Copy Right

PLEASE NOTE: NO ARTICLES, PHOTOGRAPHS, INFORMATION OR PART THERE OF, of this SITE / PUBLICATION may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the owner of this blog as any copying without permission will amount to Plagarism and infringement of Copy Right.

Friday, August 29, 2014


 In the olden days there were no Poultry farms, like there are now a days, where Broiler Chickens are fed with hormones and specially bred to grow very big in a short span of  time. In just 6 to 8 weeks they grow from cute fluffy chicks to hens that are ready for the table. In those days most  families reared and  bred their own Country and Fancy Fowls in their own homes, lovingly cared for and nurtured and fed with natural grains. The hens and chickens were allowed to roam and graze freely clucking and clacking away while pecking at the food on the ground.  

Our Mining Bunmgalow in KGF had a large garden around it and we had sufficient space for Fowl Runs and Hen Houses in our back garden. My mum was very fond of rearing hens, chickens, ducks and even turkeys. We had quite a number of White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Black leghorns as well as many Country Fowls. We also had a few Roosters to keep the hens company!! The eggs laid by these hens were used for our breakfast every morning. My mum was very particular about the health of her poultry.  She would always check and ensure that their eyes were bright, their nostrils dry, their feathers shiny and they were active and alert. Any deviation from this would mean that they were sick or under the weather. She would immediately separate the affected bird from the others and give it some ‘Omum water’ or some other medicine. The hens were fed with grains such as wheat, millets, and also some left over household food and vegetable scraps. With all this special attention our poultry were real tasty and well nourished birds when they finally landed up on our dining table.

 When my mum  noticed that a particular hen was nearing the ‘Broody’ season she would save all the eggs and mark them date wise. She would then arrange the eggs on a bed of soft sand, in a deep basket or ‘Makri’ and the hen would sit over the eggs for 21 days. We would eagerly wait for the eggs to hatch. My mum would leave grains and water near the hen so she wouldn’t get hungry. I still remember the delight and happiness we felt when the eggs hatched and the tiny chickens came out. The hen would then get very protective of her chicks and keep them under her for at least 10 more days. If any of us went close she’d try to peck us as she presumed that we wanted to take away her chicks!!

After about 10 days my mum would shift the mother hen and the chicks to a separate Fowl Run. These little chicks would slowly grow and they would either be used for the table or again to hatch more chicks. The circle thus went on.

My mum also reared Turkeys and ducks for Christmas and for our First Holy Communions. The turkeys and ducks reared in our house were always big and well fed. They were fattened up with a special diet of oil cakes, ragi and grain. The oil cakes were known as ‘PUNAK’ in Tamil and we loved saying this word ‘PUNAK’.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Pencil Sketches of the KGF Boy's School and the Tin Roof Water Storge Tank near the KGF School, Oorgaum , KGF by Mr R Sri Murugan an ex resident of KGF in 1966.

Mr. 'R Sri Murugan' who was born and studied in KGF is an engineer by profession. He worked as a civil engineer for nearly 20 years. He also freelanced as an artist for various architects, design centres and builders and promoters. He coined the term 'Peeli' meaning peacock, in tamil literature, that he studied in school. His drawings and paintings bear this name for over 50 years. He specializes in line sketches, and paintings in various mediums. In addition he has also created murals and metal etchings for various clients. He now lives in Hyderabad.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


In order to commemorate the Centenary of the Kolar Gold Mines, the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department issued a special commemorative Postage Stamp and First Day Cover on 20th December 1980
Philatelic Stamp Description : The stamp depicts a miner drilling for ore along with representation of molten gold being poured into a mould and a few gold bricks.
The first day cover shows old and new techniques of drilling for ore against a mine head structure.

