Archive for September 23rd, 2008

My friend Lakshmi’s blog post on graffiti below reminded me of my earlier post in mintamil forum on such acts of vandalism.


April 1819, John smith, a Captain from the Madras regiment, with his mates was hunting tigers in the forests. He came across a horse shoe shaped canyon with many caves - yes, he is the one who is credited with rediscovering Ajanta ( how could such a marvel ever get to be forgotten !!)

Admiring the marvelous creations there, he went on to inscribe his signature along with the date on the fresco painting. you can still see it there.

johnsmith ajanta 2.jpg
johnsmith ajantha.jpg

Yes, this made him immortal along with the paintings.

Maybe, our friends ( tanjore mani ?) consider their exploits to be parallel to the great accomplishments of our kings who conquered far off lands, and etched their praise in stone, and hence scribble their names on this magnificent creations!

big temple mani.jpg
gkc vandalism.JPG

This amazing wall panel of Gangai konda cholapuram has not been spared from the wanton acts of these people, who have little respect for the cultural heritage of the land they hail from, the greatness of these works. Let us try and educate these people to learn to respect art.

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In an earlier post we saw how Hanuman came out alive from a Crocodile’s belly. Now, we are going to see another such feat.

Darasuram has some amazing miniature story board like freezes. One such depicts the Periapuranam legend of Saint Sundarar, by his infinite devotion to Lord Shiva, making a crocodile regurgitate a boy.

Darasuram sundarar croc panel.jpg

The story goes thus, in the town of Avinashi, two young boys, close friends just completing their 5th year, go for a swim in a nearby lake. Unfortunately a large crocodile swallows one of the boys, while the other manages to escape and return home. The loss of their dear son greatly grieved the parents and they never managed to get over the grief.

Couple of years pass and the other boy is old enough for his thread ceremony, so his family prepares for it in great fanfare, a festival atmosphere prevails with beating of the ceremonial drums etc. On seeing this the parents who had lost their young child, are reminded that if not for the unfortunate incident, their home would also be bedecked and resound with similar joy and celebrations. So great was their loss that years couldn’t lessen their lament.

To their good fortune. the great saint Sundarar had taken an invitation from his dear friend Cheraman Perumal to see him in tiruvelam. so as he was moving there from thiruvaroor, he passed through Avinashi. As he was passing the street, he heard laughter, rejoicing and all auspicious sounds from one house and from the other house he heard the heart wrenching lament. he inquired around and learnt the story of the two boys. Just then the weeping parents heard that the great saint was passing by, and they wiped their tears and being true devotees of shiva, offered their respects to him. Moved by their devotion and wanting to alleviate their suffering, the saint decided that he would resurrect their son and then only worship the god in the town’s temple. So he composed his divine verse right there, imploring the Lord - who loves his worshipers, he who dwells eternally in the minds of his followers,
he who is the start and end point of all, he who resides in this beautiful town of avinashi, please bring forth the boy on this tank bund.

Darasuram Sundarar Croc panel closeup.jpg
darsasuram sundarar croc.jpg

Lo and behold there came the crocodile and regurgitated the boy, much to the delight of his parents and all around. Thus is the grace of the lord and his benevolence to his followers.

Thanks to Mr. V. Subramanian, for his valuable guidance with regard to the verse references.

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