Thursday, March 20, 2008


Gandhiji, during his visit to Madurai stayed in the residence of Sri Ramji Kalyanji, 175-A, West Masi Street, Madurai who respectfully invited him to his house, on 21.09.1921. During his stay there at night he was mentally agitated and worried to think of the various farmers and poor people on his way dressed in scarce cloths that is only a small towel like dhothi around the waist and were shivering with cold, while he was wearing long turbans khurtha and dhoties.
So overnight he took a decision that he should be a model to everyone and to dress in a simple manner like the peasants and poor people he witnessed in his journey to Madurai and he carried out this from the very next day itself. On 22-09-1921 (the next day) morning all were shocked to see him in his new pattern of dress and Gandhiji explained them about his decision and he followed this throughout his life. Then he attended the meetings in Madurai (The place now called as Gandhi Pottal) at 0700 hrs, explaining the reason for his new mode of dress.It was just because of this reason Gandhi Museum was established in madurai overlooking several other big cities after he was assasinated.
The building that houses of the Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai is the historic Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal of Nayak dynasty built about 1670 A.D. Later, this was made under the occupation of the Nawab of Carnatic, the East India Company and a few others. Finally, the palace had remained for many years as the official residence of the District Collector of Madurai. It was in the year 1955 that the palace with about 13 acres of land was gifted by the Tamilnadu state Government, to the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for the purpose of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum
The Gandhi Memorial Museum is meant to be a living Institutions and not merely a building preserving and showing exhibits, however precious. It seeks to help an ever increasing number of people particularly the youth of the country to understand and to value the life, work and teachings of Gandhiji. Gandhi Memorial Museum also conducts an Educational Programme for the students of the Colleges and High Schools of Madurai City. They undergo a methodical one day study course of 7 hours duration, on the history of "Indian Freedom Movement" and on a brief study of "Gandhiji's life".


When people talk about the city of madurai,the one place which overshadows allthe other is the much revered meenakshi temple.But there are many other temples in and around Madurai that are visited by tourists. One such temple is Alagarkoil. The term Alagarkoil actually means Alagar Temple.
Alagarkoil is located at a distance of about 21 km to the east of Madurai at the foot of the Alagar hills. According to history, Malayadvaja Paandian was the first patron of this temple. He was the son of Kulaseekara Paandian, the founder of the city of Madurai. Jaatavarman Sundara Paandian, ruler of Madurai in the period 1251-1270 is credited with gold plating the tower of the sanctum of Alagarkoil. The Naayakaa kings were great patrons of art and architecture. Alagarkoil was also highly patronized by them.
The presiding deity of Alagarkoil is Lord Vishnu. His stone idol is referred to as Kallalgar. There is a very interesting story in Hindu Mythology that is related to him. It is believed that Lord Vishnu visits Madurai in the human form of Alagar to get his sister Meenakshi married to Sundareswarar. He crosses the River Vaigai in a golden horse and this spectacular procession is attended by a large number of people with joyous enthusiasm each year.
According to the Mahabharata, Alagarkoil was visited both by Yudhistira and Arjuna. Statues of Kallalagar in different poses are to be found at Alagarkoil, Madurai . He is seen in seated, standing and reclining postures. Local inhabitants also refer to him as Soundarajan or beautiful king. There is a shrine within the premises of the Alagarkoil dedicated to Karuppa Swamy.
There are a total of 11 Mandapams or halls within the fortified walls of the Alagarkoil in Madurai . There are many ornamented pillars within the halls. They are rich in decorative details. It is rather unfortunate that mural paintings presently exist in only one of the Mandapams. These wall paintings in the Vasanta Mandapam are indeed very impressive. They depict scenes from the Ramayana. The yali or an imaginary lion like beast representing human passions that is to be sighted at the Alagarkoil temple Madurai exhibits intertwining trunks and is much akin to the one that is to be found at the Meenakshi temple.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


