Inlays, when used creatively, can distinguish between the various spaces in a house.

For a magical effect for homes

How about using natural and semi-precious stones and inlays to create a stunning effect in living spaces?

Exotica in interiors is oft sought after while decorating a residence. This exotica manifests as furnishings, wall paintings, art and sculptures, bringing in differential elements such as inner courtyards, water bodies, and opening up the interiors to enchanting landscaped gardens. But how about using natural and semi-precious stones and inlays to bring splendour into the spaces?

Inlays in the form of semi-precious stones, natural stones, metal and even wood on walls, floors, ceilings, on doors, cabinets, even door knobs, can prove to be arresting in an interior, lending a high level of opulence to the spaces. Inlays of various materials bring in an aesthetic demarcation of spaces by lending a specific character or functionality through their individual portrayal.

Aesthetic demarcation

For instance, in a large free flowing living area, opting for a floor inlay of semi-precious stone or even granite and marble in the form a carpet in the seating area would effectively demarcate the functionality of this space as a formal entertainment zone. Likewise, the entrance to the pooja area featuring a rangoli made of semi-precious stone inlays on the floor would again indicate the specific functionality of the area.

While marble and granite are common choices for such floor inlays, semi-precious stones such as mother of pearl, agate, jade, malachite, amethyst, red jasper, tiger eye, mother of pearl, and red onyx add richness to the décor besides their aesthetic appeal. These inlays, be it a rangoli or fashioned as a charming carpet, also offer easy maintenance by dispensing with woollen and silk carpets.

Material has a say

Says Architect Leena Kumar of Kumar Consultants, “Depending on the materials used for inlays and intricacy of the patterns, these induce feelings of opulence, grandeur, delicacy, warmth or pure artistic delight.”

She further adds, “These inlays, when used creatively, can distinguish between living spaces, sleeping spaces, area of worship and such. A living space calls for brighter colours and greater detail while a sleeping area would be more toned down in both colour and pattern.”

Walls, especially in the pooja area, could feature exquisite inlay work and intricate patterns in metal such as brass, copper, and silver foils and also in natural stone like marble and in wood, the designs even depicting a story.

Similarly, doors, be it the entrance or pooja area, also serve as excellent places to incorporate inlays. These can be again in metals such as brass, copper, silver or gold foils or in natural stone, or semi-precious stones like mother of pearl teamed superbly with intricate carving in wood.

These stone inlays stand out as a strong contrast against the wood base, enhancing the beauty of the wood carvings, accentuating the richness of the décor. Similar inlay work can be extended to wardrobes, mirrors in bedrooms and cabinets, door knobs, table tops in dining and living spaces and even in railings of staircases.

Says Leena Kumar, “These inlays need not be confined to artistic layers on stone and wood but can be fused into tea tables as back-lit surfaces. Semi-precious stones such as onyx are excellent for a back-lit table top which appears spectacular at night when placed in the patio.”

Onyx is also an excellent surface to be used as back-lighting features in spaces where they can serve as demarcating elements or in open spaces incorporating greenery like a large patio overlooking a pool or terrace garden. Here, the light filtering through the stone inlays in the wood would throw arresting patterns on the floor or ceiling to create drama in the space.

Similar backlighting can be opted in bedrooms too where the light filtering through the patterns of the inlays creates a magical aura. Semi-precious stone inlays can be used in bathrooms too, on the tiles.

Courtesy: The Hindu

How to repatriate sale proceeds of Indian property

How to repatriate sale proceeds of Indian property

The recent times have seen an interesting new trend in the whole NRI property debacle — NRIs from North America and Europe are coming to India to sell their purchased or inherited real estate after they obtain citizenship in these countries. This is not a trend that has been extensively examined, but it makes perfect sense. Holding on to real estate is not always feasible if one is unable to manage them.

This is especially true if the NRIs in question do not visit India frequently and are not open to renting out their properties. They prefer not to burden relatives and friends with the task of paying property tax, maintenance and society dues and see more sense in encashing the capital value of their inherited properties

Selling such real estate is usually not the biggest challenge. What can create confusion is the viability – and ways and means – of remitting the resulting funds back into the country of residence. There is, in fact, a fairly straight-forward process.

