May 25, 2009

Three Tours You May Want to Take in Chennai

I had a few surprise calls this past month, the hottest.

People wanted to know if we could organise a few heritage walks.

I thought families headed to the hills in summer. The fact is that there are people who take weekend breaks and some do not mind exploring our city.

Walking around is the last thing you'd want to do in the searing Madras heat. It is 30degrees plus by 8 a.m.

But I couldn't dampen the spirits of visitors who did not mind the heat.

So I did the next best thing instead of stepping out.

I was their guide employing the Short Messaging Service. And it seemed to work.

Imagine sitting at home in Adyar and guiding groups.

Taking a bus to Fort St. George, how to negotiate the police security at the IN gate, why the State Assembly complex must be skipped, what not to miss at St. Mary's, how to gain entry to the fantastic Clive House, how to get on the great ramparts of the Fort and where to get a good brunch.

Summer Sundays are still the best time to explore different parts of a city.

Numismatist D. Hemachandra Rao has been looking under all the old bridges in the city. And taking pictures of them.

Being a civil engineer, Rao loves good architecture and he wants to document the old bridges in Vyasarpadi and Chintadripet, in Egmore and Saidapet.

Now if you and your family and friends have not made the best of a summer Sunday, here are a few short tours you could plan.

Explore the 'Adyar Poonga' at the far end of Raja Annamalaipuram, off San Thome High Road. If the sea breeze sets in after 2 p. m. this is an interesting natural reserve to check out. You have birds for company in the marshy spots.

Check out all the heritage complexes opposite the Marina Beach - Presidency College, PWD Headquarters, Carnatic Palace and Senate House at the University and wind up with a look at the old 'locks' on the Canal behind the varsity campus.

On another Sunday, leave your car behind. Hop into a train on the MRTS system and take in the city from the skies. Start from Thiruvanmiyur and end at Madras Beach. Take the train back but make sure you sit on the 'other' side.

Best stretch - Mylapore to Park, eastern view!

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