Stamp Issue Date : 20/12/1980
Postage Stamp Denomination: 1.00
Postal Stamp Serial Number: 0990
Postal Stamp Name: GOLD MINING
Stamp Currency: Rupee
Stamp Language: English
Stamp Overall Size: 3.91 X 2.90 cms
Postal Stamp Print Size: 3.55 X 2.5 cms.
Number of Stamps Per Sheet: 35
Stamp Perforations: 13 x 13
Postal Stamp Shape: Vertical
Postage Stamp Paper: Un-watermarked adhesive stamp paper
Indian Stamp Process: Photogravure
Number of stamps printed: 15,00,000
Stamp Printed At: India Security Press

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

KGF - Namakara Hawker and China Man John

Namakara Hawker was a Walking fancy Store. He had everything that could be found in a regular Fancy Store among his wares. He had all his wares packed between layers of brown paper and tied with white sheets in two huge bundles (An excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE)
Namakara Hawker and China Man John were the other hawkers who visited our house on a regular basis. As little children, we didn’t know that Namakara Hawker’s actual name was Mr. Venugopal. He was known as the ‘Namakara’ Hawker only because (being a Brahmin), he had three ‘Namus’ or 3 vertical Red lines drawn on his forehead which was the sign of his Hindu caste. The word ‘Namakara’ meant ‘Man with Namus’.
Namakara Hawker was a Walking fancy Store. He had everything that could be found in a regular Fancy Store among his wares. He had all his wares packed between layers of brown paper and tied with white sheets in two huge bundles. Namakara engaged two men to carry the bundles for him on their heads while he walked at their side carrying his umbrella.  Namakara Hawker had everything from safety pins, elastic in running length, Cotton Bras, Dress Materials, Nail polish, Hair Pins, Hair clips, Clothes Clips, Cotton Vests and Banyans, Men’s Briefs, locks and keys, screw drivers, nail clippers, nail files, scissors, handkerchiefs, scarves, Naphthalene Balls, etc to Reels of white and Coloured thread for the Sewing machine, Skeins of embroidery thread, machine oil, balms, hair oil, bundles of knitting wool, knitting needles, machine needles, plastic brushes, combs, pens, shirt material, pant material, etc, etc in his bundles. Each variety was packed separately between layers of brown paper.
Whenever Namakara Hawker visited out house, we’d eagerly wait for him to open his wares. It was so exciting watching him open each layer of brown paper and reveal the items concealed in them. There would be ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahs’ of delight when we saw something we liked and much smirking and sly smiles when he came to the Bras and Panties. We’d worry my mum to buy us stuff from Namakara even if we didn’t need it.
Namakara Hawker was a permanent fixture in our lives during the first and third week of every month. He extended credit and installment facilities to all his customers and each family had a separate page in his account book. He would collect his dues in the first week of the month after the salary day, and bring his wares for sale again in the third week. He was always sure of making a sale in whichever house he went to.
I remember Namakara Hawker coming around to the houses in the mines right up to the 1970’s. He must have been about 80 years old then and he was still healthy and active. However, his walk had slowed down and he was quite bent up. We were all very sad when we heard that he passed away in 1976. It seemed like the end of an era.
Chinaman John was another Hawker who regularly visited all the Anglo-Indian homes in KGF. Chinaman John was a Chinese National settled in KGF. He was married to a local Tamil lady and had 4 children. His son studied in the KGF Boy’s School and his daughters Violet, Charlotte and Lilly studied in St Joseph’s Convent. We didn’t find it at all strange that while they had Chinese features, they had an Indian dark complexion. Chinaman John would get consignments of soft, beautiful Silk dress materials, Silk Cushion Covers, silk table cloths etc from China and bring them around to the Anglo-Indian houses. Sometimes, he would get beautiful Silk Kimonos with elaborate embroidery of dragons and lanterns in gold and red silk threads. Chinaman John never left an Anglo-Indian home without making a sale!!!