The aspects that come into play are:

Taxation

As in the case of resident Indians, NRIs who sell purchased property after three years from the date of purchase will incur long term capital gains tax of 20%. The gains are calculated as the difference between sale value and indexed cost of purchase. Indexed cost of purchase is nothing but the cost of purchase adjusted to inflation. Calculation of indexed cost of purchase is easy – many websites provide a calculator; else a chartered accountant can assist.
In case of inherited property, the date and cost of purchase for purposes of computing the period of holding as well as cost of purchase is taken to be the date and cost to the original owner. To be more precise, the amount of long term capital gains together with the cost to the previous owner (i.e. the person from whom the property is inherited) would be considered as the cost of purchase. NRIs are subject to a Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) of 20% on the long term capital gains. But there are certain instances when NRI can get a waiver of TDS. One such case would be if the NRI is planning to re-invest the capital gains of the property in another property or in tax exempt bonds. In such cases, the NRI will be exempt from tax in India, and no TDS will be deducted either.

If the NRI sells the property before three years have elapsed since the date of purchase, short term capital gains tax at his or her tax slab is incurred. Short term capital gain is calculated as the difference between the sale value and the cost of purchase (without the indexation benefit). The NRI will be subject to a TDS of 30% irrespective of his or her tax slab.

NRI selling their properties can apply to the income tax authorities for a tax exemption certificate under section 195 of the Income Tax Act. They must make this application in the same jurisdiction that their PAN belongs to and will be required to show proof of reinvestment of capital gains. If the NRI is planning to buy another house, the allotment letter or payment receipt will need to be produced; if capital gains bonds are chosen instead, an affidavit to this effect will have to be prepared. Usually, buyers withhold the last installment of payment until the NRI produces a certificate of exemption. A NRI has up to two years from the date of sale to invest in another property, or up to six months to invest in bonds.

Tax Exemptions

Section 54 – This section stipulates that if NRI sells a residential property after three years from the date of purchase and reinvest the proceeds into another residential property within two years from the date of sale, the profit generated is exempt to the extent of the cost of new property. To illustrate – if the capital gains is Rs 10 lakh and the new property costs Rs 8 lakh, the remaining Rs 2 lakh are treated as long term capital gains. The sold residential property may be either have been self-occupied property or given on rent. The new property must be held for at least three years.

NRIs cannot invest the proceeds on the sale of a property in India in a foreign property and still avail the benefit of Section 54. However, some recent hearings with the appellate authorities have held that exemption can be claimed under Section 54 even if the new house is purchased outside India. However, this is not explicitly specified clearly under the law, and it is advisable for an NRI to consult a tax expert before making any investment decisions outside India to avail of tax benefits under Section 54.

Section 54EC – This section of the Income Tax Act states that if an NRI sells a long term asset (in this case, a residential property) after three years from the date of purchase and invests the amount of capital gains in bonds of NHAI and REC within six months of the date of sale, he or she will be exempt from capital gains tax. The bonds will remain locked in for a period of three years.

Repatriation

General permission is available to NRIs and PIOs to repatriate the sale proceeds of property inherited from an Indian resident, subject to certain conditions. If those conditions are fulfilled, the NRI need not seek the RBI’s permission. However, if the NRI has inherited the property from a person residing outside India, he or she must seek specific permission from the RBI.

The conditions for repatriation of such funds are not really complicated – the amount per financial year (April-March) should not exceed USD 1 million, and should be done through authorized dealers. NRIs must provide documentary evidence with regard to their inheritance of the property, and a certificate from a chartered accountant in the specified format.

What NRIs must pay attention to is the income tax implications in their country of residence. Many countries tax their residents on their income regardless of where it originates from, while others provide partial or total exemption on capital gains arising on sale of a residential house if certain conditions are met. The most important point to ponder is the income tax liability in the country of residence on the amount of gain, and whether claiming exemption under Sections 54/54F/54EC is really worth it. The NRI may, in fact, be better off claiming only partial or no tax exemption on the capital gains in India.

Courtesy: First Post

 

குறைந்த விலை
 வீடுகள் தேவை
 அதிகரிப்பு

ஆடம்பர வீடுகள், சொகுசு வீடுகள் கட்டுவதற்கு முன்பு ஆர்வம் காட்டிவந்த பல கட்டுமான நிறுவனங்கள், இன்று குறைந்த சதுர அடியில், குறைந்த விலையில் வீடுகள் கட்ட ஆர்வம் காட்டுகின்றன. இதற்கு என்ன காரணம்?
கடந்த சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னர், சென்னை நகரின் மையப் பகுதிகளில் சொகுசு வீடுகள் வாங்கப் பலரும் ஆர்வம் காட்டி வந்தனர்.

