Triplicane, the city’s heritage quarter, teems with a multiculturalism that was bequeathed by its innovative erstwhile Mughal influences.
The renowned Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore was motivated by Chennai’s erstwhile Muslim royalty. The land for the h2o tank in front of it was donated to the temple by the Nawabs of Arcot. Photo by: Jayakumar Jayakumar / Shutterstock
I love remaining a vacationer in Chennai, exactly where I was born, and have spent most of my lifestyle. Triplicane (the anglicised edition) or Thiruvallikeni (which in Tamil signifies the sacred lily ponds), is a person of the oldest localities in Chennai—a multicultural neighbourhood, with the sacred 8th-century Parthasarathy temple, as effectively as the Major Mosque, sharing house companionably. Currently it’s a crowded quarter, popular for its numerous bookshops and mansions that supply low cost rooms for bachelors.
I am on a heritage stroll led by regional historian and documentary filmmaker Kombai S. Anwar, who starts off by explaining the background of the area. “It all started with the siege of the Gingee Fort by Aurangzeb for 6 extended several years, in the war with the Marathas, when the Mughal Emperor appointed Zulfikar Ali, the very first Nawab of the Carnatic in 1692,” he states. The Nawab proven a camp in Arcot among the Krishna and Kaveri rivers. He was succeeded by 6 Nawabs, and this led to a power centre staying fashioned in South India.
The most renowned Nawab was Muhammad Ali Wallajah, a secular ruler who donated land to church buildings and temples and commissioned the Madrasa-E-Azam Islamic college in Anna Salai.
Anwar welcomes our team with a bottle of attar. He tells us how Chennai has Muslims who are ethnically quite various and talk various languages other than Urdu, and that he is a Tamil-speaking Muslim. As we stroll beside the crumbling walls of purple-bricked buildings, he tells us about how Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah developed the well-known Chepauk Palace, about a sprawling 117 acres, where the River Cooum joined the Bay of Bengal, in 1764. When he designed the palace, the neighbouring spot of Triplicane designed into the residences of the nobles, and others performing for the Nawab: as several as 20,000 North Indian Muslims, who spoke Urdu, moved right here.
The palace was developed out of lime mortar and purple brick and designed by East India Corporation engineer Paul Benfield with two blocks, the southern block housing the personal quarters referred to as Kalas Mahal and the northern block with the Durbar Hall called Humayun Mahal. We wander past crumbling partitions with vegetation sprouting out of bricks, intricate jharokha home windows, wide arches, latticed balconies and cupolas.
From right here we amble towards Wallajah Mosque on Triplicane Significant Street, also termed the Big Mosque, built in the Mughal design. This is Chennai’s oldest mosque dating again to 1795, designed totally out of granite. Inside of the significant hall, is a chronogram prepared in Persian, which allows in courting the year of building of the mosque. From the mosque we see a stately making with blue window shutters and stained glass—this was once the Consulate of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, started off by a family members in the indigo trade. Currently, the heritage creating is the Broadlands resort with aged-fashioned rooms and age-aged punkahs. Just after the demise of the final Nawab, the British took around the ruling family’s attributes as they were closely in personal debt, and at last consented to give them the title of ‘Prince of Arcot.’ We stroll through a tree-lined avenue with sleek Victorian cannons, to arrive at the stately Amir Mahal, the hereditary residence of the Nawabs in Zam Bazaar location. The Nawabs moved right here in 1876, and it’s been their property at any time due to the fact. We wander as a result of this time capsule, lined with sofas and glittering chandeliers, porcelain vases, memorabilia from substantial picket howdahs and vintage palanquins, past a winding wooden staircase to the upstairs Durbar Hall, in which massive oil paintings of the Nawabs grace the partitions. We conclusion our stroll in Mylapore, today a predominantly Tamil Brahmin location with the well known Kapaleeshwarar Temple, and the water tank in entrance of it. Nonetheless, not lots of know that the temple was motivated by Chennai’s former Muslim royalty. The land for the tank was donated to the temple by the Nawabs of Arcot. In return for that generosity, each and every 12 months, on the 10th day of Muharram, Muslim faithfuls are allowed to dip their sacred symbol of the hand in the waters of the tank.
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