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Vol. XXVII No. 19, January 16-31, 2018

Mylapore celebrates

- Vincent D’Souza

There was more than kolam-s

The annual Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival, held every year in the precincts of the Sri Kapali Temple on the eve of the Pongal festival, is no more a neighbourhood cultural festival. It draws people from across the city, is widely followed online, and stories of its life have reached far and wide. The flagship event, the two kolam contests held on the weekend on one end of North Mada Street, saw participants from Tambaram and Thiruverkadu, from Vadapalani and West Mambalam.

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Folk dancers in the Kapali temple

Also, Frenchwoman Chantal Jumel who has been here for at least four festivals, because she keenly records the kolam-s as part of her long-term study, flew in on time this year to not only be at the Mylapore Festival but also roam the inner streets of the area to look for intricate kolam designs during this Margazhi season.
Two Japanese journalists also flew in to be here – they had heard about the popular kolam contests and are working on a feature on kolam-s.

The four-day festival hosted over 35 events at ten different venues and the 16th edition was as popular as the previous ones.

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The young sang with joy in the Nageswara Rao Park.

When scholar-writer Dr. Chithra Madhavan started her ‘Temples of Mylapore’ Walk for the festival weekend, there were at 6:30 a.m. close to 90 people at Sri Madhava Perumal Temple, the start point.

And on one evening of the stage performances, when the lights were switched on for the Tamil play Andha Naal based on late Veena S. Balachander’s script for his classic film starring Sivaji Ganesan, over 30 children crowded on the smaller stage at the Main Stage area and watched the play through its 55 minutes. Beyond them were some 500 people.

Clearly, performances in a public heritage precinct and in the open attract a huge and diverse audience.

Also, hawkers, street food vendors and the like are treating this Festival as their own. They also set up stalls, illuminated their spots and added to the atmosphere.

If there was one big complaint from people who attended the fest, it was against the traffic.

Their suggestion: Get the Chennai Traffic Police to regulate or bar vehicles on one section of the Mada streets around Sri Kapali Temple – the festival’s focus zone – to allow people to enjoy the cultural festival in peace.

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  1. Srinivasan says:

    Good work of reminding the past history of Madras. Keep it up.

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