Tiruvalanchuli – In search of the missing sculptures – aided by a Mastero Silpi’s sketch

Certain things have a timeless allure to them. Line drawings done by experts are such. And when one such expert dedicates his life to sketch only temple sculpture, then we are in for a treat and if that expert is the one and only Silpi – then its a heavenly treat.

The master artist used to look for some very unusual and complicated angles, postures – which he could bring out. He was not someone who would even miss out the smallest detail. To illustrate this point, i am taking a very very important sketch of his, of a very very important but forgotten temple – Tiruvalanchuli. There is so much of mystery associated with this temple, that i am fortune to have the blessings of one of my mentors Sri Sundar Bharadwaj, a man of big deeds but in true spirit, not someone who will trumpet his contributions to heritage and conservation. Am indebted to him for many things and this post is a small payback, to bring his favorite temple to the limelight.

This is his famous sketch – its apparent that the temple was in ruins and all the sculptures were dumped outside. This was sketched on site 50 years ago

The sculptures have been removed from the temple and kept in the museums in tanjore ( except for the Ganesha sculpture)

The temple has since been renovated and is read to receive its treasures. Now, thanks to Satheesh and Mr Bharadwaj, we try to fit in missing pieces – inorder to seek the support of readers to voice out for their return. Its also a lasting testament to the great skill of the master artist.

I hope you had as much fun as me, to match every curve, every ornament and sadly every broken stone to identify them. We will continue shortly with a detailed post from appreciating sculpture perspective, for each of these are fantastic sculptures in their own right and require a separate post to highlight their beauties – as of now just rewind and see the master artist at work.

Meantime, a quiz to test your identification skills – lets see if you can identify the various sculptures in this order?

For the ones we could find the sculptures

Better still – to try for the entire sketch.


10 thoughts on “Tiruvalanchuli – In search of the missing sculptures – aided by a Mastero Silpi’s sketch

  1. What a lot of Masterpieces!
    Will really be happy to learn names for some
    of these murthis I’ve gotten wrong :
    1. Bhairavar
    2. Shiva w ‘big hair’ name? can’t remember
    3. Parvati/Shiva
    4. Agastya
    5. Ardhanareshwar
    6. Bhikshatanar w winnowing fan?
    7. Brahma?
    another Bhikshatana?
    Silpi sketch left out a beautiful Korravai in museum. Looks like Tiruvalanjuli. Will send if you want.

  2. சில்பியின் முத்துக்கள் இவை!

    IN THE SAME LENGTH SPS CONTRIBUTION TO HISTORY AND INDIAN TRADITION IS ENORMOUS. Nice to see mentioning his contribution here in this post. I wish more and more to follow


  3. அநேகமாய் அடையாளம் கண்டு பிடிச்சுட்டார், நான் கொஞ்சம் லேட், 🙁 பரவாயில்லை, அருமையான, பதிவு வழக்கம்போல், இது என்ன பானகத் துரும்பு போல இந்தப் பசுபதினு ஒருத்தர் சொல்றார்??? :((((((((

  4. dear pasupati

    first of all welcome to the site and thanks for your comments. You can never satisfy everyone i guess.

    However, i did try to navigate inside your blogsite to search for the mentioned post – i am not tech savy, but was not able to cite the tirukurungudi post even after trying for 5 min. Maybe you can give us the correct url or have better tags , links to help easy navigation.

    On your flickr album, didnt have chance to go through in detail – but found the narratives pretty one sided and against a particular religion not considering the relative timeframes. Though i have not studied buddhist sculpture in detail, if you want to have a healthy discussion, please feel to mail me. You are free to air your views but would request that we must be mature and responsible in what we put up on the net.


  5. Wonderful post Vijay. Beautiful sketch my the master artist..good tribute to him. And due respect to SPS…

    Is the no.1 Sculpture – Adhikara Nandhi?

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