What with my having fallen in love with Indeco’s Swamimalai heritage resort, going there has become an annual affair. I was there this year in February and one morning, as part of my daily exercise, I walked from the resort which is neighbouring Bapurajapuram to Swamimalai town. En route, what with the Swamimalai Municipality having taken its duties very seriously, I could not help noticing the bright blue signboards bearing street names. I am thankful for these in every way – their visibility and the fact that they bring long forgotten street names back.
To someone from Chennai, where everything is either an Anna or a Kamaraj, with some left over for Gandhi, Nehru and more for Mu Ka et al,the street names of Swamimalai are refreshingly forthright. No hiding of locality history under the guise of secularism. Thus we have:
Then there were the community-based streets like these:
Does Mudukku Theru (the second name on the above signboard) indicate it is a crooked street?And if there was a Chinna Saliyar Street, a Periya Saliyar Street had to be close by. As it was:
I strongly suspect that Yadava Street is a later caption, when the Saliyar community decided to give itself some other name. Some street names were pretty standard and common to several other towns. The main street is Raja Veethi:
And how can any self-respecting town not have a Chinna Kadai Street?
Some names were beyond me. What is Lingadi Street? Though its other name Mettan Theru probably means it is at a relative elevation.
This one probably has some old Mahratta connection:
There was one more which said Madapirappu Kattalai Street (மாதபிறப்பு கட்டளை) – the street for the First Day of the Month Endowment. I dont know what that is.
I suppose a time will come when everything in Swamimalai will come Puram and Nagar (nahar in #kogul). But until then, let us rejoice in some local history.