Sri RajaRajeswaram – A Dancer’s Dream

I have always been amazed by the love shown towards Tamil culture and heritage by Tamil diaspora from across the world more than the locals in Tamil Nadu.  Yalini Raja is one such person who, even though being from Canada has immense love for the Tamil culture and especially the Tanjore Big Temple. So when she approached me for a dance portfolio shoot at the Big Temple, I couldn’t but  grab the opportunity. Apart from the grandeur of architecture and sculpture, the Big Temple is an ode to dancers. In its heyday, the temple had 400 classical dancers from across the Tamil land who devoted their life to dance at the temple. And the great king Raja Raja meticulously had their names engraved in the temple walls which can still be seen today after 1000 years. The temple even has natya karanas in sculptures inside the sanctum. So a dance shoot in this temple just felt right.

Here are the pictures from the shoot.

SriRajarajeswaram-3768SriRajarajeswaram-3698SriRajarajeswaram-3750SriRajarajeswaram-3812SriRajarajeswaram-4041SriRajarajeswaram-4048SriRajarajeswaram-4105SriRajarajeswaram-4077SriRajarajeswaram-3967SriRajarajeswaram-3956SriRajarajeswaram-3977SriRajarajeswaram-3916SriRajarajeswaram-3901SriRajarajeswaram-4127SriRajarajeswaram-4234SriRajarajeswaram-4180SriRajarajeswaram-4261SriRajarajeswaram-3861DancewithYalini-4219

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Goddesses of India

Ancient India is known for a lot of things. Women’s liberation is not one among them. On one hand the womenfolk were worshiped as goddesses and on the other, they were seen as nothing more than domestic slaves. There is however, still one glory that you can’t deny India. It is the  fact that there have always been women who broke the chains of servitude to carve their name in history and the men who always encouraged and supported women to reach for the stars.

As I read this in a social media post, I couldn’t think of a better way to wish all you lovely womenfolk a very happy women’s day.

“May the fire inside of you burn stronger than the storm surrounding you.”

Here is a small collection of my favorite women in Tamil sculptural heritage for this Women’s day.

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Gajalakshmi, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, 11th Century AD
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Gnana Saraswati, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, 11th Century AD
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Gnana Saraswati, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, 11th Century AD
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Vishnu Durga, Melpadi, 11th Century AD
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Unknown Chola Queen, Kumbakonam, 9th Century AD
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Gaja Lakshmu, Mahabalipuram, 7th Century AD
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The Warrior, Mahabalipuram, 7th Century AD (yes we had women warriors with six pack abs too)
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Durga & Thavvai, Kanchipuram, 8th Century AD
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Kottravai, Mahabalipuram, 7th Century AD
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Vishnu Durga, Thirukazhukundram, 12th Century AD