Monday, June 2, 2014


The Jamun / Jamlum Season  is on in Bangalore and the sight of these dark, luscious Black Plums brings back many nostalgic memories of the Jamun / Jamlum and other fruit Trees in our garden in KGF.
Our Mining  house in KGF was an independent bungalow surrounded by a huge garden with lots of plants and trees. Our garden was always a profusion of colors, with huge beds of lovely flowering plants and shrubs in the front and back gardens. Asters, Daisies, Lilies, Roses, Cannas, Tiger Lilies, Spider Lilies, St Joseph’s lilies, Phlox, hollyhocks, Cockscombs, Hydrangeas and Pansies were some of the flowering plants in our garden, besides the jasmines, and frangipanis. We didn’t have to go to a florist to buy a bouquet of flowers for anyone’s birthday. We had ample flowers in our own garden to make beautiful bouquets!!!
Our garden also had a number of fruit trees such as mangoes, guavas, jamun / jamlums, custard apples, goose berries, papaya, Jack Fruit etc. All these trees had been lovingly planted by my grandmother Nana Maud and later nurtured by my mum. The garden with its abundance of plants and trees were home to numerous birds, squirrels and insects as well. We woke up every morning to the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees and hedges. The cawing of crows, the chirping of the sparrows, the sounds of the mynahs and the cry of the Koel and the Cuckoo bird was music to our ears in the morning.  Wild parrots, bulbuls, mynahs, crows, sparrows, wild pigeons, blue Jays, and squirrels built their nests and fed off the Jamlums, guavas, mangoes and papayas in our garden. It was so enjoyable to watch these birds sunning themselves and trying to attract their mates by fluffing out their feathers and strutting around. 
The Jackfruit trees bore delicious Jackfruits that were huge and as sweet as honey. Since the trees bore so many Jackfruits, my mum would distribute them to the workers who worked under my dad and to all our neighbours, friends, domestic helpers, etc. 

During the Mango season, the 4 Mango trees in our garden would be loaded with fruit. My mum would use some of the green mangoes to make delicious Mango pickle and lots would be left to ripen in straw for us. Since the trees bore so many mangoes we would distribute the rest among lots of people. My mum  would also make delicious Jams, Juices and Squashes besides a variety of puddings, custards, fruit salads etc with this golden fruit.

How could I forget the Jamlum Trees in our garden. During the summer months the 2 Jamlum / Jamun trees would be loaded with fruit. The dark, luscious black plums would gleam in the sun. The birds and squirrels would have a feast  everyday and by evening they would get drowsy from being intoxicated with this fruit. We would feast on these delicious black plums with salt and sometimes a little chillie powder. My mum was an expert in making a delicious Wine with the Jamlums from our garden.

The guava trees, Custard apple trees, Gooseberry trees and papaya trees too were always laden with fruit. We had quite a variety of fruit to choose from every day. The lime trees always bore a profusion of juicy limes on them and there was no dearth of lime juice or lime pickle in our home as mummy always made use of our own homegrown limes. I still remember the sweet smell of the lime blossoms from our lime trees when they were in season.
We also had a few Curry leaf Trees and Drumstick trees in the back garden The curry leaves were used for seasoning the curries and Pepper Water. The Drumstick tree bore long and tender drumsticks. Mummy would cook the Drumsticks along with meat or in a Dhal Curry and the drumstick leaves were turned into a delicious ‘Foogath’ which is a vegetarian side dish. Our gardener also grew green chillies, Coriander greens, Fenugreek greens, Mint and Coriander in a small kitchen garden on the left side of the garden.
With so many trees in our garden we were quite adept at climbing the guava and mango trees when we were children. These trees also made excellent hiding places for us during our games of Hide and Seek and Police and Robbers. The mango tree in front had a broad branch from which my dad hung a swing with a wooden seat for us. We spent many happy hours swinging from this mango tree shaded by its copious branches.

The memories keep rushing back and a smile lights up my face remembering those happy days in Kolar Gold Fields.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Farewell Address to Mr J K Walker Superindent, Champion Reef Mine


2. Address presented to Mr J K Walker on the Occasion of School day 26th January 1953 by the President, Madurai Numperumal Middle School, Andersonpet, KGF

Address presented to Mr J K Walker on the Occasion of School day 26th January 1953 by the President, Madurai Numperumal Middle School, Andersonpet, KGF

