Fort St George is where the story of Chennai began in the modern context. DR S SURESH writes about many such forts that have endured over the years in...



Keep the change: MTC to introduce smartcards Trial On OMR From March, Regular Users To Benefit As a first step towards a future without bus conducto...

Stuck on OMR

Stuck on OMR? Pour out woes on FB

Chennai:When youspend25% of your day stuck in traffic, what do you do? Find an online forum to rant.Closeto 6,000 people are members of the ‘I hate ...

Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Peshawri - ITC Grand Chola, Chennai (Times Food and NightLife Awards 2014 winner for Best North Indian) Robust flavour of the North-West Fronties. ...

Chennai City


Small Bus Routes Chennai

The mini bus routes are Pallavaram – Tirusulam Sakthi Nagar, Chromepet – Medavakkam, Chromepet – Madambakkam, Perungulathur – Arung...


Fort St George is where the story of Chennai began in the modern context. DR S SURESH writes about many such forts that have endured over the years in the city.

During the ancient and medieval times, many cities were protected by massive walls of fortifications. Remnants of such structures can be seen in cities such as London and Delhi. In Chennai, the European powers erected several forts.

The biggest and most important fort of Chennai is undoubtedly Fort St George. The establishment of this fort is closely linked to the very birth of our city. In August, 1639, Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, two officials of the English East India Company secured, on lease, the site of the fort from the local ruler Venkatadri Nayak of Poonamalle. On this land, the Company established a trading outpost within a fortified enclosure. The construction of some of the fort walls and the first buildings within this fort was completed by April, 1640 and the Company officials formally inaugurated these buildings on April 23 – St George’s Day – being the death anniversary of St George (275/281- 303 AD), the patron-saint of England. Hence, the fort was named after him.

Fort St George has been the seat of administration right from the time of its inception to this day. It was the scene of historic battles between the English and the French. Gradually, the British acquired many of the neighbouring villages and thus, the trading settlement evolved into a major city.

Barely 20 years after the erection of Fort St George, the Portuguese built a fort around Santhome, mainly to protect themselves against the British. In 1749, the British acquired Santhome and in 1751, they built another fort called the Santhome Redoubt in the area, the old Portuguese fort having collapsed by now. Built for the Mylapore Garrison, the walls of this new fort were over 1m thick and 4m high. The fort was surrounded by a moat around 12m wide. This fort was used at least till the end of the 18th century. Ruins of this fort can still be noticed on the northern side of some of the houses in Leith Castle Street.

In order to protect Chennai from the attacks of the French and the South Indian kingdoms including Mysore, the British built many more forts at places such as Egmore, Purasawalkam and Nungambakkam. Details about the date and precise location of some of these forts are not known. According to archival records, the forts at Santhome and Egmore were larger than those at Nungambakkam and Pursawalkam.

The fort at Egmore, called the Egmore Redoubt, was built in 1715. It was located on a mound behind the present Egmore Railway Station. The British frequently used this fort while fighting against Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, the rulers of Mysore in the late eighteenth century.

Around the year 1770, the British attempted to build a wall around the present George Town area. They levied a tax to finance this construction. The local people opposed this tax. At present, the only reminder of this half-built fort wall is the name Walltax Road given to the road near the Chennai Central Railway Station.

By the early nineteenth century, the British had conquered the French and most of the native South Indian kingdoms. Thus, the use of the forts slowly began to decline. At present, except Fort St George, all the other forts in Chennai are partially or entirely destroyed.


The writer is Tamil Nadu
Convener, INTACH



Courtesy / Source:  Times of India | December 14, 2013

NO MORE TICKETS TO RIDE :: MTC to introduce smartcards

Keep the change: MTC to introduce smartcards

Trial On OMR From March, Regular Users To Benefit

As a first step towards a future without bus conductors, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) will introduce smartcards by March next year. Adyar and OMR will be its trial routes.


The corporation has placed an order for 6,000 electronic ticketing machines (ETMs) that can be used to swipe smartcards as well as dispense tickets. The smartcards can be topped up by a conductor or at a bus depot. “We will also authorise third-party agencies to recharge the cards, like prepaid phone cards,” said a senior official at the secretariat.

Once the entire system is in place, commuters will be able to use their smartcards across all modes of transport — buses, trains and metro rail — without worrying about getting change or buying separate tickets. Authorities will know, in real time, the demands of passengers in different sectors in the city.

