This December, our trip took us to a lot of wonderful sites and was an eye opener in many ways - we learnt lot of things and more importantly realised how little we know!!. There are a lot of positive things to write about, but there was one instance which was an eye sore. Hence, thought will write about it first.
It is just a mistake but a mistake which finds in place in a site which is meters away from the greatest edifice to the regions art, literature and culture - Madurai. As one of the oldest sites and a seat of learning, Madurai is synonymous with Sangams and the lore of Shiva’s work itself being evaluated in its famed assembly. Thus this error, which is being witnessed by so many visitors is bound to be looked at as an himalayan blunder.
To set things in perspective, its was a long day for us, when we landed in Madurai ( me ,Arvind, my wife Priya and son Prithvi ) - we left early noon to be in time for the temple opening post lunch break and clicked away at the magnificent gopurams of Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Then we ventured inside, thanks to a helpful local guide and 4 hours flew inbetween. With our backs and arms aching, sore from trying to jostle with the hundreds of enthusiasts to capture the right view in the fading light ( somehow, people do know how to jump into frame just as you waited for 5 min for the crowd to move on …and just as you press the button, someone jumps into frame and you get their bald frame !!)
It was close to 7 pm, and we had almost packed up our bags, promising to return the next day morning for another encounter with the gopurams ( east side….for better sunlight) - when i remembered that we had not got the pillar sculptures from the mandabam. The guide brushed us off saying there are only 4 or 5 there and can be skipped. But the presence of the ticket counter and a cop at the gate, got our curiosity growing and we went in. The pillars were ok, not great, but my gaze fell on a dimly or rather unlit dusty area of the hall. There were curious pedestals with smoky glass boxes. Was in for a shock when i went to investigate. Amazing bronzes, lined on both sides - over 50 of them. We were just then warned that we had less than 20 min before they shut down the place ( by 8 pm)….What a pity. The lighting was so poor and the glass was dusty - no way to get even decent quality snaps. Yet, the very first row of exhibits was disappointing.
Take a look yourself.
The first image ( identified as # 70 - Nirthana Sambandan)
I hope you have read the post on identification of Sambandar bronze.
Lets zoom in to see the clear mark
Such a clear mark, left behind by the sculptor - the Srivatsam, to show its Narthana Krishna - yet the bronze has been identified as Sambandar and that too in a museum housed inside the Meenakshi Temple !! What a pity.
Even trained guides arent aware of such a treasure inside this beautiful temple. Hopefully, someone can help reach this to authorities and correct this mistake.
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