It was a trip down memory lane for the ones, who took part in the Old Coimbatore Heritage Walk, an event organized by the Vanavarayar Foundation as part of the ongoing Coimbatore Vizha – 2014 on Tuesday evening to recall the interesting histories behind the antique buildings and streets of the city.
With the participation of around 30 history enthusiasts, the walk was flagged off from the clock tower, which the Coimbatoreans call ‘Manikoondu’ and went through Vysyal Street, Karuppa Gounder Street and Raja Street finally ending at the Clock Tower.
“In front of the Clock Tower, once stood the statue of A.T. Thiruvenkatasamy Mudhaliar, who worked for the development of Coimbatore by constructing a free hospital for the first time in the city. However, his statue was later removed due to traffic congestion” said Jegadhisan, noted archeologist and epigraphist, who organized the event.
Recalling the history behind the Victoria Town Hall, Jegadhisan listed the contributions made by S.P. Narasimalu Naidu, a writer, researcher, social worker and journalist, who mooted the idea of bringing the sweet Siruvani water to the city.
“S.P. Narasimhalu Naidu, along with many other philanthropists, built the Victoria Town Hall at a cost of Rs 10,000 in 1892 commemorating Queen Victoria’s fiftieth reigning year” he said.
Pointing at the Athar Jamath, which the Coimbatoreans call as ‘Periya Pallivasal’ Jegadhisan averred that Coimbatore was once a symbol for religious harmony, as Hindu parents would rush their ailing children to Dargas, where the Muslim priest would tie a talisman and chant incantations to ward off the evil.
Taking the participants to the Kovai Tamizh Sangam on Vysyal Street, Jegadhisan recalled the contributions made by Sivakavimani C.K. Subramania Mudhaliar to Tamil:
“Though C.K Subramania Mudhaliar was a lawyer by profession, he was the pioneer to write commentaries on the Tamil Bhakthi literature Periyapuranam”
Explaining to the participants on how the Raja Street got its name, he reasoned:
“Once there was a palace on this street by name Madhe Raja Mahal, in which Madhe Raja, a representative of Tipu Sultan stayed and administered Coimbatore, when the city was under the Mysore rule. The street, which was once called Madhe Raja Street, later got shortened to ‘Raja Street’
Somu, a postgraduate student in history from the Government Arts College, who was a participant in the Old Coimbatore Heritage Walk, said:
“Though many students study national and international histories in their academics, it is useless, if they know little about the history of their hometown”
Another participant Sowmya, an undergraduate student of history from the same college, noted:
“Though I am a native of Coimbatore, I was not aware of the city’s history before taking part in this event”
Link to my report in The New Indian Express: http://epaper.