I have been to many places and have even been through flights to India from USA. I went on two city walks and of all the super interesting things I learnt, I’m going to tell you three most fascinating stories. For the rest, you’ll have to go on the walks yourself.
Hidden between the markets of Georgetown in Chennai is a 300-year-old Armenian Church. Predictably, the lane itself is called Armenian Street! Do make sure to visit this place when you come here through flights from USA to India.
So when and why did the Armenians come and settle in Madras? Turns out Armenians have settled in several locations across the world for various reasons ranging from trade to escaping invasions and holocaust. But the Armenians settled in India seem to be traders who had come through the overland route over the Hindu Kush mountain range.
Since they were excellent traders, the society prospered wherever they settled. The British who were trading in cotton exports didn’t see the silk and gem trading Armenians as a competition and offered them patronage in Madras.
They thrived and built a church in 1712 within the Fort George premises that was destroyed during the French occupation in 1746. 3 years later British recaptured Madras. In 1772, the present church was constructed in the Armenian cemetery where the graves of 350 Armenians are laid to rest. Interesting right? May be you should start thinking about the flight deals to India.Consider jumping into USA to India flights.
One of the graves is of Reverend Haroutiun Shmavonian, who is considered to be the father of Armenian Journalism. Out of Madras, the first Armenian periodical in the world was printed. The Armenian community of Madras was responsible for the first draft of Constitution for an independent Armenia in 18th century. The community played an important part in upholding the Armenian culture and laid groundwork for an independent Armenia as early visionaries. However, Armenia was able to gain freedom only in 1991 after the dissolution of Soviet Union. All these facts related to this place made me want to book cheap tickets to India from USA. I guess I would not have minded even if it was business class flights. I was ready to take the risk and book the last minute flights. And that is how I ended up here with the help of cheap flight tickets to India from USA.
Starting 1600s the presence of Armenians in Madras was prominently recorded and felt. The noted merchant Shahamir Shahamirian financed the construction of this church. Another merchant Coja Petrus Uscan gave Madras its bridge over River Adyar and the 160 steps to reach Thomas Mount. The bridge has been rebuilt since but Uscan’s contribution is remembered in the form a plaque at the new bridge. Today there are no Armenians in this city but they left behind an Armenian Street and the church as stark reminders of a thriving community. A last group of Armenian community in Kolkata funds the church’s upkeep today. It’s a significant church in many ways. So go ahead and see that place also but do not forget to visit other places of Chennai which are to be seen. Adios!