My Native Place
By Divyaa Doraiswamy
Founder – GURUKULAM The Shloka Learning Centre (REGD), Bangalore
Foreword by Venkat
Memories are best, of the songs which touch, of the stories that inspire, of the people that love, and of the places that are exciting. Chennai became Divyaa’s Disneyland as a child, offering the exciting change from the Bengaluru gardens, and the boring quietness at home. It is natural that we absorb as well as observe better when we are into things in full enthusiasm – so evident in Divyaa’s descriptions and lucid imagery.
Reflect on the things that bring out the spirits in you and their influence on your choices as Divyaa spotlights on every such event and place in this lovely article!
Call me an ECONOMIST / SHLOKAPRENEUR or a SOCHCASTER…firstly I am a theist in every right. An extremely confident young lady in my early 40’s living in one of the most beautiful cities of India – Bangalore. I love the Temples I visit and absolutely long for the Annadanams I partake in every Thursday. My frequent visits to an old age home helping elderly parents who have been left to the mercy of the Lord to get free medical treatment and medicines is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. Most importantly, GURUKULAM – THE SHLOKA LEARNING CENTRE isn’t a dream any longer.
FOUNDER – GURUKULAM The Shloka Learning Centre (REGD) Shlokapreneur, Economist, Sochcaster, and Writer http://www.shlokapreneurdivyaa.com
My Native Place
My love for temples, shlokas, my immense faith in God, and my intense belief in a repeated divine intervention during every challenging phase of my life is not a recent development. They stem from my rich, cultural childhood experiences during my yearly visit to my native place, Chennai, for my summer holidays. My passion and desire to keep the traditional roots in place are thanks to the rich culture and tradition I have been exposed to during these trips. The whole concept of “Gurukulam” probably germinated from my deep-rooted association with tradition and culture from a very young age.
Despite being a rapidly growing metropolitan that is highly cosmopolitan, embraces a variety of cultures, and is modern, Chennai has been deemed the cultural capital of India. It is deep-rooted in its traditions and culture. With over 300 temples famous for their architectural beauty, cultural significance, and historical importance, it is a paradise for anyone seeking to understand the intricacies of the traditions and customs of Hindu mythology and religion. The temples here are not only architectural wonders but also exemplify the rich cultural heritage and customs of the Hindu faith. Thousands and thousands of devotees flock to the city every year to catch a glimpse of the Gods and Goddesses dwelling in these temples, authenticating this fact.
I was raised in Bangalore. My parents’ side of the family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins- settled in Chennai. Our summer holidays were spent year after year in my relatives’ homes in Chennai. Although the weather of Chennai was something we dreaded, primarily because of hailing from the “then-Garden-City” of Bangalore, the adventures and experiences were something that we looked forward to every year.
My exhilaration began right from the train travel from Bangalore to Chennai. I loved being pampered with books like Tinkle, Champak, Chandamama, and Readers Digest to keep me engrossed during the trip, observing people’s behaviors and socializing, and ordering a variety of delicacies all along the journey till the Chennai station arrived. It was an enlivening experience. Images of the bustling noise, hustling people, and whistling trains are an everlasting memory that, even today, bring joy to an otherwise sometimes mundane life.
My aunt’s home was the meeting hub for all relatives. It was a special feeling to be surrounded by so many family members, all excited to meet each other. Coming from a nuclear family, we were used to a quiet household. All the loud noise and chatter among relatives was now a welcome relief. Playing tag, watching movies, eating together, napping, and chit-chatting are what we indulged in most of the time. All of us cousins also spent a lot of time listening to the experiences and stories narrated to us by our grandmother, aunts, and uncles.
Visiting a Chennai landmark every day was on the agenda, too, since we were tourists. Beaches, the snake park, the zoo, museums, restaurants, and temples were the top picks. Our family probably believed in “A temple visit a day keeps all the worries at bay.” Chennai is home to hundreds of temples, each housing a different deity.
The culture, tradition, history, grandeur, varied architectural styles, divine fragrance, and delicious prasadam make these temples one of the favorite landmarks of Chennai. Thousands of people throng the temples every day, seeking various experiences and prayers.
The Kapaleeswarar Temple, a famous and prominent landmark in Mylapore, is one of my favorite temples. The prime idol is the Lord Siva in the form of Lingam. Built-in the 7th century by the Pallavas, it is said to be one of the oldest temples in Tamilnadu. The Parthasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is another beautiful temple in Triplicane that I love to visit. It is believed to have been built during the 8th century by the Pallavas. The temple also has several inscriptions, sculptures, and murals dedicated to the mythological Kurukshetra war and has Lord Vishnu in three of his most iconic avatars: Narasimha, Rama, and Krishna.
Soaking in rich culture, heritage, and mythological history, the temples of Chennai have definitely left long-lasting impacts on me, shaping me into the person I am today. Although I am a true blue Bangalorean, my religious and spiritual side results from my childhood experiences in my native place Chennai.
By Divyaa Doraiswamy