Landmarks of Chennai: The Statue of Kannagi
I have been mulling over what to write about, to keep the interest and continuity going and I think I found the topic. It is said that there are about 40 – 50 statues of famous event and people that are all around Chennai. I am not aware of where they are, and most of the time, I keep standing and gazing at the statue hoping that it would just start talking and tell me who they are supposed to be. Yep, I am clueless in most cases as to what these statues represent. There is supposed to be a plank that explains it all, but most of these statues are bang in the centre of busy intersections, that i’d be risking my life trying to get to the status to read it.
I thought I’ll risk it for you all. My journey for the next couple of weeks is to go hunt down all the status and landmarks of chennai and post them here. If anyone wants to join, they are more than welcome to.
Here is all starts, with the statue of Kannagi..
Photo Credit: www.chennainetwork.com
Location: Marina Beach Chennai.
The Story of Kannagi is a well known one. A story of going after injustice that was committed to her not-so-faithful husband, and the wrath of a woman on the city of Madurai because of the unjust ruling of a case.
According to Silapathigaram, Kannagi’s husband Kovalan was beheaded on the orders of the King of Madurai after being accused of stealing the queen’s anklet (with pearls inside) and selling it. Kannagi went to the King’s court to demand justice and proved to him that Kovalan was trying to sell her anklet, which had rubies and not pearls inside it. While the King and queens die of remorse, Kannagi burned down Madurai with a curse.
There are quite a few jokes that have even found their way into movies as to why a matter that was to be resolved within a family resulted in the burning of a city. But the values of the past and traditions do say that the right and wrong of a king, usually reflects on the entire kingdom and perhaps “burning” of the city was symbolically to denote that the reputation of the king was lost. Or perhaps not.
Coming back to the statue, it was apparently one of the 40 statues that were erected in 1968. I wonder how many of those are still standing, as this statue itself went disappearing for a short while owing to reasons of renovation and rumours of prophecies of doom – God knows the true reasons!.
This is probably one of the well known statues around the city. Let me see what other statues are around, hidden away in this city.
Trivia: Apparently the model for this statue was a well known actress and socialite of the 1960s named Kalpana. Hmm.. who knew!