The plan is to have passengers tap their cards as they enter the bus, which would not have a conductor. “We will run this as an experiment on OMR as it has the highest number of Volvo buses and passengers on this route are more open to change,” said the official. About 100 ETMs are on trial now.

Those buying monthly passes will be the first to get smartcards. MTC’s system will be compatible with that of the upcoming metro rail. “We are finalising the specifications, and will float the tenders for smartcards soon,” said the MTC official. MTC has about 10,000 conductors on its rolls, and once the system in place they will be used to conduct surprise checks and inspections.

Initially, MTC’s smartcards will be offline and ticketing information will be stored locally on the ETM. “Till CMRL sets up its system, our smartcards will just be validated by ETMs,” said a source.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has been pushing for an elaborate common ticketing system. It will offer smartcards for regular users and tokens for one-time users. “We are working on a system that will accommodate all the players,” said an official. CMRL will be able to monitor their patronage in real time with this system.

Last month, CMRL held a workshop on fare collection. Officials from the state transport authority, MTC, Southern Railway, Centre for Railway Information Systems, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, IRCTC, call taxi operators and representatives of bus ticket booking websites attended it.

Metro rail had proposed a common smart card for electronic fare collection as per international standards. “The challenge is to split the revenue with the department concerned. We are waiting for a response from others,” said the CMRL official.

In Kochi, Private Bus Operators’ Association last month introduced a smartcard system on a pilot basis in 40 buses on the Ernakulam-Kakkanad route. In Bhubaneswar, city bus operator Dream Team Sahara introduced smartcards for commuters on October 10 to deal with the problem of coin scarcity. Several western countries use smartcards that work across different forms of city transport.


  • Electronic ticketing machines | 6,000
  • Smartcards to be issued soon
  • To be used first on OMR
  • Those buying daily, monthly passes to benefit
  • Smartcards will be recharged at depots, by agents
  •  Ticketing information such as time, distance, number of tickets sold will be stored
  • Once metro rail is operational, same card can be used across bus, auto, call taxi, train and even for parking
  • System will go online and authorities can get real-time information on usage
  • Independent body will be set up to collect revenue and split it with different departments

Source: Times of india | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

Stuck on OMR? Pour out woes on FB

Chennai:When youspend25% of your day stuck in traffic, what do you do? Find an online forum to rant.Closeto 6,000 people are members of the ‘I hate commuting on OMR’ page on Facebook.

Stuck on OMR

“There are so many of us who work at one of the offices on OMR and live far away. Four hours of our life every day is spent on commuting from home to office and back. This is a forum for us to vent our frustration,” readsthedescription.

The biggest complainers are the ones who use private vehicles. “I live in Thoraipakkam and I hate getting out of my house between 6pm and 8pm or 9am and11am!Ittakes me more than one hour to reach Thiruvanmiyur signal!” posted AnirudhJRon the page.

“Vehicles come in the wrong direction, there is no respect for signals, people cross roads at their whim and fancy,” postedDeepakParab.

While users of the page blame pedestrians for the traffic mess, the government is pushing for better public transport as the solution. MTC is improving services in the locality so that more people take the bus, and fewer private vehicles clog the road.

“It is impossible to reduce traffic congestion as long as people use private vehicles,” said ShreyaGadepalli, regional director at Institute of Transportation andDevelopmentPolicy.

Around 1.6 lakh people in the IT and BPO sectors work on OMR. “Another 30,000 support staff make their daily commute. This stretch accounts for 70% of the IT sector in Tamil Nadu,” saidKPurushottam,senior director atNASSCOM.

Officialsfrom theTamilNadu Road Development Corporation, which maintains the road, said they built the road thinking it would be able to support thetrafficfor 20 years.The road wasopenedin October 2008. “In 5years,the roadhas reachedits saturation point. We have no clueon how many moreITcompanies are going to come up,” said an official.

Earlier this year, chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced a 45km elevated corridor between Madhya Kailash and Mammallapuram. “Consultants to study the feasibility of this projectwillbechosen in the next two months,” said a TNRDCofficial.

Source: Times of india | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Peshawri – ITC Grand Chola, Chennai
(Times Food and NightLife Awards 2014 winner for Best North Indian)

Robust flavour of the North-West Fronties.

Peshawri, one of ITC’s signature restaurants, serves authentic North West Frontier cuisine. It is renowned for its rustic flavours brought alive in simple elegance. Stand by for hearty flat breads combined with slow-cooked lentils, vegetables and meats exalted by freshly ground condiments. Watch these signature dishes prepared in our display kitchen.

