Trip to Thanjavur

We left for Thanjavur early in the morning on 23rd of March.We were to visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple here which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built under the reign of  RajaRaja Chola of the Chola Dynasty in the 11th century.

We reached by noontime.It was a scorching hot.The temple had huge entrance called gopuram.It was full of amazing carvings of women, lion-like creature, other animals, and Gods.It is completely built from granite. With no granite quarry within 100 km. radius of the temple, one wonders about the logistics and efforts that must have been required to transport tonnes of granite to this site.

Inside the sanctum, there is a big Nandi which is carved out of a single rock.It is said that the sculpture gets bigger and bigger.We were early and it was scorching so we rested under one mandapam till 4 p.m.

The temple gates opened and we were excited to go in.Our teacher had told us that there was a chamber inside where if we were to chant om we were to receive an immortal experience.The most disappointing part was we were not allowed to go there.We did the darshan of the Shiva Lingam and went to the admire the murals.They are frescos depicting Shaivism (worship of Shiva),  Vishnu, Durga and other Gods, as well as scenes of Chola royalty, courtly and common life.the most amazing fact remains that the pigments are natural and have not faded even after centuries.

It is said to have more than hundred underground passages that connect to various other places. We could not go in as most of the passages are sealed. In the earlier days, the passages were used by sages, Kings, and Queens to roam about different temples and places, especially during auspicious festivals like Deepavali, Maha Shivarathri, and Makar Sankranti.

It felt like we had traveled in time and were in the 11th century.I could visualize the moat that surrounded the temple and the gate and hundreds of worshippers and the kings and the queens, lights, and offerings and celebrations.

It was a wonderful experience.We were to head to Chidambaram for yet another adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tamilnadu: The Land of Temples

 

Tamilnadu is also called the land of temples.It is a home to around 33,000 ancient temples.In the past a king was considered to be divine by nature and possessed religious significance.[1] The king was ‘the representative of God on earth’ and lived in a “koyil”, which means the “residence of God”. The Modern Tamil word for temple is koil.

A temple is the representation of Hindu Cosmos and a dwelling place of Deity so is considered the place to receive darshan: a glimpse of God.

In our art history classes, we were studying about the temple architecture of Tamilnadu.We studied the rock-cut monolith temples of Mamallapuram and the first structural temple (shore temple) there.

Secondly, we studied the structure and composition of temples of Dravidian style.

Traditional Dravidian architecture and symbolism are based on Agamas. The Agamas are non-Vedic in origin and have been dated either as post-Vedic texts or as pre-Vedic compositions. The Agamas are a collection of Tamil and Sanskrit scriptures chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of murti, worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga.

Composition and structure

 Chola style temples consist almost invariably of the three following parts, arranged in differing manners, but differing in themselves only according to the age in which they were executed:[17]
  1. The porches or Mantapas, which always cover and precede the door leading to the cell.
  2. Gate-pyramids, Gopuras, which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.Gopuras are very common in dravidian temples.
  3. Pillared halls (Chaultris or Chawadis) are used for many purposes and are the invariable accompaniments of these temples.

Besides these, a South Indian temple usually has a tank called the Kalyani or Pushkarni – to be used for sacred purposes or the convenience of the priests – dwellings for all the grades of the priesthood are attached to it, and other buildings for state or convenience

After studying the arcitecture we studied two temples built by Cholas -Brihadeshvara Temple of Thanjavur  and   Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple.The most exciting part was we were going to visit them.

Written 19/3/2018

 

A Saga of Art Appreciation and History

This year we were particularly blessed as we had Corinne an art critic who offered art history classes.Last year we had few sessions too, but this year we were focussing more on the subject.

We discussed the ancient  Egyptian art, Greek and Roman art. We tried to understand the purpose of the art in those time.How Egyptian art focuses on afterlife; Greek on humanism and perfection and Roman art on realism.

We studied architecture, paintings, and sculpture and also the evolution of art.How art has changed through the passage of time; how and when perspective was introduced in the middle ages and the different artists of Renaissance.

The most interesting study was the life of Leonardo Davinci.It was revealing that one person can be a  painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, military engineer and also draftsman.

We also learned about a few art movements like cubism, impressionism, and expressionism.

In great artist series, we studied: three famous  Spanish painters-Picasso, Dali, and Goya; Monet,  Edvard Munch ; Degas; Leonardo da Vinci; Vincent Van Gogh and Marc Chagall.

While we were studying all these topics we felt the need to connect to the place where we lived i.e. Tamilnadu, India.What is art like here and what is the focus?As part of Tamilnadu series, we studied Mamallapuram, Tanjavore, and Chidambaram.We went for a field trip to all the places and it brought life to our classes at school.

