Sunday, 18 November 2018

Murals at Gangaikonda Cholapuram

In the issue of Dinamani (Tiruchy Edition) of Sunday October 7, 2018 was an article which posed the question ‘Will Temple Murals be Protected?’  During our road trip to Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Thiruvaiyaru at the same time, we had desperately wanted to visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram. But our visit   had to be cancelled because of our tight time schedule. This paper’s headlines are deeply worrying.  Our magnificent temples have a hoary history, beautiful sculptures, thrilling stories about our saints, poets, ancestors and their wealth of knowledge.
I would like to share this information filed by a staff reporter of this publication.
“Raja Raja Chozhan’s name became immortal as a powerful, benign king. He built the Thanjavur temple and hosted hundreds of dancers and musicians during his reign. Rajendra Chozhan (1019) his son, conquered Orissa (Kalinga) and built a new capital at Gangaikonda Cholapuram (1023) to commemorate this victory. The temple is a replica of the Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple.
The paintings on the wall of this temple, commissioned by the later Nayak regime, are deteriorating every day. The octagonal vimana, the large Nandi at the eastern entrance, enormous main deity, magnificent dwarapalakas and a set of Navagraha deities on a lotus carved from a single rock are the significant highlights here.
The single rock Sivalingam here is placed on an elevation of 13.5 feet. The gigantic form of goddess Periyanayaki is a fitting tribute to her name.
This temple has been declared as World Heritage by UNESCO. The temple and its murals are an attraction for tourists from all over the world.
The murals on the walls of the temple, dating back to Nayak kings, are disappearing. Some are completely erased. It is therefore imperative that the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) should take immediate steps to begin preservation work here.”

                               Close up of the painting-Photo courtesy:Dinamani (Tamil)

This neglect and resultant deterioration of our historical and sacred monuments is a common occurrence throughout our country. We think nothing about carving our name and initials on these walls. The Thanjavur palace museum is a sad example of this despicable habit.

We as citizens of this vast country must learn about our ancient history, the wealth of spiritual teachings, scriptures and literature that date back to centuries. Our civilisation is the oldest in the world. Be proud to be an Indian. Let us revive the glory of our traditions. The world looks upon our Vedic literature, yoga and classical arts with respect and wonder. Let us become warriors of tradition, try to prevent misuse and protect our monuments from vandalism.