Monday, June 11, 2012



Details !  Details !!
Temple on the approach road to Hampi.

As I wade through the postings in various Groups of FB dedicated to heritage  as well as those of my friends active in travel/photography of temple art & architecture, I note with excitement that  this is now a subject of growing  interest , discussions and also of mutual exchanges of notes. Digital photography and social internet sites have contributed largely to this expansion .Temple architecture is not my forte. I have often skipped chapters on the same when I read a travelogue. I have read hundreds of  pages on Iconography and currently am in a slightly bewildered stage.
Hindu Iconography is a heavy subject – with mythological stories , manifestations of Vishnu, Siva and Shakti , surrounded by Indra and other  eight 'Dikpals’, ‘Astabasu’, ‘Sapta Matrika’ plus Yogeswari, ’Vidhyadharas’ and ‘Gandharvas’, gods and goddesses  of various social and local statures with ‘Nagas’ and composites, divine and not-so-divine animals abound !

 Jaina Cave @ Badami, Karnataka

Jaina Iconography is no less heavy with 12 Thirthakaras, multiple interpretations of attributes by 2 sub-sects, numerous ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ -  and goddesses   according to relevant chapters one reference book I have.

 Bodhisattwa Maitreya. 2nd - 4th century AD.
Victoria & Albert Museum.

Boudha Iconography is more complicated . I have a slender volume by Dr Binaytosh Bhattacharya . This subject is more difficult than Fluid Mechanics ! I recall a Quiz show titled ‘MasterMind’ in BBC where a successful candidate had to choose a   special area of interest on which penetrating questions were asked. Facing a ‘Rapid fire’ on Bouddha Iconography will be toughest among the toughest. I was wondering if we should visit Arunachal Pradesh to visit Tawang’s very large & renowned monastery.  Now, I am baffled while making an effort to have a toe-hold in this subject.

Bhageerath,Siva on Nandi, Ithyphallic Ganesha, Vishnu et all.
Terra cotta panel at Ilambazar market place .
 A few requests to my friends : when you publish photos and travel account connected with heritage sites, specially of multiple locations and multiple temples, please  do the labeling as critically as possible. Also, please do present clear  - if required, PSed – front views so that viewer can  see what the photographer ‘viewed’ when s/he was moving around.

With advent of more and more  individuals and groups interested in our heritage, we shall have a very rich future for  niche tourism  in religious monuments.

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