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* 8 Sep 2021

* 3 March 2022
Madras owes its origin to ‘Maadarasanpattanam’, a small port that existed even before the 9th Century C.E. In the Vijayanagar period, it became a well known port. This is evident from a Vijayanagar inscription found in Penneswaramadam, on the banks of the Pennar, to the South of Kaveripattinam. The inscription is dated July 21, 1367. It is about the digging of a canal in the time of Kampanna II, says Epigraphist Rajavelu.
The inscription of Kampanna II says he captured ports such as Pudupattinam (present name also Pudupattinam) and Chadiranapattanam (Chaturangapattanam). Neelangarai is referred to as Neelagangaraiyan. “Neelagangaraiyan was a chieftain of Chola times, who made many donations to temples around Chennai.” And now comes the interesting part… a port called Maadarasanpattanam is also mentioned in the inscription.
Rajavelu says Royapuram must have been Maadarasanpattanam. And even today, Royapuram is famous for its fishing harbour. The Tamil name ‘Maadarasanpattanam’ must have changed to Madarasapatnam and Madraspatnam. The ‘arasan’ changed to ‘raya,’ and in course of time, the area came to be known as Royapuram. Incidentally, the Vijayanagar kings were known as ‘raya.’
Chennapatnam, which British records refer to, was a small territory encompassing just a few areas. “But even in Chola times, Maadarasanpattanam was surrounded by many villages and towns, which served as taluk headquarters. It had its western entrance in Maduravoyal. There was Pudupakkam, which is today’s Pudupet. There are inscriptions that show the donation of some lands in Pudupakkam to the Tiruvallikeni temple. Chola and Pallava inscriptions talk of Mylarpar (Mylapore), Kottur (Kotturpuram), Ezhumoor (Egmore), Velicheri (Velacheri), Taramani - which was donated to the Velacheri Siva temple, Tampuram (Tambaram), Aadanpakkam (Adambakkam), Kundrathur, Mangadu, Maapulam (Mambalam), Porur, Viruganpakkam (Virugambakkam), Pammal and Pozhiselur (Pozhichalur of today).”
And that’s not all. To the North-West and West of Maadarasanpattanam lay Vepery, Vesharupadi (Vyasarpadi), Pirambur (Perambur) and so on.
Source:  Madras is not alien by Suganthy Krishnamachari, Aug 21, 2014,

* 27 Sep 2021
Sittannavasal is a small village in Pudukkottai district and is world famous for its fresco paintings in the rock-cut Jaina cave temple.
Sittannavasal monuments - Pinterest collection
Sittannavasal - The megalithic monuments such as stone-circles, urn burials and cists spread in the plains of this village testify that this area was inhabited by pre-historic man. Sittannavasal is known primarily for its mural paintings in the Jaina rock-cut cave temple called Arivar-koil. There is a natural cavern, called Ezhadippattam, with polished rock beds of Jaina ascetics. These rock beds contain Tamil inscriptions. The oldest is a Tamil Brahmi inscription, the oldest in the district, and was being considered till recently as belonging to the 3rd century BC. According to the recent study by Iravatham Mahadevan, it is dated to the 1st century BC. Sittannavasal is perhaps the only place where you can find inscriptions in Tamil from the 1st century BC to the 10th century AD. The Navach-chunai has a submerged rock-cut shrine.
There are a number of explanations or interpretations about the derivation of the name. One of such explanations says that Sittannavasal is a corruption of ChiR-Ran-nal-vaa-yil ('abode-of great- saints'). Another explanation says that this hill, once a part of a suburb of Annalvayil, could have come to be called Chirrannalvaayil (ChiRu-annal-vaayil - 'smaller-Annal-Vaayil'). Yet another version interprets that the name could be a derivation from Siddhaanaam-vaasah, a word of northern origin, becoming Siddhannavaasah and then Sittannavasal. In the Tamil Brahmi inscription mentioned before, the name of this place is mentioned as 'ChiRu-posil'.
Source: Read more at Sittannavasal Monuments by Subramanian Swaminathan,

* Jul 2021
Temple for Thamizh Thai
This temple, located in Karaikudi in Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, is the only temple in the world for worshiping a language as a god or goddess. The temple is situated inside the Kamban Mani Mandabam and the street in which the temple is located has been named Tamil Thai Kovil Street.
The main shrine is for Tamil Thai. On either side of the idol of Tamil Thai, there are smaller idols of Agastyar and Tholkappiyar. Outside the main shrine are icons of Oli Thai (the Goddess of Sound) and Vari Thai (the Goddess of Letters). There are separate enclosures for Kamban, Ilango Adigal and Thiruvalluvar.
The idol of Tamil Thai installed in the temple is not worshiped in the same way as the idols installed in other temples. The Tamil Thai temple remains closed except during the Kamban Vizha during the month of April every year.
The idea of establishing such a temple was conceived by Kamban Adippodi Saw. Ganesan, the founder of Kamban Vizha Kazhagam, but passed away before the project was completed. Upon his death, Kamban Adisoodi Pala Palaniappan helped draw up programmes for the Karaikudi Kamban Vizha. Later, Palaniappan became the secretary of the Chennai Kamban Kazhagam.  The temple construction and sculpturing work were by Ganapathy stapathi.  The Tamil Thai temple was declared open in 1993, by Mu. Karunanidhi.
In 1939 Ganesan set out to organise Kamban Vizha in Karaikudi, under the stewardship of T.K. Chidambaranatha Mudaliar (TKC).
References: ;

* Jul 2021
Government Museum, Chennai
Government Museum, Chennai is a multi-purpose State Government Museum located in Egmore. Six independent buildings in this Museum campus has 46 galleries.
The proposal for a museum in Madras was mooted by the Madras Literary Society in 1846 AD and Sir Henry Pottinger, the then Governor, obtained the sanction of the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London.
The Government Museum otherwise called as the Central Museum was started in the College of Fort St. George on College Road. The college had been established in 1812 AD and made a significant contribution to the development of South Indian Languages. The Museum was started in the first floor of the college with the 1100 geological specimens of the Madras Literary Society. It steadily developed and expanded under the guidance and supervision of a succession of directors. As the building was in a dilapidated condition, the Museum’s Superintendent, Dr. Balfour advocated shifting it to another building.
In December 1854 AD, it was shifted to a building named the Pantheon, also known as the Public Rooms or Assembly Rooms, where the elite of the city met.

* Jul 2021
The Javadhu Hills are an extension of the Eastern Ghats spread across parts of Vellore Tiruvannamalai and Krishnagiri districts in the northern part of the state of Tamil Nadu in southeastern India. Places of interest in the Jawadhu hills - Beema Falls, Komutteri Lake, Kavalur Observatory, Amirthi Forest, and the Glass House.