Hop aboard the Heritage Express
Gear up to celebrate Madras Week from August 22 till the month-end with carriage-drawn rides and educational tours organised by TNIE
CHENNAI: It is that time of the year again when we take pride in belonging to the land of culture and heritage — Madras. We look back at the gurgling canals and rivers that made up Madras, the city’s journey from being Madrasapattinam to modern-day Chennai, the distinctively designed heritage structures and the people who led to the city’s growth. Over the years, The New Indian Express has celebrated namma ooru in double-decker buses and on Metro trains. This year, as Madras turns 384 on Tuesday, TNIE joins in on the revelry with eco-friendly rides and educative walks.
A day at the Marina
Madrasa suththi paaka poren, Marinavil veedu katta poren....well, while we can’t guarantee you a house on Marina as the lyrics of the song go, we can assure you a trip along the world’s second largest beach. ‘A Ride With #madrasmemories’ will take you go back in time and let you experience what the city has to offer on a horse chariot. Join us on a nostalgic ride down the Marina Beach from August 22 to 24. And to make this ride a lot more interesting, children aged 12 and below can come dressed as their favourite Madras heroes — From Sivaji Ganesan as Veerapandiya Kattabomman to late chief minister K Kamarajar, there is no dearth of heroes to look up to!
Walk and learn
Hopping on the bandwagon of heritage walks, TNIE presents #expresswalk. From August 22-24, head to the AVM studio and learn all about the history of cinema at the AVM heritage museum. Madras, with its vibrant and thriving film industry, has played a crucial role in shaping the Indian film landscape. AVM Productions, founded by the legendary AV Meiyappan has been an integral part of this journey. Recognised for pioneering Tamil cinema, AVM Productions has produced some of the most memorable and iconic films in the history of Indian cinema.
The AVM Heritage Museum stands as a reminiscence of this glorious cinematic tradition. In the museum are 40-odd vintage cars and 25 motorbikes that have been used in numerous films backed by the production. You will find Ambassadors and Jeeps with archaic number plates. One of the chief attractions of the museum is AV Meiyappan’s vintage Vauxhall 14 car right next to a stylish statue of Rajinikanth from Sivaji. From Dodge Kingsway used by actor-politician MG Ramachandran to convertibles used in many old films, there is something to grab your attention.
The crown jewels of the museum are the shooting equipment. From the vintage cameras and recording equipment to the preserved items of iconic film sets, the museum brings alive the journey of AVM Productions. Visitors can also witness the evolution of Indian cinema technology, from the decades-old film reels to the advent of digital filmmaking. There are also posters of films produced by AVM so far.
“Moreover, the museum holds a special place in the hearts of Chennai’s residents, for whom cinema is an integral part of their culture. It serves as a reminiscence of their fondest memories, reliving the moments of cinematic brilliance that the city has enthralled,” shares MS Guhan, managing partner, AVM Productions.
On August 28, a walk will be held at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Perambur, where you can witness Vande Bharat coaches being built. The ICF manufactured Train 18, the first self-propelled train without locomotives, using 80% indigenous materials. It aimed to enhance city connectivity, with its chair car coaches designed for faster travel between major cities. Prototype of Train 18 rake was rolled out in October 2018, it was later renamed Vande Bharat Express and introduced between New Delhi and Varanasi in February 2019. The Train 18 prototype underwent technical changes in 2020 and 2023. The Indian government has deployed 25 of the 33 train sets (16 to eight coaches) rolled out by ICF, with the remaining sets undergoing testing.
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From the archives
If you love taking a trip down memory lane by sifting through your photo albums and reliving the good ol’ days, share them with us, too. Look for your old family photos featuring iconic Madras locations as backdrops and send them to us. The best entries will be featured in Chennai Express and stand a chance to win gifts. Email your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Come, join us and celebrate your love for Madras.