On Sunday morning, when writer-historian V. Sriram starts his heritage walk from the Gandhi statue on the Marina, he will be leading a group of people down the famed Edward Elliots Road.
As he covers a fourth of that long, long road, on the southern side a fleet of five cycle rickshaws will start from Our Lady of Light Church on a tour of inner Mylapore.
Both tours are part of the heritage experiences that are integral to the annual Mylapore Festival which is wholly sponsored by Sundaram Finance.
Sriram says there are at least 40 key personalities he will have to talk about as he takes people on his Edward Elliots Legacy Tour. Which means those who join him at 6 a.m. will have to enjoy a walk that will be over two hours and end at The Music Academy.
The annual Mylapore Festival (on from Jan. 6 to 9) is much more than just three dozen events, food and crafts, kolams, music and heritage.
It is the celebration of spaces, of people and of issues that relate to it.
Chantal has flown in from France to be here to document the two kolam contests (Jan. 8 and 9 - 3.30 p.m. onwards on North Mada Street). She spent many years in India, more in Kerala, learning the arts there. Based in Mylapore's popular Karpagam Hotel, Chantal is soaking in. Hers will be yet another addition to small films which have been made at the Fest as part of a documentation process.
Exhibited on the rolling shutters of the giant house for the temple ther, are a selection of pictures that 12 children took as they went on a PhotoWalk of the area. Hopefully, such visual documents will be repeated to add to the treasure of pictures of Mylapore.
Helped by my artist friend Gita who now works for Madras Craft Foundation, I invited five young artists to sit inside Sri Kapali Temple and paint on 2 x 2 canvases on whatever inspired them here. Their works of art will also be exhibited at the Fest site and sold later.
Two householders have invited us to sit and discuss ways in which we can put their residences which have stood on/off the mada vedhis for over 50 years to good use. Can we make these places community documentation centres? A space for talks and film screenings? A museum?
There is more to the festival and I am glad it is happening.
Do come this weekend.
If you need infor, check out www.mylaporefestival.com. If you can checkout the pictures and the many videos on the website to get the flavour. And if you have friends or relatives who have roots in Mylapore, tell them about all this!