Friday, April 4, 2014


St Sebastian’s Church in Coromandel Kolar Gold Fields  was established in the year 1899. It is one of the oldest Churches in KGF. This Parish of St Sebastian catered to the Catholics living in the mining areas of Coromandel, Balaghat, Gold Field Hill and the whole of Nandydroog Mine.
Inititally, Nandydroog Mine did not have its own Parish church and all the Catholics from Nandydroog were therefore Parishioners of St Sebastian’s Church in Coromandel.
Since the Church was almost 3 miles way, people  either had to walk or go by train or Jatka to the Parish Church. In view of the distance and the difficulties involved in reaching St. Sebastian’s Church, arrangements were made by the Parish Priest to conduct Mass for the parishioners in the KGF School Hall. All the Catholics from Nandydroog Mine would attend this Mass at 6 O’clock on Sunday mornings. Even though the Service would be conducted in Latin, everyone would take active part in the prayers and sing all the hymns. The Choir was conducted by Mrs. Monisse and Mr. Oliver. However for all important feasts and other occasions such as the Annual Mission, Funeral Masses, Christenings, First Communions etc, we went to our Parish Church. Later on, a new Shrine dedicated to Infant Jesus was established in the old swimming bath premises for the Catholics of Nandydroog mine.Since we belonged to St Sebastian’s Parish Church initially, all of us were  Baptized and also made our First Holy Communion in St Sebastian’s Church.

St Sebastian’s Feast in the month of January  was celebrated as the Parish Feast with great fervour and religious zeal by all the parishioners. Every year a novena of 9 days was held just before the feast.  On the Feast Day, Masses were held in English and Tamil followed by a grand Car Procession with the statues of St Sebastian, St Anthony and Our Blessed Mother decorated grandly and taken out on all the roads around the Church. While the procession was in progress, people would throw flowers and Gram or “Kudla” mixed with pepper and salt on the statue of St Sebastian as a token of their gratitude for favours received from him. Silver offerings of various figures were also offered either as a request for some favour or in thanksgiving for his blessings. A mini fair would come up around the Church for the whole nine days and stalls selling cheap toys, bangles, Food stuffs, Sweets, etc made roaring business. The giant Wheel, Merry-ground, slippery side etc were major attractions of the children.
A Shrine in honour of St Anthony was also built in the premises of St Sebastian’s Church. This Shrine and the Statue of St Anthony draws many devotees who throng the Shrine on Tuesdays and on other days to pray to him for help in their daily lives.                                                                      

There is a statue of St Roch in the Church which attracts many devotees who pray to St Roche to cure them of various illness most especially skin rashes. St. Roch is known as  the patron Saint against plague, cholera, and skin rashes. St Roch is also known as the patron of Dogs as he loved dogs and it is believed that he got cured of his skin rashes only because his dog would lick the wound .


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Old Photographs of KGF 2


Old Photographs of KGF

A collage of old photographs of KGF showing the Oorgaum Hall, St Michael and All Angels Church, the KGF Mining Company Hospital and the bungalow that was allotted to the Doctors of the Mining Hospital in at Champion Reef, KGF.

Collection of photographs of KGF School Oorgaum later renamed as Parkinson Memorial School

St Joseph's Convent Champion Reef KGF


Friday, January 17, 2014

The Telephone Exchange in Oorgaum



Just the Landscape of KGF, The Cycnaide Dumps, Mill Tailings, the Meter House in Chanpion Reefs, the 5 Lights Junction etc




Wednesday, November 13, 2013


When we were kids growing up in KGF, we didn't have fancy water filters or refrigerators to store bottles of water for Drinking Water in those days. Our drinking water was always stored in a Mud Pot which was placed on a special stand in a corner of the Dining Room. Here is a picture of one such mud drinking water pot.

The water stored in these earthen / mud pots was alsways cool and sweet and had a lovely earthy taste. This cool water was filled into glass jugs and placed on the side board, with a set of tumblers for us to use whenever we felt thirsty.
There was also another type of mud goglet that was also very handy and in much use in the old days. We also had these mud goglets at home, which were much smaller than the water pots and could be carried easily. In fact in those days, many people carried these goglets along with them on train journeys.
Here is a picture of this old earthen drinking water goglet below


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The KGF Mining Rescue Team was considered to be the best mining rescue team in the whole country in the olden days and the team won many awards and citations. This is the picture of the Rescue Team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955.

