It is about this time of the year that the Madras Day celebrations kick in for a period of about a week starting from August 22nd.The event is to commemorate the birth of Madras about 376 years ago. The British established their base here and many of the streets in Chennai (Madras was rechristened as Chennai on August 22, 1996.) bear the British names even today. This city has also many magnificent structures that were built during the British times. The British had a long stint in India during their colonial rule and Madras was one of the important base of the British in India.
For about a week there is a plethora of activities such as music, plays, lectures, dance, competition in various forms of art, photography, photo exhibitions etc. I happened to go to one such contest - The Kolam Contest.
Kolam (Tamil-கோலம்) is a form of drawing using rice flour or chalk powder or white rock powder. Often natural or synthetic colour powders are also used to make the pattern very colourful and eye catching. This is essentially a South Indian tradition. In many of the States of South India such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala Kolams are drawn outside many Hindu houses everyday in the morning. The front of the house is cleaned and one of the ladies would take the rice flour or chalk powder and draw the Kolam developing the patterns in a free hand sketch. On festive occasions the size of the Kolam could be fairly large. In such cases for a pre determined pattern dots are made on the floor in a grid form which are then joined to form the final Kolam pattern. Colours are often used to enhance the look of the Kolam and to give vibrancy to the pattern.
There was a Kolam contest at the Marina beach - the second longest beach in the world. There was also a South Indian classical music (vocal) perfomance by one of the young musicians of Chennai. I had the opportunity to take some photographs that are presented here.