A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gifted me with a slim Tamil volume titled Thamizhaga Thadangal. All of 144 pages and written by maNA (I am sorry I dont know what his real name is) it is a set of articles on some lesser known spots in Tamil Nadu, all of them with a great history of their own. The book is a compilation of articles maNa has written on these places for various Tamil magazines. Given the way we teach history, it is of course quite likely that these will all remain less-known and may one day vanish. maNA writes wonderfully and the book is a must read and from then on these spots will become ‘must visits’.

I am listing the spots he has covered in the book:

1. Sambal Nattam near Madurai where the Jains were massacred following the king’s conversion to Saivism
2. Taali Aruttaan Santai – a market place with such a peculiar and inauspicious name
3. The prison where Oomai Durai was incarcerated
4. Nellai Sulochana Mudaliar Bridge (I have been here)
5. Fort St George (been there done that)
6. Sivaganga Palace
7. Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur (Seen it)
8. Dalavoy Veluthambi’s House
9. Irenaeus Iyer’s Tomb
10. The well into which Sundaralingam jumped
11. Marudanayagam Dargah
12. Collector Ashe’s Tomb
13. EVR Periyar’s Manjal Market
14. The War Memorial, Madras (seen)
15. The oil press that VOC worked on while in prison (have seen and wept)
16. Spots associated with the Marudu Pandi brothers
17. Panchalamkurichi fort
18. Clarinda Church
19. The first theatre of South India (Disputable as he claims this is the Warwick Theatre on Mount Road)
20. Vattakkudi Iranian Memorial
21. Madurai Gandhi Museum (seen when it was a holy mess. Am told it is better now)
22. Kizhvenmani Memorial
23. Raja Sandow’s Tomb
24. Sankaradoss Swamigal’s Memorial
25. Cheranmadevi Bharadwaja Ashramam
26. Papparapatti Ashramam
27. The spot in Madurai from where the 16 pillared Mandapam was uprooted and taken to America (seen and hilarious story. Speaks volumes of our greed to exploit our heritage in the wrong way)
28. Reading Room in Karungal Palayam
29.Vallalar’s House (seen)
30. Central Studio, Coimbatore
31. Memorial to Tiruppur Kumaran
32. Potti Sriramulu Memorial (seen several times and used its library as well)
33. The place where Sankaralinganar gave up his life
34. Memorial to MR Radha’s first love
35. Salem Modern Theatres
36. Devakottai Rasta Studios
37. The house of MK Thyagaraja Bhagavatar (seen)
38. Bhootapandi Jiva’s house
39. Sivaji Ganesan’s house in Sangiliyandapuram
40. Ramavaram Gardens (seen)

Some of the places and stories were complete eye-openers for me. Published 2005, Uyirmai Pathippagam, Rs 90