There were several instances of tragic and fatal accidents inside the mines that left many workers physically handicapped and incapacitated. Several times, there was loss of lives due to the Rock Bursts or Air Blasts. The Rock Bursts during the 1920s and 30s and the massive Rock Burst in 1952, claimed many lives as quite a few miners were buried alive.
When the Air Blasts occurred under ground, several miners would get trapped inside the tunnels and die due to suffocation and injuries. The passages and tunnels get blocked due to landslides.
The John Taylor and Sons Company formed a dedicated rescue team which would immediately get into action to rescue workers trapped underground due to mining accidents and disasters such as rock bursts, fires, explosions, cave-ins, flooding of the mines etc. The KGF Mining Rescue Team was thus established in 1923. The Rescue Station was housed in a building quite close to the Oorgaum Station Railway crossing a short distance away from the Nandydroog Mine Offices.
The Rescue Team was always on call 24 x 7, to attend to any emergencies both underground and on the surface. The team was well versed in all rescue procedures and specially trained to rescue miners trapped underground with minimum time loss. They were fully trained in rendering timely First Aid and in the use of the Proto Safety equipment, SABC Breathing sets etc, especially when the miners were suffocated due to lack of oxygen on account of landfalls, fire, smoke, toxic mine gases, etc.
The KGF Rescue Team was soon considered to be the best mining rescue team in the country and won many awards and citations. A picture of the team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955 is appended hereto.

Friday, September 27, 2013




For those Foot Ball Fans especially supporters of the Chelsea Football Club, here is some Trivia about Desmond Leonard Dolding (13 December 1922 – 23 November 1954) an English footballer and cricketer who was born in our very own Kolar Gold Fields.
The English Football Giant, Chelsea Football Club had the distinction of having four Indian born Football players including a player who was born in Kolar Gold Fields who have represented their club during the yesteryears. Len Dolding was born in Kolar Gold Fields and played 27 games For Chelsea Football Club in the three years after the Second World War.
Born on 13th December 1922 in Nandydroog Mine, KGF, South India, Len Dolding served as a
bomb-aimer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was a fine footballer playing as a winger for Chelsea Football Club (27 league appearances in 1946 - 1948) and Norwich City (12 appearances.
He was also a Cricketer and played for MCC for about seven years as a right-arm leg-break bowler. He was the 12th Man for the England Team in the Lord's Test of 1949. Sadly, he died at the age of 32 years  in a Car Accident on 23rd November 1954 in Wembley UK.  The Football and Cricket Scene lost one of their most talented Footballers and Cricketers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This article from the Deccan Herald on the 13th September is quite humourous. It also high lights how versatile and willy our KGF locals are when it comes to suiting their own convenience.
On the jouney back to Marikuppam, there are invariably 4 or 5 unscheduled stops  caused by pulling the alarm chain in the train when the train reaches a certain locality or area. These passengers get "dropped" right at their doorsteps. Once the train stops, these "train stoppers" or "alarm chain pullers" just jump off the train, then very kindly pull the string to reset the chain and let the train carry on to its destination Marikuppam. The "Fine" for unauthorised stoppage of trains by pulling the Alarm Chain is Rs.1000/- but since the Chain pullers escape under cover of darkness, the Railway Protection Force is deprived of a nice fat amount!
I'm sharing the article below


