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MEMORIES OF BESANT NAGAR & ADYAR


It was early 1951, I came to Madras, now Chennai and stayed in a building in First Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar. Later on the said building was converted to and housed the Adyar Post Office for a long time. Now, the Adyar P.O functions in its own building in Besant Avenue, the main entrance to Besant Nagar.

South of the river Adyar, also known as Adayar is more synonymous with the world famous Theosophical Society, the only International head quarters of a world organisation in India, with several unique features. Near to it, was the Olcot Memorial school, which now functions in a sprawling campus, opposite Rajaji Bhavan, Govt. of India in Besant Nagar.

In the fifties, beyond the Adyar Bridge and opposite the society, Gandhi Nagar was formed and plots allotted mostly to state officials. Each plot measuring 2 to 4 grounds were having just one building each and occupied by one family only. Now, we seldom see such buildings. Today multi storeyed flats sprang up, accommodating more residents as also used for offices and shopping complexes. Malar Hospitals is just opposite the society Gate. There were hardly very few shops on the Bridge Road to Guindy. A general store owned by a sindhi family who lived in its upstairs, were selling stationery, provisions and even medicines. Next to it, a military hotel was there. Other than the Burmahshell Petrol Bank, their existed a small bakery, now known as ADYAR BAKERY and near it a Saloon, called Mylai Saloon. At the Adyar Junction on the left, there used to be a massive gate, the entrance to TRAVANCORE HOUSE owned by the then Maharaja of Travancore for his stay whenever he visits Madras, on a ten acre area with paddy field stretching upto the then Besant Theosphical School Now, K.F.I School on the east and Besant Avenue on its north end. Today, the entire paddy field is brimming with posh buildings and even show rooms and is named, Padmanabha Nagar, Opposite to it, was Avvai Home built by Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy and the school being run by them now, is a great solace to the less privileged.

In Gandhi Nagar, Sri Padmanabha Temple owes its benevolence to the late Maharaja of Travancore who got the land, also the huge deity in lying posture, just as in Thiruvananthapuram Temple. Today, it is grown tenfold with more sannidhis for deities and the Mahaswami Mandapam hall is used for discourses, cultural programmes, marriages and the like. Kudos to the committee that manages the temple affairs.

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