The Glorious West Mambalam

West MambalamWest Mambalam housed a number of journalists, junior artistes, and drama actors. Vikraman, editor of the fifty-year-old Tamil magazine Amudhasurabhi, belongs to West Mambalam. Other than him, playwright Komal Swaminathan, writer La. Sa. Ramamirutham, vocalists Radha and Jayalakshmi, actor Nagesh were all initially residents of West Mambalam. As soon as the name Nagesh is mentioned, we are reminded of cinema. Till date the only cinema theatre in West Mambalam is the National theatre. Right from the time the theatre was functioning and till now, you can find no major difference there. While approaching that place the cows used to lift their tails. The place in front of the National theatre must be the only place in Chennai where one can get natural manure in plenty. The entire place will be in such a mess.

Generally the prices of groceries will be much cheaper in West Mambalam. That too, certain shops will display on their boards, "Sudden fall in the prices of chillies! Tamarind prices decline! Toor dall costs fall!" and these slogans will kindle the enthusiasm of one and all. The vegetable market is also noteworthy. The enhancing desire for non-vegetarian food in Chennai has failed to make a significant mark in West Mambalam. There are two ancient and beautiful temples. One is the Kothandaramaswami temple and the other one is the Kasi Viswanathar temple. Adjacent to the Kothandaramaswami temple is the renowned higher secondary school run by the Ahobila Mutt. Students belonging to backward classes and even Muslim children study and learn Sanskrit here and they even win prizes. In those days a speech or a religious discourse was conducted daily in Kothandaramaswami temple. Today those who have a flair for such religious discourses watch B.R.Chopra's "Mahabharatham" television serial.

People getting together and maintaining the environment is the extra-ordinary feature of West Mambalam. The area, which was slushy and dirty with drainage water and synonymous with stench and elephantiasis, has turned out into a cleaner place. Elephantiasis has been thoroughly eradicated. The streets of West Mambalam are tidier than those of New Mambalam, Thiagaraya Nagar. All the streets have proper name-boards, that too free from posters being stuck on them. Old Mambalam, known as West Mambalam now, is one of the oldest residential areas of Chennai. Even though it has not transformed itself into a dazzling, wealthy area, it is an area where you can find people with greater discipline and self-control, in everyday life. It stands out as a model in the entire Chennai City.

Ashoka Mithran

Retro Chennai from Asoka Mithran looks back at Chennai, in fact the Madras as it was known and existed. The column traces the city's lifescape at various points of time.

More Articles March 07th, 2009


I grew up in TN -the whole place stank so much that i ran away as soon as I could manage to. Still, under and over all the poverty, culture still rules, in pockets. I keep in touch from afar by listening to Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam. I hope the Mambalam sisters still live in Velu St. How very sweet of Sundar to shout out for girls! Thank you, Ashoka Mithran, for all your writings and bringing back memories of Madras city. Shruti, i am a not a brahmin but i do not eat meat. Is W Mambalam a brahmin locality? If so, can anyone tell me why so much of crime and filth exists in that area? I would love to live there some day just because of its historicity.
Posted by Sumi on 10 Mar 2013 09:23 AM
the origin of mambalam is - in ancient times it is known as mylai mel ambalam(city located west side of the mylai) then it is known as mel-ambalam then mel(top) change into west and ambalam change into mambalam therefore it is known now as west mambalam. our property's parent document had this information.
Posted by G.Kumaravelu on 07 Aug 2012 10:31 AM
Let us not forget the great mosquitoes of west mambalam...ha..ha..ha..
Posted by Palani Muthu on 19 Nov 2011 07:32 PM
West Mambalam is also famous for mosquitoes....
Posted by Veera Raghavan on 19 Nov 2011 07:25 PM
oly theatre is national'? Then wat abt srinivasa thetre. ? Amarkalam ajith whol movie was taken thr oly
Posted by jan on 19 Nov 2011 01:32 AM
west mambalam is my birth place dats y the area is looking gud
Posted by r.narasimhan on 29 Nov 2010 05:13 PM
CHENNAI IS LIKE MY ANNAI [MOTHER].Makes us to bring the peaceful life. Memorable moments and thoughts. It gives you the full reasons for why we want to live in the earth again and again.
Posted by RAVISHANKAR on 23 Aug 2010 11:26 PM
WestMambalam = Chennai.
Posted by Sri on 25 Jul 2010 09:40 PM
excellent place in chennai icame as one and half year baby to chennai from cbe.eventhough i live ina very posh locality of blore i love my pazhiah mambalam , iwant to live again there.
Posted by akhila.n on 05 May 2010 03:15 PM
extraordinary palce in chennai westmambalam
Posted by dinesh on 22 Apr 2010 06:06 PM
Basically i am from Madurai. I wanted to settle in Chennai and i have booked a old flat in the Arya Gowda road right on the postal colony bus stop. Still not started living there. Hope it will be good
Posted by SLN on 15 Apr 2010 08:36 PM
you can go temple whenever you want,people are successful as the HANUMAN is very tall and once you go around you keep goind round and round..RAMA BHAKTHAS prosper near the temple... You have tasty hotels like bakya,Andra mess,and education is very effective... MAY IT BE CBSE or STATE BOARD... JAi shree RAm Ayodhya mandapam valarga.. Kudos to my sweetest MAMBALAM... I wish I die on the sands of Ayodhya mandapam where I do avani avittam regularly...along with big crowd of mamaas..
Posted by Arun Ananthanarayanan on 01 Apr 2010 11:22 PM
hiiiiiiiiiii mambalam is an xcellent area wer u cud find a number of disciplined guys nad gals as they r brahmins..... no place fr nv items... k.. lake view rd is rocking. lakshmi flats is also very gud. velu st is very calm rd with terrific guyss like ashwin... naickamar st with ashwin
Posted by shruthi on 01 Dec 2009 04:59 PM
Posted by SUNDAR on 14 Nov 2009 05:51 PM
Nuisance of Street Dogs is aggravating day by day. Will U take the necessary steps to curb this?
Posted by Seshadri on 28 Mar 2009 08:24 PM
"The streets of West Mambalam are tidier than those of New Mambalam, Thiagaraya Nagar." - I guess you could not resist taking that swipe at good ol' T.Nagar :). Despite your claim, I cannot imagine myself living in Pazhaya Mambalam. To me, T.Nagar defines Madras.
Posted by Kalki on 10 Mar 2009 11:50 AM

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