At Peshawri, the tandoori cuisine of the North-West frontier of India, finds a new meaning. The haunt of every celebrity passing through, the restaurants have played host to Crowned heads, Heads of State and famous personalities from all over the world. Reveling in the most delicious kebabs found anywhere in the world.

Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Peshawri, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai


The British demarcated the North-West Frontier Province in the year 1900, which comprised parts of Afghanistan, and the Northwest part of pre independence India. The cuisine has been inspired by the essence of North West frontier tradition, of camaraderie around the warm glow of a campfire – succulent tandoori fare, low on oil and high on authenticity.

The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style of the Indian North-West Frontier region. This style of cooking requires great expertise on the part of the chefs, since the meat is not accompanied by any sauce or gravy, but only pre-marinated and cooked before serving. It takes a chef years of meticulous training and dedication to master the technique of the art of making the breads that are so much vital part of the cuisine, or to acquire the ability to gauge spices, mix marinades, and the most vital of all, to judge the heat of the tandoor and the time necessary for each dish to be perfectly cooked.

Décor / Ambience

A unique concept, the restaurant offers a sophisticated yet totally ethnic experience where the kitchen is part of the restaurant. The decor comprises rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools complete the rugged look. Copper pots and urns are suspended from the ceiling and pillars; the crockery is earthenware in an earthy ochre colour, while the menu is painted on a block of wood. The chequered apron is also a totally novel concept that has become very popular. The view of the kitchen with the busy chefs adds to the warmth of the restaurant, inviting one to take time off to photograph the activity inside the kitchen. The speed by which the food is cooked and delivered to the tables justifies its claim of having one of the most efficient service.

Hours: 12:30 PM – 2:45 PM; 7:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Cuisine: North West Frontier

ITC Grand Chola, Chennai
No. 63, Mount Road, Guindy,Chennai- 600032
Tel : (91) (44) 22200000
Fax : (91) (44) 22200200

For more information please visit:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ITCHotels

Food and NightLife Awards 2014

The Winners of the Times Food and NightLife Awards 2014 Are…


Best North Indian
Peshawri (Fine Dining), Delhi Highway (Casual Dining)

Best South Indian
Dakshin (Fine Dining), Saravana Bhavan (Casual Dining)

Best South Indian Tiffin
Adyar Ananda Bhavan (Casual Dining)

Best Chettinadu
Madras (Fine Dining), Parambriym(Casual Dining)

Best Kerala
Ente Kerelam (Fine Dining), Hotel Crescent (Casual Dining)

Best Andhra
Sankranti (Casual Dining)

Best Coastal
Samudm (Fine Dining), The Marina (Casual Dining)

Best Pure Vegetarian
Royal Indianaa (Fine Dining), Kapila Dasa (Casual Dining)

Best Sunday Brunch
Spectra (Fine Dining)

Best Chinese
Stix (Fine Dining), Chao (Casual Dining)

Best European
The Flying Elephant (Fine Dining), Crimson Chakra (Casual Dining)

Best Italian
Ottimo Cucina Italiana (Fine Dining), Dario’s (Casual Dining)

Best Japanese
Teppan (Fine Dining)

Best Mediterranean
Azulia (Fine Dining)

Best Oriental
Pan Asian (Fine Dining), Wok A Toque (Casual Dining)

Best Pizza
Italia (Fine Dining)

Best Thai
Benjarong (Fine Dining)

Best Korean
Inseoul (Casual Dining)

Best Grills
The Wharf (Fine Dining)

Best Sialers
Yoko Sialers (Casual Dining)

Best 24-Hour Dining
The Dining Room (Fine Dining)

Best Coffee Bars/Tea Lounge
Lobby Lounge (Fine Dining), Eco Cafe (Casual Dining)

Best Confectionery Shop
Biscotti (Fine Dining), Ecstasy (Casual Dining)

Best Mithais
Shree Mithai (Casual Dining)


Best Bar
Library Blu

Best Nightclub
The Flying Elephant

Best Restobar

Courtesy: Timescity.com

MTC Strikes gold on OMR

Techies Take The Bus As Firms Cut Costs; Shorter Routes On IT Corridor Ups Patronage

IT professionals in the city, quite literally, don’t miss the bus. Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has found that routes it runs on Old Mahabalipuram Road, which is home to a host of IT companies, are among its most profitable.


With several companies looking to cut costs, their dependence on government buses has increased by about 10%, said representatives from National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). “Due to cost cutting, the number of private buses hired by companies has come down from 9,000 to 6,000. This has pushed a lot of people towards MTC,” said K Purushottam, senior director at NASSCOM.

