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Couple of weeks back, my good friend Mrs. Lakshmi Sharath asked me to do a guest post on her site.
Travel blogs of a backpacker!

My thanks to Lakshmi for asking me write this blog in her site as a guest. After dabbling in many subjects, I finally found my hearts fill in sculpture. The call of this dying art is unique -these images are dormant yet speak volumes, and like learning a new language once your learn their tongue, its sheer poetry in stone.

Since her site was about backpacking and travel, thought I would mix a bit of both in this post - so I introduce you to a little known monument - Masroor.

Call it serendipity, but i was looking for a good picture of the Mahabalipuram test panel when i came across a familiar face - a real stud who turned out to be my buddy from preschool - Albert. We chatted up and promptly in a couple weeks he sent me some pictures of his visit to Himachal Pradesh, to a hither too unheard of place (at least to me) called Masroor.

masroor long shot.jpg
masroor.jpg

What I saw blew me away. The Masroor temple complex is in Himachal Pradesh ( near Kangra - 20kms and Dharamsala - 45 kms. At a distance the sandstone hill doesn’t quite give up it secrets - a late 8th Century rock cut Shiva temple. Hailing from Chennai Rock cut shrines and caves are my particular favorites, not just for their artistic skill but also for their complexity ( need to carved in situ on live rock - top down) - they are many superb examples of this in South India and western India but had not expected something of this scale,size and most importantly the style.

intricate carvings masroor.jpg
masroor charming.JPG
masroor intricately carved lintel.jpg
masroor maybe muruga.jpg

I am sure all of you have heardof Angkorwat - a 11th Century Cambodian temple complex. What interested me with Masroor is the uncanny resemblance /similarity between these two - complete with the tank in front - beautifully mirroring the structure on top.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/08/photogalleries/Angkor-pictures/

angko.jpg
masroor.jpg

The relief carvings are amazingly detailed but have borne the brunt of nature, yet my imagination runs wild when I think of how these beauties would have looked when they were sculpted or does the aging adding to their beauty. Angkor got its fame from the overgrowth of vegetation and Angelina Jolie/ Lara Croft, maybe Masroor needs
Priyanka Chopra to do a similar one to gain recognition.

Could this have been the inspiration behind Angkor ?

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Category: Sculpture

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2008 at 10:54 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments so far

Madan U S
  1  

Hi Vijay,

Mount meru was the inspiration for Angkor Wat… it could have been the same for Masroor too. I do not know of any contact between north-india and the combodians - did any link exist? If not it could be just coincidence that two different people undertook two efforts based on Mount mahameru.

Could you comment about the period of angkor wat and masroor please?

September 25th, 2008 at 12:43
  2  

Hi sir,

Angkor late 11th C CE, Masroor 8th C

I am yet to get more information on the Dynasty that is credited with masroor, but understand the similarities between Angkor and Masroor are currently being researched by a team from Univ of Pennsylvania. If i can get more information, i will share with you.

rgds
vj

September 25th, 2008 at 12:54

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