Saturday, January 25, 2014

Theosophy in Triplicane

The words "Theosophical Society" immediately call to mind that lovely 250-acre campus of Huddleston Gardens, on the southern bank of the Adyar river. That is quite fitting, since that campus is indeed the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society. However, there is at least one other place that carries the name, even though it is today a forgotten footnote in the history of the Theosophist movement itself.

This building on Raja Hanumantha Street in Triplicane, is named the "Mani Ayyar Hall", after (Sir - he relinquished the knighthood later) Subramania Iyer, who was one of the Vice Presidents of the Society in the early twentieth century. 'Mani Ayyar' died in 1924, by which time he had had a rift with the Theosophical Society. Therefore, this building was in all likelihood constructed by his followers, who may have styled themselves The Triplicane Theosophical Society, for that is what it says on the facade of this building. 

It is difficult to imagine now, but this building once hosted the annual conference of the Music Academy. The first conference of the Music Academy was in the Senate House, in 1929 and the next year, the conference moved a little further inland, to the Mani Ayyar hall!

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