I was in Trichy two weeks ago; it was the Golden Jubilee celebrations of my alma mater which we’d missed anyway. I usually don’t visit Srirangam on my trips there but this time happened to go there two times in three days. And each time, was in for a complete surprise. The crowded thoroughfare leading upto the temple was full of stuff that has eluded me for a while: cast iron cookware (not comparable to Lodge for quality but will do the job at 1/10th the price), baskets, plastic koodai, brassware….

I was at peace there. Longed to go back a second time. Felt very much at home even though it was probably the second time I’ve been there. Do you ever get that  feeling? I draw great comfort from shopping at roadside shops, and engaging in conversations with the vendors (there’s no pretense here).

Here’s a visual tour of the shops on the wayside leading up to the temple (called kovil kadai). I took the pictures on my phone so the quality is not great. As a kid, I never stood to marvel at the architecture of our temples especially having spent so much time in the temple town of Kumbakonam. It’s only now that this craftsmanship from hundreds of years ago stops me in my tracks.  It’s a pleasure to re-discover all the treasures that lay so close all these years and yet I never took notice.




Cast iron cookware, brass dice (dhayakattai), mortar and pestle, stone lamps, wooden skewers, baskets, and figurines made from 5 metals/brass.



Images: all taken by me

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