"JI, ayiye. Khana, khana" (Sir, come on. Here is food"), says the youth clad in a red shirt, holding a plate of hot food in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. The face of the old man, which has visible signs of long years of suffering, lights up, child-like, on hearing this warm offer. Lifting his head from a reclining posture, he accepts the food, and raises his hand in a manner of blessing the giver. The scene is Bypass Road in Madurai. The food provider is N. Krishnan, a graduate in Hotel Management and Catering Science, who has taken upon himself the mission of feeding abandoned people - mentally unstable ones and destitutes.
The recent drive against beggars undertaken by the city police following an order of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has spared the population of abandoned people. Yet the move has affected Krishnan's mission in a big way.
Donors, who used to contribute anything from Rs.10 to Rs.4,500, have withdrawn this gesture under the impression that Madurai's streets are bereft of the deprived.
Krishnan makes three trips a day in his van, donated by the Life Insurance Corporation of India, to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to about 200 people, including 50 women. Krishnan and three others cook the food.
The beneficiaries of Akshaya Trust, started by Krishnan in 2002, are not beggars. For them food or money means nothing. Some are able-bodied but many are on their last legs. For them, a garbage dump or even a sewage drain would have provided something to fill their stomachs. "I have seen people eat dead rats," he once told me.
Many of these abandoned people have lost their sense of identity. They cannot remember who they are or where they belong. Krishnan has a name for each of them. `China Bhai' (a person believed to have come from Nepal), `Ganapathi Ayya', `Dhamu Ayya', `Moorthy', `Manickam' and `Shailaja' are some of the identities he has provided for them. About 50 per cent of the destitutes are from North India. These people were perhaps brought by their families on a pilgrimage to southern Tamil Nadu and abandoned near temples.
Only one person among them is able to recollect that he is from Indore. Baburaj from Kozhikode in Kerala is a platform dweller on West Veli Street. An accident victim, he had nowhere to go after he was discharged from the Government Rajaji Hospital. The condition of abandoned women is a shame on the city. "I can only provide them food, not protection," says Krishnan.
Besides food, Krishnan carries a pair of scissors and a comb. He provides a hair cut for his "adopted family".
Krishnan confines his noble service to the Madurai Corporation limits although there are disadvantaged people roaming on the city's peripheries. As in life, their death is also not dignified. The bodies of the old and infirm are left on the roadside. Krishnan has performed the last rites of at least 12 persons so far.
The youth wants to create a rehabilitation home. He has purchased a four-acre plot with his own funds and donations provided by Infosys and T.V. Sundaram Iyengar and Sons. The blueprint for the Rs.45-lakh project is ready.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Every time I feel its boring, I board the bus to periyar bus stand,madurai. I don't usually go alone. I take my friends or my cousin along with me.It takes about half an hour for me to reach the place from my home in the bus. Then I'd go straight to the palamuthircholai ( fruit juice shop) which is adjacent to the bus stand. An apple juice there costs around 15. Then we would just start walking along the netaji road which would lead us to meenakshi temple.I don't usually go to the temple along with friends. I go there only when im alone. We would just walk around the streets, sighting along the way. It may sound simple, but the thing is that the time would just fly away like anything. There is been a marked change in the road during the past 3 years. Big shops like joy alukkas and a subsidiary of chennai silks have setup their store along tis road. Since this road connects the temple with the western part of th city it is always buzzing with activities. Just take a look at the street and enjoy the experience


To make your next 10 minutes more joyful,
click on the link below

How was it??????????????

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Madurai........ the name itself gives me very sweet memories. It was here that i was born and brought up. Until i was 17 i don't know the real history of this vibrant city nor its specials as i was brought up like tat. All i know was my home, my school and my tuition master's home. To make matters worse, all were located in the same area, nagamalai on the outskirts of the city. But once i entered the college things changed. The view of meenakshi temple, the first place that i visited on my own was simply awesome. I had gone there already but this time around the feel was completely different. The ambience of the temple gave me a kind of feeling which i have never experienced. I started going there once in a month not to worship but to simply get that feel. Wanna experience tat? Just take a stroll across to the temple