MTC has tweaked services to cater to the growing population on the IT corridor. In May 2012, it introduced three routes tailor-made for IT companies. “We have increased it to seven. We have added 50 buses on the stretch in the past year,” said an MTC official involved in planning.

MTC officials said OMR is one of the top performing sectors in the city with more than 300 buses and 50 routes. MTC is in the process of rationalizing its routes for better services. “Of the 50 routes on the corridor, seven accounted for 70% or 210 buses,” said a source. Some of these routes include T51, C51, A21, 570, and 19B.

There are only three major entry points to OMR — Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur and Madhya Kailash. MTC has realised that shortened routes with more frequent stops are in demand. For example, route 570S makes more money than 570 even though it plies 5.3km less. While route 570 covers CMBT to Kelambakkam via Guindy, Velachery and SRP Tools, 570S stops at Siruseri. “The ridership after Siruseri towards Kelambakkam is low and is not justified. On the way back from Kelambakkam towards the city, people at Siruseri prefer using 570S as there are more seats,” said a source.


Of MTC’s 100 air-conditioned buses, 60 run on OMR. “IT company employees form such a large chunk of the passengers on OMR that when there is a public holiday, MTC calls us to find out how many companies are working and what the expected demand would be,” said Purushottam. “Several companies have also put up bus timings at the entrance to encourage more people to use buses.”

Experts say OMR is ideal to implement the bus rapid transit system. “It shows people are willing to shift to public transport if services are provided,” said Shreya Gadepalli, regional director for Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. However, the quality of these services has to improve. “The buses travel at an average speed of 15kmph now. In BRT they can move up to 25kmph. A 50% increase in speed saves time, and helps the corporation reduce its fleet size by a third,” she said. Recent studies by ITDP show that 7,600 people travel per hour per direction on OMR.

Courtesy / Source: Times of India | Times City | Karthikeyan Hemalatha | TNN

Dolphin City, Chennai

Dolphin City Amusement Park in ECR road near Chennai

Dolphin City is one of the mind blowing and oldest amusement park near Chennai city. This has given a very good recreation for the guests. This aricle will provide the details about the Dolphin City amusement Park near ECR road which is nearly 46kms from Chennai city. The landmark to Dolphin city being 10 km before the famous tourist spot of Mahabalipuram and 4 km after the Crocodile Bank.

Dolphin city Amusement Park1

As we all know Chennai is a wonderful place fully filled with many theme parks and amusement parks which gives good recreation to the people in and around Chennai. Chennai city is fully filled with busy people who are searching for a good spot for relaxation and recreation from their works. Most of the IT people who are in Chennai always look for some different place for their relaxation to their mind and body. In this criterion, dolphin city is said to be a wonderful spot for recreation for the people. And also if we visit the place, it will be even more interesting to enjoy things there in Dolphin City amusement park. Even though dolphin city is not located exactly in Chennai, it is very easy to reach Dolphin city from Chennai and also from any other nearest part of Chennai.

This Dolphin city Chennai first started of as a water park with 4 dolphins to entertain the visitors. The Dolphin city Chennai became a success but after some time the dolphins died because they were not able to adjust to their new habitat. Then the authorities brought in sea lions. These sea lions engage in many intelligent activities which enthrall and thrill the visitors.

People who are highly interested in enjoying the natural beauty and the god’s creation will definitely enjoy the beauty of this place. The visitors to dolphin city amusement park are of different ages, starting from kids to the old age people. But in general it is an excellent place for the youngsters to visit and enjoy. This dolphin city is not only famous for the scenic beauty there but also for the other facilities available inside it. People who get into the dolphin city will not even have a mind to get out of it. They will fell like continuously enjoying the beauty of the dolphin city amusement park. This place was constructed in making it a great place for the people with the dolphins and their various performances.

Location of Dolphin City Amusement park

There is a great advantage in the location of the Dolphin City amusement park. Most of the travelers who prefer ECR road find this place as a very good recreation spot. As we all know, ECR is filled with lots of amusement parks and the recreation spots with very good resorts for spending the vacation and also to enjoy with friends. This Dolphin City amusement park is situated in a distance of 46kms in East coast road from Chennai. Any places in East coast road gets popularity very easily as there are many travelers travelling daily in the East Coast Road. There is also another amusement park which lies opposite to the Dolphin city. This amusement park is known as Little Folks amusement park. Dolphin City amusement park is a very good fun spot filled with water and is initiated with Little Folks.

