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Showing posts from May, 2009

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Tanjore and Mysore Paintings at the CSMVS Mumbai

A chubby, naked, fair Krishna , holding a butter ball, covered in golden ornaments, Yashoda by his side, an indulgent smile on her face, even as her finger is raised in admonition. Rama and Sita seated on the throne, Lakshmana on one side, Bharata and Shatrughna on the other, surrounded by sages and kings; Rama a distinctive green in colour. These are both popular themes in Tanjore Art. I first saw both these in temples, the Navaneetha Krishna in many homes as well, if not original, at least a recent replica or just a copy. The Ramar Pattabhishekam I have better memories of, having seen it often at the Matunga Bhajan Samaj in Mumbai, as well as at my mother-in-law’s ancestral house in Thanjavur. The latter especially is close to our family’s heart, and it’s an exquisite piece of work, the expressions on Rama and Sita’s faces as intricately done as the gold work that surrounds them. Navaneetha Krishna Beautiful as they are , to me, they are associated with divinity more than just wor

Kalady - Adi Shankara Janmabhoomi Kshetram

5 Kms from the bustling Cochin International Airport is the picturesque town of Kalady, situated on the banks of the Periyar River, here known as the Poorna. In this small village lived a pious Namboothiri couple, who prayed to Lord Shiva for a child. Pleased with their devotion, the lord gave them a choice – they could either have a long lived, but stupid son, or choose an intelligent one, who would walk on this earth for a scant 16 years. The couple unanimously and unwaveringly chose the latter – the son whom they named after the lord as ‘Shankara’, who would make his parents proud, and grow to be the teacher of all teachers – the Adi Shankaracharya .       When Shankara was a child , his old mother found it difficult to walk to the river for her daily ablutions. Shankara prayed to Krishna, his family deity to help his mother, who blessed him and decreed that the river would follow on the footsteps of Shankara. This not only changed the course of the river here, but also gave a

Thekkady - Periyar Tiger Reserve

The Periyar is the longest river in Kerala, and is thus the lifeline of the state. The Periyar Lake is an artificial one created by the building of the MullaPeriyar Dam in 1895. What was started as a game reserve by the British, after independence became a wildlife sanctuary, and later, the Periyar Tiger Reserve. While the area where the reserve is located is well known as Thekkady, the town is named Kumily, and is located on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Kumily is about 250 Kms from Trivandrum and 110 Kms from Kottayam. On the Tamilnadu side, it is easily approachable from Madurai, which is also 110Kms away. There are lots of regular KSRTC (Kerala State transport Corporation) buses available to Kumily from Kottayam, and the 3 ½ hour journey takes us through picturesque mountains covered with rubber and tea/coffee and spice plantations. Though it was the month of May, and the period of the Agni Nakshatram (the hottest period of the season), as we approached Thekkady, there wa