The Present book breaks new grounds in being among the first such juxtaposed studies of two great focal centres of Rock-out Art one in the lower Tamil Nadu and the other in the Upper Deccan. The former of the two centres was reared under the early Pandyan dynasty of Madurai, and the latter, under the redoubtable Calukyas of Badami.
The efflorescence of this art, in these two centres, for Brahmanical religion, had bequeathed one of the richest legacies of South India in monumental art.
The book is designed, along with its illustrations both photographic and line drawings, to be helpful for a close perception of the foundational character of this art, making the nexus of the mainstream culture with the regional spectra.
It will be of specific use to scholars and teachers of art history, on the comparatively less known heritage of early Pandyan rock-out, as much as on the primary contribution of Ellora under the Rastrakutas towards Indian art and cultural renaissance and even to world art.
About the Author
K.V. Soundara Rajan (b. 1925) has a distinguished place among the senior contemporaries in Indian archaeological and art historical researchers of the post-independence decades. M.A. in Sanskrit, in 1946, he was inducted into the Archaeological Survey Culture of India by Mortimer Wheeler (then, its Director-General) in 1947. He retired in 1983 as its Additional Director General.
He has four hundred research papers and around 18 books (so far) standing to his credit. His studies also included the field of lslamic architecture in India.
Widely travelled, he had been visiting Professor in the universities of Chicago and Los Angeles in U.S.A. and had been a Visitor to the British Council. He has been a member of several official cultural delegations visiting Vietnam, Thailand, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., etc., for cultural exchange and international seminars. He was a member of the Consultative Committee of the UNESCO for its project on Port-cities of Indian Ocean region at Zanzibar (1983). He was invited by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and lectured at its universities and studied its famous sites of archaeological importance. He has the unique distinction of having presided over the Annual Congresses of the Indian Archaeological Society, Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies and the Indian Epigraphical Society. His other interests include Classical Music and the Stage.
Architecture has a unity of purpose and function, especially in such contexts of regional manifestations. Where a commonality of style and culture also exists. Rock-out temples in India form, in this regard, a unique parallel and temporal preclude as well to the advent of structural modes of temples in durable materials like stone. Centres of these rock-out shrines abound mainly in South India where they are seen flowering into the fullness of VIMANA style of religious architecture. In such circumstances, juxtaposed studies of major display groups of those rock-out modes have the benefit of emphasizing the metamorphic variety and range inherent in the infinitude of import of the evolving temple-building style
The present book thus breaks new grounds in being among the first such juxtaposed studies of two great focal centres of rock-out art, one in the lower Tamil Nadu and the other in the upper Deccan where, the distance separating them notwithstanding, an exposition of comparable architectural modes and cultic interactions, as a sequence there to, is patently noticeable, as helped also by broad chronological coevality of occurrence. The former of the two centres was reared under the early Pandyan dynasty of Madurai, which spearheaded, from the misty past, all that was quintessential in Tamil culture, spiritualism, secularism and art, and the latter, under the redoubtable Calukyas of Badami and more majestically under the puissant Rastrakutas of Ellora their early capital created an art extravaganza of world-class which, since, is a perennial draw for art connoisseurs all the world over.
The efflorescence of this art, in these two centres, for Brahmanical religion, had bequeathed one of the richest legacies of South India in monumental art. In a compact rendering recorded of the high points of these two, in their multiple creations in live rock itself pregnant with meaning, forming as it were, the womb of the divinity (the Bhudevi) the book is designed, along with its illustration, both photographic and line drawing, to be helpful for a close perception of the foundational character of this art, marking the nexus of the mainstream culture with the regional spectra.
The author expresses his thankfulness to Messrs Somaiya Publications Pvt. Ltd. For their readiness to bring out such a tidy publication, despite inherent hassles. It is hoped that it will be of specific use to scholars and teachers of art on the comparatively less known heritage of early Pandyan rock-out art, as much as on the primary contribution of Ellora under the Rastrakutas towards Indian art and cultural renaissance, and even to world art.
The author would also thank many colleagues who had shown interest, in the course of the organization of these twin-studies. While the photographs of the Pandyan art are by courtesy of the Archaeological Survey of India, those of Ellora art by the kindness of my colleagues and well-known sculptor-photographer-scholar of Indian art. Ms. Carmel Berkson: to both these, the author expresses his gratitude.
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