ஆனால், 2009ஆம் ஆண்டு ஏற்பட்ட பொருளாதார மந்த நிலை, கட்டுமானத் துறையிலும் எதிரொலித்தது. இதன் காரணமாக 2012ஆம் ஆண்டு இறுதி வரை கட்டப்பட்ட சொகுசு வீடுகள் பலவற்றை விற்க முடியாமல் கட்டுமான நிறுவனங்கள் திணற ஆரம்பித்தன. இதன் பின்னர் அதிக விலையில் சொகுசு வீடுகள் அல்லது வில்லாக்கள் எனப்படும் தனி வீடுகளைக் கட்டப் பல கட்டுமான நிறுவனங்கள் தயங்கின என இத்துறையில் உள்ளவர்களே வெளிப்படையாகக் கூறுவதைக் கேட்க முடிந்தது.
 Read more

Hand made Homes

Hand-made homes

A visionary in the field of traditional building methods, the late R.L. Kumar was working on housing for the poor in slums when he met Laurie Baker. Inspired by Baker’s contribution towards local architecture, Kumar, not a trained architect himself, set up the Centre for Vernacular Architecture (CVA) in Bangalore, “a co-operative of building craft persons” with architectural practices that promote “the use of locally available material, traditional building techniques, culturally and climatically relevant building design”.

“He didn’t study architecture formally, and I think that’s why he was able to approach it very differently,” says Chennai-based Goutam Seetharaman, who is both a trustee as well as a principal architect of the Centre. “When we study architecture we look at a lot of Western building technologies. And in India, our focus is limited to temples and large heritage structures. We do not study how our people have been building homes; using local material like mud, stones and thatch.” Read more

Tips to increase the value of your home

Photo: Tips to increase the value of your homeFrom renovating the kitchen to adding the right kind of lights, there’s a lot you can do to increase your apartment's appeal, says Lakshmi KrupaWhether you are looking to sell an apartment or just living in one, it always helps to have add-ons that will not only enhance your lifestyle but also add to its market value. So plan ahead and make wise moves. Experts opine that it is better to spend a little extra right at the beginning to reap rich benefits later on.Check for seepage"Address seepage issues," says Sumitra Vasudevan, associate, Aprobuild architects. This is among the biggest concerns of potential buyers. "Whether it's because of rains or water from the bathroom or balcony of those living above your home, seepage issues need to taken care of ," she says. This is of more importance because you need to persuade your neighbours to make changes to their home. "If it goes uncheked, water leakage can cause damage to the building's structure too," she says.Let there be lightKeep your apartment well ventilated. Homes that let in a lot of light and air are undoubtedly more appealing than ones that are closed up and seem claustrophobic. “A lot of old apartments have closed kitchens. These days people prefer open kitchens,” says architect Anupama Monhanram of Green Evolution. It would be a good idea to open up your kitchen and maybe even add a few bar stools across a counter, giving it a contemporary look. “You can also add mesh doors above your bedroom doors. It will bring in a lot of light and aid cross ventilation,” Mohanram adds. Add mesh doors to your wardrobe too and let your clothes breathe.Renovate a little“Renovating the house to add better tiles (vitrified tiles are in now ) and the toilets in particular will also go a long way,” Mohanram says. Adding water-saving flush systems in the toilet, creating wet and dry areas and even adding a glass enclosure to the shower can help. But most importantly, make the living space appealing. “Don’t paint the house in any off-beat colours if you are looking to show your apartment to potential buyers,” warns Mohanram. Lakshmi adds, “It’s best to go with off-white or beige for wall colours as these are neutral.”Wire it rightWiring is another important area when it comes to home improvement. “Upgrading all the electrical wiring in your home will certainly add to its value,” says Lakshmi. Adding appliances that save electricity such as star-rated air-conditioners and geysers may also help. “Be sensible about lighting,” Mohanram says, “Most often, if you keep your home ready-to-move-in, its appeal increases.”Consider replacing large tubelights with LEDs or CFLs. "These days even CFLs come in yellow colour. These enhance a room's look while offering long-term savings."Focus on façadeDon’t leave the exteriors of your home out of the equation. A coat of paint on the exterior walls, a little bit of work on the main door and floors, and even some bright lights on the corridor can go a long way in enhancing its image.Furnish thoughtfullyIf you are thinking of leaving behind furniture for your buyer ensure that the house is thoughtfully furnished. “Don’t overcrowd the space and add furniture that is both functional as well aesthetic,” Mohanram says.Buy furniture which will also increase in value over time, such as rosewood and teak cupboards or tables. You can even invest in a good carpet such as hand-made Kashmiris that will gain value over the years.It’s in the woodsAdding woodwork to your apartment will reduce the burden on the next buyer and in turn, increase its appeal. Says Lakshmi, “Since this a one-time investment, those buying the home from you will appreciate not having to spend on woodwork.” Decide on the wood, laminate, etc, based on your budget but choose something that will require low maintenance. Add wardrobes and close all lofts in your bedrooms as well as the kitchen.But spend wisely. While these additions can increase the appeal of your home it may not always be possible to recover all your costs.Source: The Hindu Chennai

