was in a whirlwind trip – to Chennai, Pondicherry and back.
though i have visited Pondicherry many times in the past, never had an opportunity to see some of the local sights.
this time, since another friend and family were also visiting Pondicherry, we met up and went first to the botanical garden.
not very easy to locate and in a pretty run down condition, with the two bulls mutilated..
it was a sad picture.
the aquarium there was much better, though small.
also saw what was labelled as the oldest mahogany tree in India
and a nice looking insect on the lawn
the next stop was chunnambar, the lake / water sport location developed by the Pondicherry Tourism development corporation.
since it was windy, they had suspended the full boat trips and the trip to the island beach.
so, took a short speedboat ride.
the last stop was at arikamedu, a place where some old roman coins and other stuff were discovered.
this is a heritage site, managed by the archaeology department.
looked like hardly anyone goes there – and we got there after multiple queries along the way, till we reached the village and were directed on a non-existent road for the last stretch.
nobody was around to guide us. nor were there any information boards.
as we walked to the backwaters to the river bank, the view was worth it!
on the way back from Pondicherry, we decided to travel via Salem and visit Tiruchengode, that has an Ardhanareeswarar temple on a hilltop.
it was a short, nice drive up the hill that we took, rather than the 1200 step climb.
en route, we also was the 1008 lingam temple – from the road. did not stop to find out more..
even Wikipedia did not have an entry.
earlier, in Chennai, it was just a day.
this, as you would know, is the music season. the ultimate destination for all Carnatic music lovers every year.
attended just one concert by an upcoming artist – who is also a family friend.
other than that, met some others, who were so so serious about everything music and the season.
the newspaper carries special sections on the music season.
there are guides to help rasikas navigate the schedules at various venues.
the discussions are not only about the classical music, its technicalities, the variations and the debate on contemporization by not sticking to the traditional formats.
some of these also go beyond the music – the idiosyncrasies and private lives of the musicians and other influencers of the music ecosystem.
since i did not attend many concerts – that too the prime time ones, could not get to experience what one reads in the magazine cartoons – about the new clothes, jewellery and other topics that the rasikas discuss during these performances.
these include the sabhas, the critiques and the celebrity makers.
these have been usual during the December or marghazhi music season.
associated with every sabha is also a caterer. this time, i noticed the ‘specials’ on the menu at some sabhas and interviews with the caterer also featured in the newspaper.
and the focus on the economics of all this, probably a shade more than the altruistic motive of preserving / promoting the classical music tradition – seems to only get more every year.
MMMM = Madras Marghazhi Music season Musings