Sunday, October 14, 2012

Another town, another temple(s)

Chintadripet - the name evolving from chinna thari pettai (சின்ன தறி பேட்டை), the 'village of small looms' - was one of the earliest 'planned' localities of Madras. As the name suggests, it was also heavily involved in the clothe trade that Madras was founded upon. Whereas the first wave of weavers, dyers, washermen and the like, who were brought in by Beri Thimmappa, were settled to the north of Fort St George grouped by their work or caste, Chintadripet was intended to be a more mixed locality. 

However, there was one aspect of the older locale that was incorporated into the new settlement as well. Audiappa Narayana Chetty ('Vennala Narran Chitty', as the British said) was one of the two dubashes administering the settlement. He brought in the 'Town Temple' concept and replicated the Chenna Kesavaperumal and Chenna Malleswarar in Chintadripet. The idols of both Adhi Kesava Perumal and Adhipureeswarar are installed in this complex - and inside, Adhi Lakshmi has a separate shrine of her own.

Going through the pushing and shoving of the crowds of Chintadripet, you'd little expect to find such an oasis of calm. Most of the structures in the temple are from its origins, in the mid-1700s. The newest one seems to be that green door on the left, to house the temple car; and its date is recorded as 1901. You can be sure of going back in time inside this temple!

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