                                                                                             Tips to increase the value of your home

From renovating the kitchen to adding the right kind of lights, there’s a lot you can do to increase your apartment’s appeal, says Lakshmi Krupa

Whether you are looking to sell an apartment or just living in one, it always helps to have add-ons that will not only enhance your lifestyle but also add to its market value. So plan ahead and make wise moves. Experts opine that it is better to spend a little extra right at the beginning to reap rich benefits later on.

Check for seepage

“Address seepage issues,” says Sumitra Vasudevan, associate, Aprobuild architects. This is among the biggest concerns of potential buyers. “Whether it’s because of rains or water from the bathroom or balcony of those living above your home, seepage issues need to taken care of ,” she says. This is of more importance because you need to persuade your neighbours to make changes to their home. “If it goes uncheked, water leakage can cause damage to the building’s structure too,” she says.

Let there be light

Keep your apartment well ventilated. Homes that let in a lot of light and air are undoubtedly more appealing than ones that are closed up and seem claustrophobic. “A lot of old apartments have closed kitchens. These days people prefer open kitchens,” says architect Anupama Monhanram of Green Evolution. It would be a good idea to open up your kitchen and maybe even add a few bar stools across a counter, giving it a contemporary look. “You can also add mesh doors above your bedroom doors. It will bring in a lot of light and aid cross ventilation,” Mohanram adds. Add mesh doors to your wardrobe too and let your clothes breathe.

Renovate a little

“Renovating the house to add better tiles (vitrified tiles are in now ) and the toilets in particular will also go a long way,” Mohanram says. Adding water-saving flush systems in the toilet, creating wet and dry areas and even adding a glass enclosure to the shower can help. But most importantly, make the living space appealing. “Don’t paint the house in any off-beat colours if you are looking to show your apartment to potential buyers,” warns Mohanram. Lakshmi adds, “It’s best to go with off-white or beige for wall colours as these are neutral.”

Wire it right

Wiring is another important area when it comes to home improvement. “Upgrading all the electrical wiring in your home will certainly add to its value,” says Lakshmi. Adding appliances that save electricity such as star-rated air-conditioners and geysers may also help. “Be sensible about lighting,” Mohanram says, “Most often, if you keep your home ready-to-move-in, its appeal increases.”

Consider replacing large tubelights with LEDs or CFLs. “These days even CFLs come in yellow colour. These enhance a room’s look while offering long-term savings.”

Focus on façade

Don’t leave the exteriors of your home out of the equation. A coat of paint on the exterior walls, a little bit of work on the main door and floors, and even some bright lights on the corridor can go a long way in enhancing its image.

Furnish thoughtfully

If you are thinking of leaving behind furniture for your buyer ensure that the house is thoughtfully furnished. “Don’t overcrowd the space and add furniture that is both functional as well aesthetic,” Mohanram says.

Buy furniture which will also increase in value over time, such as rosewood and teak cupboards or tables. You can even invest in a good carpet such as hand-made Kashmiris that will gain value over the years.

