30 June 2023
THE GREAT CHOLAS
Photography Exhibition by Artist R. MANIVANNAN
VENUE: KALAKENDRA – BHARAT NIVAS, PAVILION OF INDIA, AUROVILLE
INAUGURATION ON 1 JULY 2023 @ 4.OO PM
R. Manivannan, a visual artist and Fine-art travel documentary photographer showcases a stunning collection of photographs that capture the timeless beauty and grandeur of the Chola temples built between the 9th and 13th centuries in southern India, through an unique Photography Exhibition – THE GREAT CHOLAS at Auroville, Pondicherry from 1 July 2023 till 30 July 2023.
“My aim as a photographer was to capture the unique features and intricate details of these magnificent structures, from the towering entrance gateways to the finely carved stone pillars. Each photograph is a testament to the artistic and architectural brilliance of the Chola dynasty and the lasting legacy of these awe-inspiring temples.
At the centre of this exhibition is the iconic Brihadeeswarar Temple, also known as the Thanjavur Big Temple, which is considered one of the most significant and iconic examples of Chola architecture. This massive granite structure with its intricate carvings and towering vimana (tower) is a must-see for anyone interested in the cultural heritage of India and the art of the Chola dynasty,” says the renowned photographer R. Manivannan.
“But there are many other equally magnificent Chola temples that are well worth visiting. The Vijayalayacholeswaram temple at Narthamalai, the masterpiece of first Imperial Chola’s architecture, was built by King Vijayalaya Cholan who established Imperial Cholas at Thanjavur in 9th century AD. The Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram , for example, is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, featuring intricate stone carvings and towering gopurams. The Airavatesvara temple complex, with its intricate stone carvings and beautiful shrines, is another must-see destination for anyone interested in the art and architecture of the Chola dynasty,” he added.
This exhibition also features another marvel of Chola engineering, the Kallanai dam, also known as the Grand Anicut. Built in the 2nd century AD by the Chola king Karikalan, this ancient dam on the Kaveri River in Tamil Nadu is considered to be one of the oldest water-diversion structures in the world.
The Kallanai dam continues to serve its original purpose of diverting water from the Kaveri River to the surrounding agricultural lands, and it is a popular tourist attraction and a testament to the engineering prowess of the Chola dynasty.
“Each photograph is a tribute to the incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these masterpieces of Dravidian architecture. As I explored these temples, I was struck by the incredible artistry and attention to detail that went into creating them,” Manivannan shares the beauty and cultural significance of Chola architecture and engineering, and tries to explore rich artistic traditions of the great Cholas here.
R. Manivannan, an artist and a professional photographer with a Post Graduation in Visual Arts hails from the historic city of Tanjore, Tamilnadu
R. Manivannan, an artist and a professional photographer with a Post Graduation in Visual Arts hails from the historic city of Tanjore, Tamilnadu. He has shown his photographs in several exhibitions including at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi inaugurated by renowned Photographer Raghu Rai.