Description about Dolphin City Amusement park

The Dolphin city was very popular when it was first initiated. The show was performed by the dolphins which were shipped for the purpose of animal feats to be performed. As we all know Dolphins are of major attraction for the people. In this idea the Dolphins were imported to this place with a very big sea water tank for performing dolphin shows. During the start of this amusement park it was a very big success with the Dolphins. Later the quality of the show got reduced day by day as the dolphins found it very uncomfortable to adjust with the habitat there. Even though all the facilities were provided for the Dolphins there, it was very difficult for the Dolphins to survive and in just 6 months dolphins started to die one by one. This became a very big difficulty for the management to adjust the shows and the amusement park without the dolphins.

Bringing some more dolphins was also considered to be stupidity and some alternatives were searched. And finally, sea lions were introduced to the Dolphin city amusement park to continue with the shows. Later the shows were taken over by sea lions instead of Dolphins.

Later on the amusement park was developed with many other activities also. Based on the demand of the people and guests, many other water related events are also initiated which attracts the guests. The performances of the Dolphins were very hit once upon a time in the amusement park. And later on it was compensated with the American Sea Lions which gave equal pleasure to the eyes of the viewers. Among all the activities carried out in Dolphin city, American Sea lion’s performance ranks the best. Also special training is also given to the American sea lion in the Dolphin city by experts making it more intelligent. Along with this there are also experts who teach many tricks to the sea lions and make them perform in front of the audiences.

Features of Dolphin City amusement park

Apart from the special shows of the Sea Lions there, there are also many other featured activities taking place in Dolphin city amusement park. The features of the Dolphin city amusement park not only entertains the guests with special shows and events, but also it acts as a great spot for recreation of the guests by providing the guests with great comforts. There are many outlets for eating inside the amusement park which also consists of one multi cuisine restaurant also. Apart from the food items there are also many fancy items and gift items available for purchase. There is an outlet named Notty Nutty Curios which sells numerous electronic goods and accessories along with other items such as swim suits. Also there are outlets available where you can purchase gift articles. Some of the other features of the Dolphin city amusement park is as follows.

• Leisure Boating
• Disco Scooter
• Animal Simulator
• Under water view
• Chuck wagon
• Slide Swimming Pool
• Tea Cup
• Open Air Theatre
• Dragon Ride

There are some more features of Dolphin City including Under Water View of Dolphin city Chennai, Leisure Boating of Dolphin city Chennai, Slide Swimming Pool in Dolphin city Chennai, Open Air Theatre in Dolphin city Chennai, Chuck Wagon, Disco Scooter in Dolphin city Chennai, Tea Cup in Dolphin city Chennai, Animal Simulator of Dolphin city Chennai and Dragon Ride in Dolphin city Chennai. The park houses a multi cuisine restaurant and a number of Restaurant in Dolphin city Chennai. The Notty Nutty Curios in the park complex sells various gift articles, swim suits and electronic accessories. The Multi-Cuisine Restaurant of Dolphin city Chennai caters to a variety of tastes and the eating outlets stock – Popcorn, Ice Creams, soft drinks and Confectioneries. The complex houses shops where you can buy batteries, cameras, gift articles, toys, games, sun glasses, caps, swimwear, etc. Coaches (Bus) can be arranged on request at affordable rates.

Address: East Coast Road, Chennai
Telephone: 04114-46370.

Courtesy / Source:
Author: Balasubramanian S

Dash N Splash Water Park

Chennai’s 1st & Exclusive Water Park opened since 1995. It has water rides, landing pools, artificial rainfall, water rides for kids, play area, party hall. The water park is fully shaded with coconut groove and lot of greenery leaving refreshed from daily life. – Knowing Swimming is not required – Rides for All Ages.


Dash N Splash Water Park, Mevallurkuppam Village, Sriperumbudur, Chennai- 602105, Tamil Nadu
Phone: (044) 27156200, (044) 27156211
Mobile: 9841907322

Dash N Splash - RouteMap

Landmark: Behind Savitha Engineering & Medical College
Category: Amusement & Themepark

For more information please visit:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash_n_Splash
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DASH.N.SPLASH

Keywords: dash n splash amusement park in chennai, dash n splash water park, water rides in chennai, amusement park in chennai, artificial rainfall park, swimming pools in chennai, theme park in chennai, theme park in Sriperumbudur chennai, Water Park in chennai, Sriperumbudur Chennai

Kart Attack, ECR (East Coast Road), Chennai

Kart Attack - go-Kart Racing

Do you fantasize being the next Senna or Schumacher? Want to feel the same rush and create your own Grandprix records? You can live your dream at Kart attack, even if it is only for 5 minutes! Go-karting aims to bring motorsport opportunities to the masses and even if you have no driving skills, you can still Go-kart!

