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Made of Chennai | Celebrate Madras through rare photos, music, culture and food

The Hindu Archival Exhibit

The year is 1949. Crowds swell outside The Hindu’s office on Mount Road on a hot afternoon to keep track of the latest test cricket score, as the national newspaper’s office staff manually update the scoreboard from the building’s balcony. In the backdrop, daily life goes on as a tram passes by. Breaking news is literally served from across the road.  

This moment, frozen in black and white, remains a rare sight. It epitomises the wealth that is The Hindu’s archives. Get a peek into the collection at the Kasturi building, the Art Deco headquarters of The Hindu, as 72 physical photographs that capture the city through its monuments, emotions and historical milestones, and a digital exhibit with 400 images, take over its walls.

Curated by city-based researcher Thirupurasundari Sevvel, the archival photo exhibit is a gateway to sweet reminiscence, of a time when Marina Beach was a picture of familial bonding, and Shenoy Nagar’s Thiru Vi Ka Park (which houses the Metro station now), a sight dipped in verdant greens. 

Students at the archival exhibit in The Hindu’s premises
| Photo Credit:

The main entrance flanked by antique stained glass windows and guarded by an old school elevator gives way to a corridor. Reproduced on canvases are archival images, as a hardbound book compiling iconic leaves from The Hindu’s history-defining editions from the 1800s is displayed at the centre, alongside a bioscope from the press, and a tram ticket enclosed in glass vitrines. “There’s something for everyone to reminisce about. This is a glimpse of how people went around the city, enjoyed the city and how the city has responded to its people,” says Thirupurasundari.  

The exhibit is also displayed in Central, Guindy, Vadapalani, Thirumangalam, Koyambedu, Airport, Wimco Nagar metros, and in Kathipara Urban Square apart from The Hindu office premises. Concludes Thripurasundari, “If you ask me if this is a comprehensive history of the city of Madras, no. If you ask me if this is the people’s history of Madras, yes,”

Oor, Ula and Ulam is on display till September 9. The Hindu Festival of Chennai is held in partnership with Greater Chennai Corporation Radio partner: Radio city.

Ladies standing in a bus stop only for them, in Madras on July 07, 1981

Ladies standing in a bus stop only for them, in Madras on July 07, 1981
| Photo Credit:

Music in parks, beaches and metros

At Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar, the sound of waves is complemented by the rhythm of a guitar as Chennai-based band Monk’s Live serenades passers-by. As public spaces in the city turn into performance venues, independent music is finally in the spotlight. In a bid to make performing arts accessible, the city’s parks and Metro stations will see local talent reclaiming the space all through the month of August. In this festival held in partnership with CMRL, On the Streets of Chennai and Radio City, bands like Mayavisai, Martin & Team, Gurupathi & Gang, The Unusuals, Kooda Senthu Kathu, raids, Consonance and Maple Diaries. will be performing.  

Music on wheels

12B, 21G, 5C – while these bus routes may seem familiar to the average Chennai resident, a hop-on, hop-off bus, a performance venue in motion, offers great promise – both for the sounds and sights of the city.

Popular city musicians and bands will tour the length and breadth of Chennai performing original music on a route dotted by multiple stops. The bus flags off from The Hindu’s premises and will travel to Kathipara Urban Square and Island Grounds, to Parry’s Corner and Velachery 100ft. Road to name a few. Indosoul, Ranjani Shankar & band, Rajesh Vaidhya, A Carnatic Quartet, MS Krsna, Monali and Vedanth, Shilpa Natarajan, G Ravikiran & Students, Gaana Prem, Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan are the artistes in performance at different points. The bus will also carry parts of the archival exhibit.

The bus will see bands like feature Indosoul, performing on August 16, while Ranjani Shankar will perform on August 18.         