The art Appreciation classes filled us with Wonder,  surprise,  appreciation,  knowledge,  aesthetic sense,  and Happiness.

 

 

Auroville Trashion Show With Craft Class

 

In January, after Pongal, Narmadha and Veronique, Faith class craft teachers, decided to register to the Auroville Trashion Show 2018 those of their students who would wish to participate.

Five students were willing to create a dress and to present it as a model, two from the juniors group and three from the seniors.

Children who did not want to participate to the project by creating or presenting would help by making accessories and ornaments.

There would be also a dress created by Narmadha and presented by a teacher.

On the first week, the students had to think about the materials they could use and to draw the dress these materials inspire them. The theme being trash in the sea, they had to focus mainly on plastics.

The next step was to go to Eco Service to collect the trash needed. People from there help us and they could collect old CDs, plastic bags, onion’s plastic sacks, tarpaulins…

Upcycling studio helped also the group in its project by providing tetrapak’s plastic caps, CDs cover and even lending special scissors for cutting the CDs.

The Trashion Show was planned for February 23rd, but had they to send photographies of their creations by February 12th. Basically they had two weeks left, which were quite busy.

 

Working on dresses

 

Photo shooting on rehearsal

 

Trashion Show
Falguni’s dress

 

 

Trashion Show
Deepanam Team

 

Trashion Show
Final of The Trashion Show

A Walk for Human Unity, together and towards each other…

JpegOn Jan 28th Deepanam School joined Sri M. for the walk of hope.

You may ask what is walk of hope ?Walk of Hope was a padayatra for peace and harmony by the Manav Ekta Mission which covered 7500 kms from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Led by Sri M, founder of Manav Ekta Mission, the journey spanned 16 months through 11 Indian states, bringing together citizens from all walks of life. Traversing the varied landscape of India, it sought a significantly restored nation—fit enough to be bequeathed to our future generations.

Well I would have loved to join them but unfortunately I didn’t know about it at that time .Imagine walking for whole year from southern tip  to North of India spreading the message of peace , harmony and human unity.

However I was able to participate here in Auroville. Children and teachers of Deepanam School participated in the walk which was to start from Matrimandir main gate and was to conclude at the Mosque of Rayapettai.

We started from the Matrimandir  and reached the Kali  Temple in kottakarai. From there we went to kottakarai plaza. Swaram gave us a grand reception with their music and provided us refreshments.The children explored the music park and Sri M visited the work shop.

From there we headed to Isai  Ambalam School. School children presented songs to us.From there we visited the mosque.

Our walk concluded and each of carried the message of oneness and peace in our hearts . I truly felt blessed to be a part of the whole process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feild Trip to Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram or Seven Pagodas , is a town 85 kms north of Pondicherry on the Coromandal Coast (south east) of India.

It was a bustling and important sea port of the Pallavas who ruled over much of South India from as early as the first century B.C to the eighth century A.D.

At Mamallapuram ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking , laden as they were with wealth, big trunked elephants and gems of nine varieties in heaps.

It is now recognized as the site of some of the greatest architectural and sculptural achievements in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mahabalipurmam got its name from demon mahabali.It is believed that Mahabalipuram was renamed to Mamallapuram after the Pallava King Narsimha Varman I who went by the name Mamallan because of his great wrestling skills. Pallava kings made Mahabalipuram their capital and brought new artistic styles to the culture.Another name by which Mahabalipuram has been known to mariners , at least since Marco Polo’s time is Seven Pagodas alluding to the seven pagodas that stood on the shore.only one of them survives caleed the shore temple.

 

The temples of Mamallapuram portray events described in the Mahabharata and show the movement from rock cut architecture to structural building.The mandapas or pavillions and the rathas or shrines shaped like chariots are monolithic -hewn from one granit rock face , while the famous Shore Temple erected half a century later is built with dressed (cut blocks) stone.

Places we visited:

Pancha Rathas

Shore Temple

Arjuna’s Penance

Soil Observation in Buddha Garden

In our gardening class in Buddha garden, to understand the difference in the soil in different places, we took samples of soil from various parts of Buddha garden.

One from a fertile bed, one from near the pond and one from a bed in the process of being made very fertile.

IMG_20171025_085226

Soil samples were of different shades.We observed each sample  and concluded that:

1.The darker the soil the more moisture it has.

2.The blacker the soil the more organic matter in it.

3.The soil near the pond had a high quantity of silt thus it was a lighter brown.

4.The soil from the fertile bed was very dark and black as it was full of moisture and organic matter.

5.The soil from the bed which was not yet very fertile was lighter than the complete bed but darker than the soil from near the pond.

Vyomini.