Day Two in Mamallapuram

Day two in India was also in Mahabalipuram whose name has been officially changed to “Mamallapuram” which is the original Tamil spelling for this area. We spent the day viewing the work of Selvanathan Sthapati’s Silpi’s for Iraivan Temple and our first day of temple visits.

This beautiful Nandi is for another temple. Done by Srinvasa sthapati. He will be carving the Iraivan Temple Sanctum Door. Sthapati wanted to show it off because the piece is all wood and a great deal of detail is involved.

A closer look into the detail shows days of carving.

Mushika! This style of Mushika is more fierce then the other sweeter looking faces that Mushika uses.

A closer look into the piece.

Our group of Sthapatis and Silpi’s with Swami. Kumar, to Swami’s left, was the Aadheenam cook for five years!

Today’s meeting was one of the reasons for the trip to India. To settle matters for Iraivan’s doors we had to coordinate and work to get consensus between five individuals: Selvanathan Sthapati, the wood carving silpi, the silver-smith who will do the silver-cladding of the door, Yoginathaswami and Nellaiappan, our ever-wise liaison officer in India who has years of experience dealing with artisans in Tamil Nadu.

This is a ten or twelve foot Hanuman we had to take a picture of because of its massiveness.

The group discussing different aspects of stone carving. To the left of Selvanathan Sthapati is Subramaniam Sthapati. He carved our large Dakshinamurthi and Shanmuga Deity for Kauai. He was also the carver of the Panchamukha Ganapati and all the large deities for our Mauritius Dharmasala.

Kumar was able to join us at our first temple visit shortly after seeing the worksites. A place where camera’s are not very welcome. To take a photo of the insides of the temple wall is to take the magic away of actually going there to see it first hand.

Moving through Mahabalipuram is an adventure. Carvings and works in progress are everywhere!. Here is a sculpture of the famed saint, Shirdi Sai Baba.

We are at Loganathan Sthapati’s patrai (shop). You can see the life size sketch of Iraivan Nandi on the wall. Loganathan Sthapati is considered to be one of the most artistic carvers in the Mamallapuram area.

Loganathan Sthapati

A photo of a random carving of Ganesha. The exquisite detail in this piece is not easy to find in all carvings. A sample of Loganathan Sthapati’s work.

Here we are on the road to the next workshop. We thought you would enjoy seeing the busy streets of Mahabalipuram, everywhere you go there is something going on.

This is the biggest pile of watermelons we ever seen, there must be over 500.

Arriving at the workshop we see the Parampara statues are coming along just fine. The detail of the work is one of our main concerns. Bodhinatha’s murthi–work in progress.

A closer look of Bodhinatha’s face.

The actual size is larger then life!

The cast used for reference for the actual piece. Amazing detail.

A closer look.

Yogaswami’s is coming along nicely.

The cast used for reference.

Gurudeva’s cement model shows great detail like the others.

Actual size piece is underway.

The photographer gets caught in a picture.

A wonderfully done model of the Buddha. Nice detail of his robes.

Kadaitswami’s murthi in its early stage.

it is fascinating to see how the sthapati marks the stone. The silpi the comes along and carves away. The sthapati will return and mark again. The cycle goes on and on for months until the image emerges


3 Responses to “Day Two in Mamallapuram”

  1. Sheela says:

    Where will the models go when the work is completed?!! Hint, hint Aum AUM

  2. Rajita says:

    It is so inspiring to see each aspect of all the carvings unfold in such beautiful mystical ways. I am in awe of what it takes to carve so as to reveal the beautiful images of the divine within the stone. Thank you so much for taking the pictures. Aum Siviaya

  3. Eassan says:

    One day, You’ll see these stones Gods walk in front of You caring and teaching You the path in the easy way! Jai to the Parampara.. mind boggling statues!!!

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