It’s in the woods

Adding woodwork to your apartment will reduce the burden on the next buyer and in turn, increase its appeal. Says Lakshmi, “Since this a one-time investment, those buying the home from you will appreciate not having to spend on woodwork.” Decide on the wood, laminate, etc, based on your budget but choose something that will require low maintenance. Add wardrobes and close all lofts in your bedrooms as well as the kitchen.

But spend wisely. While these additions can increase the appeal of your home it may not always be possible to recover all your costs.

Source: The Hindu Chennai

testcase

Chennai Tenant Information Forms

There has been a trend among anti socials elements and criminals to gather information required by them and settle in Chennai by taking a rental accommodation and carry out their unlawful and criminal activities. People from the extremist’s organization also take rental accommodations to carry out their sinister activities. To avoid this happening in Chennai the Police department has proposed a plan that all the rental occupants should register themselves in the nearest police station. The system has been designed in such a way that is it very extremely simple. People need not fear about this. The house owners who are renting out their property should inform the nearest Police station within 15 days of renting out. As a step towards creating a database of tenants in Chennai, the city police issues tenant information forms to house owners. Completed forms with tenant details, including a passport-sized photograph, should be submitted by owners at police stations within 60 days.  This process has come into effect from December 1st 2013. Other details like rental particulars, duration are not required. All the details will be registered and will be available in the Assistant Commissioners offices. Read more

Egmore Station Chennai

Places to visit in Chennai

Our Chennai – Some of the places and experiences

 

1. Old Madras

Take in the musty smells and history as you walk down some of Chennai’s (earlier Madras) oldest streets. Walk around George Town to take in the beauty of the High Court’s Indo-Saracenic architecture or the bell tower at the Armenian Church. It is startlingly contemporary, and comfortably wears history on its sleeve.

2. Arubathimoovar Festival

The glorious procession of Lord Shiva’s 63 saints across the streets of Mylapore is a feast for the eyes. This festival takes place at the Kapaleeswarar Temple every March or April. Not only is this an opportunity to witness a festive procession of thousands of worshippers, but also a chance to look at the fine architecture of the temple itself, which dates back to the 8th Century.

3. Madras Week

For one week in August, the whole city celebrates India’s first modern city. Yup, we are all ardent lovers of our heritage and culture. It is a great time to visit the city because of the number of photo, heritage and food walks that take place. Apart from this, there are also lectures, presentations, quizzes, contests and activities everywhere. It’s a great way to find out exactly what Chennai is about.

4. Beaches

What is Chennai without its beaches? Whether it is the wide expanse of the Marina or the intrinsic link between a memorial and the waters beyond it at Elliot’s beach or even the quieter stretches that dot Thiruvanmiyur and ECR, this is an entertainment option for anyone. Watch the sun rise or the fishermen drag their boats into the sea at the Marina. If none of these interests you, sit by the waters with a packet of roasted groundnuts or fresh bajji from a mobile stall nearby.

5. Cholamandal Artists’ Village

The village was the culmination of the Madras Movement of Art and was established in 1966. This movement brought modernism to art in South India and is now the country’s largest artist commune. Walk past the banyan or take in the many sculptures and installations throughout the village. You could also bump into or meet the artists who live there.

6. Reptile Watch

For herpetology enthusiasts, Chennai is a great place to learn and watch reptiles. The Madras Snake Park was set up in 1972, and is the country’s first reptile park. Another place is the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, which promotes the conservation or reptiles and amphibians. This, too, is one of the oldest in the country.

7. Cafés

The café scene isn’t probably as happening as in the rest of the world, but it is definitely picking up. Whether it is dining al fresco at Amethyst or sipping coffee at Chamiers Eco Café, choosing from a list of teas at Lloyd’s Tea House or even basking in the quirkiness of The Madras Place, there are varied experiences thanks to the increasing number of places where people can go to for long conversations.

8. Guindy National Park

Chennai is one of the few places that has a National Park bang in the middle of the city. The park, covering a large area, is one of the last remnants of tropical dry evergreen forests along the Coromandel coast. It boasts a variety of flora and fauna (jackals, deer, butterflies, spiders, tortoises, snakes, geckos and more).

9. Vandalur Zoo

The first public zoo in India, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park was opened in 1855. Not only is it the biggest such park in the country, it also has over 1,500 species of animals. So take those picnic baskets and cameras and head out!

