Weekly Feature - July 23 1999
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Tradition Meets Technology

Chennai - Where the ancient and the modern co-exist

The sprawling meteropolis of Chennai is one of the rapidly growing and changing cities of India. Truly representative of the global spurt in technology and communication, Chennai boasts of a technology savvy population in the heart of the once conservative basiton.

Faced with issues dealt by all major world cities of its size, Chennai is gearing itself to deal with its rapidly expanding human and vehicular population with a scheme of 'mini subways' and other means..

To 'get away' from this modern city, you do not have to go too far, for  Chennai is also a classic example of the peaceful coexistence of the ancient with the modern.

The best illustration of this co-existence is the presence of four very ancient temples in and around Chennai. All four of these temples have been visited and glorified by the revered saint poets of the 1st millennium CE and have been patronized by the great Chola rulers of the early portion of the 2nd millennium CE.

All four of these temples are at least 1200 years old, and the neigborhoods that they are located in are still known by their original names. Again, all of these temples are rich in legend, mythology, sculptural grandeur and a hoary tradition of festivals that attract thousands.

On the occasion of Pongal 2000, Templenet is proud to highlight four ancient temples of Chennai.

Kapaleeswarar Temple at Mylapore

Did you know that the Kapaleeswarar temple is an ancient shrine glorified by the tamil hymns of Tirugnanasambandar in the 7th century CE?  Both Mylapore and Tirumayilai are ancient Tamil names. Visit this landmark of Chennai - a temple known for its vast tower studded with stucco images, a huge temple tank - the site of the float festival in January.

Parthasarathy Temple at Tiruvallikkeni

The Parthasarathy temple which attracts huge crowds during Vaikuntha Ekadasi, has been glorified by the hymns of the Alwar saints of the 7th -9th centuries. Tiruvallikkeni is considered equivalent to Tirupati. Experience its traditions, festivals and ambience.

Marundeeswarar Temple at Tiruvanmyur

The vast temple complex as you leave the city, when  you drive south of Chennai along the coast is this 1300 year old temple. Tyagaraja - the Somaskanda manifestation of Shiva is enshrined in this southern suburb of Tiruvanmyur as well as in the northern fringe of Chennai at Tiruvotriyur.  Browse through its interesting traditions and festivals here.

Tyagarajar Temple at Tiruvotriyur

Sundaramurthy Nayanar of the 9th century CE was closely associated with this vast temple, located in the Northern fringe of Chennai. Interesting dance traditions are associated with Tyagaraja of Tiruvotriyur. Experience the richness of the collossal entrance tower, the ambience of this vast temple patronized by the Chola kings of the 12th century, and the colorful festival traditions.

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