Goshalas in Nanganallur, Chennai, gear up for Maattu Pongal celebration

Nandhini with her calf.

Chennai: Although Nanganallur and Adambakkam are part of the metro city, the neighbourhood is old school during the times of festival. It is more so during Pongal, for we have several cattle herders along the streets. Although times have changed, they continue to keep up with their celebrations.

For Amudha and Nandhini, Maattu Pongal is a busy day. Being a family who have been raising cattle for over three decades, they stick to the roots when it comes to the Tamil festival.

“We bathe the cattle early in the morning and decorate with Kumkum, manjal, beads, anklet for legs and balloons,” tells Nandhini.

She further tells that the cows would be taken for the ancient practice of house visits in Triplicane. Asked about the trend in the neighbourhood, Nandhini adds, “People do not invite cows here. My father who goes for work in Triplicane gets a lot of requests from residents over there.”

On the other side, Maattu Pongal gets extremely busier for this techie couple – Manikandan Nagarajan and Preetha Rajalakshmi – in Surendra Nagar, Adambakkam.

The farm, Sri Venkatakrishna Goshala, was started in a small-scale level, only to fulfil the needs of the couple’s family and share with neighbours if the yield is more. Later it expanded.

“Just like any other dairy farmer, our day begins early in the morning with bathing the cows and clean the house and draw kolams,” Manikandan says.

The couple celebrated the festival for the non-milking cows at their Acharapakkam farm early this week and gifted new clothes to their workers.

The milking cows in Adambakkam on Maattu Pongal are the most demanded for Maattu Pongal this year.

Narrating about it, Manikandan adds, “I have been getting a lot of requests from the sides of residents and corporate

Cattle from neighbourhood resident Manikandan’s farm during a corporate Maattu Pongal celebration .

companies for hosting the traditional celebration this year.’

While in the first event, Go Pals (translated as friends of cows) is an initiative that has 400-500 membered team spread all across India. The Tamilnadu team will be visiting Manikandan’s goshala to celebrate with the native breed cows. Following which he has organised a brainstorming session to create awareness about the native breeds in India. “The chief guest is Niranjan Varma, who runs a deemed university exclusively for training doctors in panchagavya. He also runs a dairy farm near Wallajahbad. Many people have registered looking forward for his speech,” he adds.

Besides this, Manikandan’s cows are being invited by residents and corporate companies across Chennai. Recently, a playschool in the neighbourhood organized for a visit to his farm.

Before concluding, Manikandan chuckles and admits that the celebration was not as grand last year, and thanks News Today for writing about him in its issue in the past.

Bhavani Prabhakar