Temple Architecture has been an area of fascination for me. I am historically challenged, amongst others. Thanks to reading and learning about the World History of Art, the need to want to understand and appreciate our temple architecture increased. When I moved back to Chennai, I was looking for some content to be able to understand but failed – Maybe I did not look for it in the right places!
A business trip took me to Madurai and I had less than 45 mins in the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple and I decided to quickly capture the marvel of the Ayiram Kaal Mandapam (1000 Pillar Mandapam). I walked in and I was awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the place…..
Sure, the atrocious choice of the newly laid polished granite flooring ruined it for me, the lighting (again badly executed with wires hanging everywhere) seemed very harsh… but still…. these did not remove my enthusiasm to pick my cameras and shoot! I went in with 2 cameras mounting a fish eye and wide angle lens. I so wished I could capture the gorgeous details using a tripod, but hey, temples have these weird rules about using tripods inside, so it was completely hand held. I knew B&W versions of these images would do justice to what I saw and that’s what I finally did……
While shooting, I noticed that the noses of all the figurines were broken and when I asked a local person there, he said that during a Muslim invasion, they wanted to break the nose of the Amman and when they came into the temple to do so, they got confused. They did not know who the Amman was, so they went about breaking the nose of every figurine in the temple! Sad huh! However, they did not reach Amman at all….. This story rekindled that need for me to understand our temple architecture, history and art better. Lucky for me, my images turned out better than I expected and the response to them were nothing short of brilliant :)
So, my quest for finding someone to guide me began…
Someone once told me, when the student is ready, a Guru finds them….and here’s what happened to me…. Poppy (Suresh Sir) mentioned that at Apparao Gallery, they were having a talk by Ms. Chitra Madhavan which he was attending and suggested I come for the talk, but because of professional commitments I couldn’t go! But hey!! Surprise Surprise ….. he somehow invited Dr.Chitra Madhavan, an authority on the subject to visit Edge…. I was pleasantly surprised and stunned by her simplicity. We got chatting and we bonded and when I told her about my quest, she was happy to be a part of it.
We started Art@Edge with her talk….. While Madurai Temple was not the subject… I learnt so much more in just one talk by her…. Look forward to more! Within a few days, another speaker on the subject, Pradeep Chakravarthy got in touch with me! It almost felt like, it was a message being sent from above… let’s see what happens….
I am looking forward to share Dr.Chitra’s first talk and share Pradeep’s presentation too…. God’s been kind :) I will do my bit sharing :)