Thursday, September 12, 2013


The Anglo-Indian Community in KGF had quite an active social life in the early days of KGF. They loved having parties and get togethers. Card games, Bridge and Whist Sessions were a regular past time in their homes when 3 or 4 families got together. Card Sessions and Whist Drives were also regularly arranged in the Clubs and Associations. They were all passionately fond of music and dancing.
Almost every person was musically inclined, and they played a variety of instruments. The English Grand Piano was the prized possession in many homes besides a number of musical instruments such as guitars, banjos, drums etc. Many of them were proud owners of a 2 band Radio and a gramophone or Radiogram. Records of old favorites such as ‘O Sol Mio’, ‘Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’, etc, were very popular in those days.
They had a number of Rhymes and Ditties that they sang at parties and get-togethers. Any occasion warranted a party with much sing-song and dance. Parties at home were jolly, riotous affairs with everybody lustily singing old-time favorites such as ‘Roll Out the Barrel’, ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’, ‘She’ll be coming down the Mountain’, ‘Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree’, ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’, etc, accompanied by someone on the piano or Guitar or banjo. There would be much clapping of hands, stamping of feet and beating of pots and pans to keep time. The singing got lustier as the party wore on with the amount of booze being consumed. Their spirits rose higher as ‘the spirits’ went in!!!
Country Music was also a hot Anglo-Indian favorite besides Rock and Roll and Jazz. Most Anglo-Indian children grew up listening to these country songs on the radio or the lucky few who owned records and LPs played them on their gramophones or Radiograms. Popular Country songs in those days were ‘You’re the reason our kids are so ugly’, ‘All my Exs’ live in Texas’, ‘Cotton fields’, ‘She got the ring and I got the finger’, ‘Who’s gonna take the garbage out when I’m gone’, ‘At the Gas station of love, I got the self-service pump’ etc, etc.
Some of the Anglo-Indian boys looked and dressed like the popular film stars of that time such as Clark Gable and later like Elvis and Cliff Richards, sporting the same hair styles and side locks, while the girls resembled the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and other Holly wood actresses with their distinctive features and fair skins. Jam Sessions, Pound parties, Go-Go Dances, Socials and Cultural Evenings were regularly organized, and there
was no dearth of entertainment for the Community in KGF in the 1940s to 60s. Sadly the KGF of today is very different to those wonderful times.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Jon Manley keeps in touch with me occasionally and shares a lot of interesting and amusing incidents that he remembers of his childhood in KGF during the 1950s. I’m sharing one such incident below. This will give the readers an insight into the life of the people in KGF in the days of the John Taylor and Sons Company.

Hi Bridget,
 I recalled the other day this story my mother told of a dinner party my parents gave, for around a dozen guests. It must have been around 1950, and thought you might find it amusing.
Dinner parties in those days were very 'swank' affairs. The men all wore tuxedos and black ties, and the women all gowns. Our butler Anthony would have been in his finest starched uniform, and would have worn a fine turban sporting some amazing decoration in the front, and a drinks waiter would have been hired from the club for the night, us children put to bed and told not to make a sound. I don't recall the menu but suspect it would have been something like iced cucumber soup, followed by roast beef and baked vegetables, and one of those delightful Indian sweets for dessert. Wine would have been on offer with coffee and liquors.
I don't recall names, but will put in a few of people around at the time who would have attended my parent’s dinner parties. During one of these Dinner Parties, a Mrs. Boadhurst said to my mother, "Molly those candlesticks you have as a table centerpiece look just like the ones my brother Albert gave Stan and me as a wedding present", Then Mrs. Connie Walker said, "Molly, those salt and pepper shakers are just like some we bought years ago in London", a Mrs. Stella Dunlop then said, "That carvery set reminds me of one we have which is just like it", and so the conversation went. My mother was most embarrassed, as she had never seen any of these items before herself.
The Butler Anthony was summoned into the room, and asked if he could throw any light on how these items had come to be on our table. He replied, "Yes Madam, I knew you wanted to impress, so I got Mrs. Broadhurst's and Mrs. Walker's and Mrs. Dunlop's butlers, to contribute towards the evening, with what fine pieces of table-ware they had. Don't worry they will all be returned first thing in the morning, and no one would normally have been any the wiser". My mother was shocked to hear this. Never the less, our butler Anthony was told that this practice had to stop forthwith, and in future any borrowing would be done only through her, direct to the lady of the other house. I dare say everyone had a good laugh, and a fine evening was had by all.
Nice to have heard from you Bridget,
Kind regards
Jon Manley

Monday, August 12, 2013


I have lots of fond memories of the Shandy Day in KGF. When we were young we would accompany my dad to the Market in Robertsonpet as a treat on Sundays. The Market was named as Mahatma Gandhi Market. Sunday was ‘Shandy Day’ and the market was always filled with people. Traders would come in from all the nearby villages to sell their produce. Everything was quite cheap in those days. My dad would buy fresh vegetables and fruit required for the week and we would help to carry the bags.