10. Malls

Malls existed in Chennai before they became a statement of style everywhere. Take Spencer Plaza, for instance, which has been around since the 1800s. It continues to offer something for every customer. Now, of course, we have Citi Centre, Express Avenue, Ampa Skywalk Mall, Forum Vijaya Mall and Phoenix Market City to this list.

11. Turtle Walk

Imagine walking across the wet sand late at night, watching little eggs hatch and guiding turtle hatchlings towards the sea. This is a yearly event that’s popular in the city. Olive Ridley turtles nest in the beaches between December and April and during this time, volunteers walk the beaches each night to collect eggs, relocate them to safer places and release the hatchlings into the ocean.

12. Legend of St. Thomas

The legend of St. Thomas is prevalent all over the city. The saint’s visit in the first Century, which begins at San Thome (the city of Saint Thomas) moves across to R.A. Puram (where there is a church erected on the place he rested), Chinnamalai (where he lived in a cave that still exists) and ends in St. Thomas Mount (where he was believed to be killed). One can spend a day tracing his life through the streets of the city.

13. Theosophical Society

Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott set up the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar to promote theosophy. The society is also one of the largest green pockets of the city and boasts great views of the Adyar River. It is also home to a variety of birds and trees. It’s a great place for an evening stroll or just a nice break from the noise.

14. December Music Season

Since it feels like summer for most part of the year, it is December we look forward to; there is a nip in the air and the city is alive with the sound of music. rRasikas from far and wide come to Chennai as much to soak up the Carnatic music on offer at sabhas as they do for the great food at the canteens that spring to life. Keera vadai after a good keeravani is a unique Chennai experience!

15. Fort St. George

The seat of power, even today, in the old part of the city, Fort St. George is important to Madras’ history. The complex has in its folds, the Secretariat, a museum (check out the stunning portraits of various men and women of power of yore), and St. Mary’s Church — the oldest Anglican church in India… If you are lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of high-profile politicians as they make their way to their majestic office here.

16. East Coast Road

A road trip is perhaps the best way to get to know a place. Conceived as a scenic highway, the East Coast Road connects Chennai to Puducherry and beyond. On your lovely drive, catch some photo-ops at the beautiful beaches — Kovalam, for instance, go for a boat ride in Muttukadu, stop for filter coffee along the Highway, watch the tropical sun work its magic on salt pans, drink sweet tender coconut under a canopy of trees overlooking lush green fields… All just an hour or two away from the metropolis.

17. Party on

The story of Chennai’s most happening nightlife reads like a Bollywood script. The underdog, labelled too conservative that many international artistes were happy to skip only a decade ago, it now has a party scene that betters even the likes of Mumbai. With pubs staying open till midnight and the many new ones in star hotels keeping their doors open for patrons well into the night, many DJs now have a new city to call their favourite. Go pub-hopping from The Hilton’s Q Bar to Park Hyatt’s Flying Elephant, stopping in between at Ten Downing Street, Illusions The Madras Pub and Sheraton Park’s Dublin before heading to Taj Mount Road’s Blend…

18. Filter coffee

Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just about any break, no day is complete without this perfect blend of pick-me-up goodness for most of us. Freshly ground coffee beans’ decoction, freshly boiled milk and just a bit of sugar on a davara-tumbler — and there you have it, chapter one of filter coffee for dummies. Stop at one of the many ‘Bhavans’ or ‘Pure Vegetarian Hotels’ for a hit of this potent concoction.

19. Tiffin

A British legacy, tiffing, has over time become tiffin. Watch out for boards that cheerfully scream out ‘Tiffin Ready’ on roadsides. Evening snacks, mainly crisp, perfectly golden vadas with chutneys are great indulgences.

20. Kalakshetra

A cradle of culture of sorts in Chennai, Kalakshetra plays an important role in preserving the traditional arts, and Bharatanatyam, in particular. Founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale and spread across lush green spaces, the idyllic school hosts several performances and lectures throughout the year.

21. DakshinaChitra

A museum of art, crafts and architecture, DakshinaChitra presents snapshots of South India to the world in a small scale. Heritage houses, streets, folk performances, a fair-like exhibition of local crafts and wares… it is indeed the next best thing we have to a time machine.

