens of all ages. To register, email
email@example.com or register at the venue, till 2.30 pm. Registration fee: `50.
On August 19 from 3 pm to 5 pm at Madras Literary Society, Nungambakkam.