Audience at the Festival of Chennai on Besant Nagar beach

Audience at the Festival of Chennai on Besant Nagar beach
| Photo Credit:
Akhila Easwaran

Made of Chennai run

Explore the city by foot, but make it a challenge. The Hindu’s Made of Chennai run in partnership with Greater Chennai Corporation and Chennai Smart City promises a day of combining an appreciation for the city with a small yet significant health check point.

Run a distance of five or 10 kilometres starting from Napier bridge to give yourself the perfect amount of time to pant while peering into some of the city’s finest buildings, particularly along the coast. It is perhaps easy to dismiss runs as nothing more than an activity that contributes to physical fitness. But ask anyone who willingly takes some time of their day to put their heart through Chennai’s searing heat for a quick jog, and they will tell you about the endless joys you can discover on the city roads while picking up endorphins like Mario in Super Mario.

The run is powered by Chennai runners with Radio City being the radio partner and AGS Cinemas being the multiplex partners.

Head out on the run on September 3 at 5.30am. The starting point will be the Sivananda Salai-Napier Bridge Signal.

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 06 May 2023: For Metro Plus: Runners at Chennai's Besant Nagar beach train every morning to build endurance and physical health. Akhila Easwaran/ The Hindu

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 06 May 2023: For Metro Plus: Runners at Chennai’s Besant Nagar beach train every morning to build endurance and physical health. Akhila Easwaran/ The Hindu
| Photo Credit:
Akhila Easwaran

Moonlight Cinema

If you have watched director Pa Ranjith’s Madras, you are already aware of the iconic moniker it has given the city — ‘Enga ooru Madras adhuku naanga dhane address’. But if you haven’t watched it yet, or want to pore over how good the film is, join The Hindu at an evening of watching the film and others like Chennai 28 and Alaipayuthe. A dose of warm sundal and fluffy soan papdi will be the perfect accompaniments to this evening of watching cinema under Chennai’s several stars.

The cinema event will happen at Thiruvanmiyur beach and Besant Nagar beach between 6pm and 9pm.The dates will be designed on the site.

Food and music festival

Chennai has always been a melting point of cuisines, taking the best from the South, East and West of Tamil Nadu, says food curator Shabnam Kamil. To celebrate all that the city has to offer including some iconic bun butter jam, a heaping of fragrant mutton pulao, high-end Japanese cuisine and some interesting new vegan options, The Hindu’s food festival is here. Mix this with some music from iconic bands in the city and we have a heady, entertaining concoction. 

The event will take place on September 9 and 10. Scan the QR code for updates.

Heritage walk

Five walks exploring vastly different facades of Chennai make for interesting morning plans. Take a stroll through Ripon Building, march along Mount road, explore a photowalk in Kospet, sign up for a heritage walk through Royapuram and eat your way through a fragrant biryani trail. Madras Inherited, Madras photo bloggers, Shabnam, Greater Chennai Corporation and Aafreen of ninetyeight.madras, will be taking us through the details of this city we call our own with lenses that we may have not adorned in the past. 

The cadence of the walk is as follows: Ripon building on August 23, Photo walk in Kospet on August 26, Mount Road walk on August 27 and Royapuram heritage walk on September 2.

Ripon building lit up for the ongoing 7th Asian Hockey Championship

Ripon building lit up for the ongoing 7th Asian Hockey Championship
| Photo Credit:

A day out at the Ripon building

Madras’ tireless history requires vivid retelling through its people, art, architecture and politics. To celebrate the city through the written word, Chief Minister MK Stalin will unveil three books by The Hindu group on pioneers in Tamil history, the grandeur of the Chola empire and Tamil Nadu through a societal lens. The Archival Photo Exhibit will also briefly find a home at the Ripon building iconic. The event will subsequently have performances by folk artistes.

Join us at the Ripon building on August 22.

There is more

Participate in The Hindu’s treasure hunt, photo contest and trivia quiz.

Follow @thehindumadeofchennai on Facebook, @thehindu_madeofchennai on Instagram and @TH_MadeOfCHN on X for all the updates.


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