22. Sari shopping

Nine or six yards? Cotton or silk? Or are you one of those new-age jute-meets-tissue person? For lovers of weaves, Chennai is indeed ‘the’ place. Amble along T. Nagar’s Usman Road and visit Nalli, RMKV, Pothys or head to the newer niche showrooms such as Sundari Silks and Paduka and spare a thought for our handloom weavers who spin wonders that are comfortable, elegant and just perfect for all occasions.

23. Kollywood

From Superstar to Power star (and all the other stars in between), there’s space for every variety of performer in Kollywood. There is quite nothing like catching the first-day-first-show of a “mass entertainer” — be it a Rajinikant-starrer or a Vijay-starrer. While the art-deco-styled Casino theatre makes for a charming setting to travel back in time, Escape and Satyam Cinemas have redefined the movie-going experience for Chennaiites. All for Rs.120 only.

24. Mada streets

In the middle of all the metro rail construction work and swanky new pubs are spaces right in the heart of Chennai that continue to preserve the spirit of past ever so delicately. In Mylapore, West Mambalam and Triplicane’s Mada Streets that surround historic temples, hawkers selling wares and sweetmeats can transport you to a simpler time. Stroll along these gullies and discover the charm of a city that has a strong hold on its past, even as it makes its moolah from the IT revolution.

25. Bronze gallery

The bronze gallery at the Government Museum in Egmore, housing stunning works from the past, is a delightful example of the sort of cultural richness Chennai has in store. From Ayyanar to Nataraja and the four-headed Brahma, catch a glimpse of the workmanship of the past at this gallery.

26. Mamallapuram

A chance to visit historic monuments such as Arjuna’s Penance, shopping for colourful trinkets and clothes and catamaran rides at star-rated resorts, there is something for every kind of tourist at Mamallapuram, which is halfway between Chennai and Puducherry. Make a day trip to this town, watch the waves crash into the beautiful shore temple as the sun sets — even as you guzzle down beer at one of the many shacks and sample some fresh, local sea food.

Thanks – The Hindu

Why You Should Hire a Property Manager

Why You Should Hire a Property Manager

So you’ve invested in some property and are thinking of handling the property yourself. Are you sure you want to or are ready to do that? Before you shun the idea of hiring and investing in a property manager, here are some of the most valuable reasons for having a property manager take care of your real estate for you.

Current and Up-to-Date      

A real estate manager makes it his business to be up-to-date and current when it comes to landlord and tenant laws as well as state, municipal and federal laws. This way, you are ensured to avoid the hassle and worry of potential lawsuits or scams. Some of the federal laws cover areas such as lease termination, rent collection, lease addendums, inspection, evictions and so forth. Your real estate manager will be fully aware of all these and can discuss these with you, should the need arise.

Liaison Between Tenant and Owner

With much experience under his belt, a well seasoned property manager can easily weed out the problematic applicants from the viable ones. The screening process therefore is left in their hands and you are shielded from possible rental scams that are targeted towards owners. This is also one of the most tedious and time consuming part of handling a property as it involves a lot of interviews, background checks and follow ups. This time saving and headache shielding service is already a great reason for hiring a property manager.

In addition to the property manager handling the screening of potential clients, he will also act as a buffer should there be any tenant and landlord disputes in the future. These disputes may include timely payment of rent, eviction, and maintenance problems.

Keeping the Tenant Happy

If there are problems or concerns with the property, your property manager will be the one approached to handle the issues. He will, of course, bring them up to you for consideration and approval before carrying out any repairs or renovations, but at least you do not need to deal directly with the tenants or with the contractors and repairmen.  All of that is taken cared of for you. And if you keep your tenants happy, the likelihood of them renewing their lease will certainly increase, making you happy as well.

Preventive Maintenance

A good property manager will make sure repairs are done in a timely manner. A great property manager will be proactive and ensure a regular maintenance check is done on the property to address potential problems that could result in bigger and more costly repairs down the road. This ensures that the value of your company does not decrease due to deterioration or lack up upkeep. The way a property is maintained can determine how much you will be able to charge for rent as well as how much insurance you will have to shell out.

More Time for Yourself

As simple as it sounds, not having to deal with so many issues for one property, let alone several, is a strong reason to consider having a professional property manager handle your real estate investments. When you are not saddled with the hassles of listening to a disgruntled tenant or worrying about a trivial lawsuit, you will have less stress in your life. And doesn’t everyone want that?