These karts can be driven by anyone over the age of 10. All of today’s motorcar racers have started their racing careers with Go-karting. This is the first step to success in car racing! Not everyone has the resources to try a hand at professional motorsports. Go-karting is as close to the real thing as you can get and it is easily accessible by one and all.

KART ATTACK – The Track is 260 meters long. The karts are powered by 200cc Honda 4 stroke petrol driven engines. Each race is for 5 minutes, and you get to race either with your friends or anybody else. Every driver is individually lap timed by transponders supplied by Mylaps sports timing, Belgium, the world’s no1 in sports timing gadgets. At the end of each race, a race result printout is given to the participants. This report lists out the clear winner of that race, with every driver’s final position and their fastest lap timings. This encourages each driver to fine tune their skills with every outing on the track.

Kart Attack - go-Kart Racing, ECR, Chennai

Kart Attack – go-Kart Racing, ECR, Chennai

Even the corporate world benefits from this fun motorsport. Every outing on the track rewards the participants with superior team building skills, the most important requisite for success on the job! Moreover, a few laps on our track will give you the added benefits of a great adrenaline rush that washes away all the stress of a high pressure life, built up over a long time, making you feel more alive and rejuvenated than ever before!

KART ATTACK sports centre
No: 101, East Cost Road.
Akkarai, Chennai – 600 119.
Tel: 044 3299 0000

For more information please visit: http://www.kartattack.com/

Are the city’s youth interested in visiting heritage sites?

Chennai, with historically rich records dating from the British era, houses many heritage buildings within its metropolitan area. But when was the last time you went to one? No, we are not just referring to Chennai Central Railway Station or the Madras High Court, but places like Government Museum Building, Chepauk Palace and the National Art Gallery. On the occasion of World Heritage Week, we decided to do a perspective check if youngsters go to heritage sites by choice. Madhavan Santhangopalan, a 24-year-old software engineer, says, “I don’t remember the last time I went to a heritage site. My parents took me to the Brihadeewara Temple at Thanjavur when I was 11, but after that, I don’t think I’ve been to any heritage sites.” Ask him if he has been to Mahabalipuram and he excitedly says “Yes, of course”. However, when we probe, he says, “I have been to the beach and the cafes.”

Mahabalipuram, or Mahabs as it is popularly known, is famous for the serene beach, the bustling food joints and delectable food. But this is not all that’s there to the place. Do you know that near the beach are a group of monuments that were built by the Pallava Kings in the 7th and the 8th century?

So, where do youngsters like to go? Says Amreetha Krishnamurthy, a college student, “Whenever my friends and I plan a getaway, heritage sites are not on the list. When we don’t have a lot of time, we go to a mall or some coffee joint. In evenings, we go to nightclubs.”

Kollywood music composer Anirudh echoes that sentiment too. Would the composer — whose favourite holiday destination is New York — go to a heritage site for a holiday? He says, “Honestly, I will not plan to go to heritage sites when I want to chill out. The idea of a holiday is to shop, hangout with friends, relax and come back refreshed. And, our parents didn’t go there either when they were younger!” However, Anirudh also realizes that it’s time the younger generation visits such sites and adds, “Given a chance, I would love to visit the Thanjavur temple.”

However, there are a few like Anusha Venkateswaran, a 25-year-old working professional, who has planned all her trips in the last year around a world heritage site. After tasting a slice of history at Udaipur and Hampi, she’s planning her next trip in February to Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, with her friends during the annual dance festival. “If a place has been accredited as a heritage site by international bodies, then it means there’s got to be something special about it. I find history charming, and these sites give you a glimpse into the past and the way men lived in those generations,” says Anusha.

Dr R Kannan, Principal Secretary in Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department of the state government, states that measures are being taken to promote heritage tourism with the youth. He says, “While there are many packages for school excursions and foreigners, the tourism ministry has also designed special packages like adventure tourism and world heritage site packages for youngsters that are inexpensive as well.”

- Include sound and light shows
- Cheaper packages
- Hold cultural festivals


The shore temple at Mahabalipuram


Source: Chennai Times | Times of India | Isha Sharma
Photo Courtesy: BA Raju