 The sights and smells and the hustle and bustle of the market as soon as one stepped in was so exciting. It was a joy to see the mounds of fresh vegetables, fruits, bags of pulses, grains, sugar sweets, fried savouries, etc besides shops selling Plastic toys and games for just a couple of Rupees. Choosing what toy to buy with our pocket money of Two Rupees was quite a decision and we had to weigh the merits of a plastic or paper windmill against a spinning top or plastic gun.
After the vegetable and grocery shopping was over, our next stop would be at Aleem Bakery or Omar Bakery for cool drinks and hot chicken or vegetable puffs. (I don’t think they made somasas as in those days) We’d then buy buns and coconut biscuits and muffins to take home. The coconut muffins in Omar’s Bakery were especially nice as the muffins were filled with sweet, juicy coconut shavings and the outer pastry would just melt in our mouths!! The sponge cakes and Fairy cakes too were light and delicious.
Jewel Coffee Powder Centre was just next to Aleem Bakery and my dad usually stopped there to buy the week’s requirement of coffee powder and tea leaves. The smell of fresh,  just roasted coffee beans was just heaven!! With our bags laden with all the stuff that we bought in town, we’d take a jatka ride back to our house in Nandydroog Mine. It was time to wait for another week before we went to the Market again.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I have some very vivid childhood  memories of the ‘Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai’ Festival  or the KAVADI Festival in KGF
The Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai Festival was celebrated very grandly by the Tamilian Population in KGF during Tamil Hindu month of ‘Aadi’.  Aadi Karthigai is celebrated on Kirthigai Nakshatra day of the Tamil Calendar which is mid July to mid August. This festival  honours Lord Murga who is also known as Lord Subramanya.The Community venerated Lord Murgan in a big temple in Thiruthini, which is a place in Tamil   Nadu. The beautiful temple of Lord Muruga at Tiruttani is around 84 kilometers from Chennai. Every year they would go on pilgrimage  to this temple in Thirutanni to fulfill their vows.
The devotees who made a vow to carry the ‘kavadi’ were dressed in yellow or ochre clothes and  had to carry a heavy York balanced on their shoulders filled with flowers and other items required for performing the Puja. Sometimes they pierced their cheeks and bodies with long metal skewers and smeared their bodies with Turmeric, Vermilion and Ash. The kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore Lord Murga for help and to grant their intentions. The kavadi consists of two semicircular pieces of wood or steel which are bent and attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of the devotee, decorated with flowers, peacock feathers, etc. The Kavadis are quite heavy and some can weigh up to 30 kg. The preparations for this ritual start before the festival. The devotees purge themselves of all mental and physical impurities. They have to follow a strict vegetarian diet and fast on the day they offer the puja. Many of them bathe in cold water during this period and shave their heads on the Aadi Kirithigai Day


In my childhood days, I remember that special trains were arranged by the Railways besides a fleet of Government and private buses to enable the devotees from KGF who were performing the ‘KAVADI’ to travel from KGF to Thiruthini. The same trains and buses would also bring them back to KGF.

The streets of KGF especially around the Workers Colonies would be vibrant and colourful during this period with special prayers being offered to the diety in the Pandals erected at every corner. Loud speakers blaring devotional songs to the Lord and mass feeding were common. Just before it was time to board the special trains or buses to take them to Thiruthini, huge processions of devotees carrying the kavadis preceded by a group of persons beating drums and followed by throngs of people would wend their way to the 4 Railway stations of KGF and the bus stops. The sight of the devotees carrying the heavy kavadis and the followers in the procession uttering the sacred words "Haro Hara!" as they marched and danced in time to the drum beats was a sight to behold. One had to see it to believe it.