Monday, December 28, 2020

A Fleeting Moment

A Fleeting Moment Ink and watercolor by Meera Rao

A fleeting moment 
in time
 a memory floating
in a watery image 

~Meera Rao~

We were early and not knowing how long the wait will be I took out my sketch book to keep me occupied. I was assessing the stained wall, the broom, two red and green lanterns and other miscellaneous items  on the low long storage shelf. And then, a person stopped right in the beam of sunlight at the far end to check his phone long enough for me to capture the moment on my phone.  I knew then what to sketch. I always find it challenging to balance the book and draw while standing but I managed to I sketched the scene in front of me. Months later I added the person using the reference photo and finished the sketch with watercolor! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Rock, A Temple, A Tree and A Wish

The Wishing Tree watercolor and pen by Meera Rao

After a morning spent at the Sri Rangam temple, we took an autoriksha to see the Rock Fort Temple in nearby Tiruchirapalli. This temple is visible for miles and is a landmark in the area.  As the name suggests the temple and the fort are on an 273' high ancient monolithic rock formation (according to my research about 3.8 billion years old!) A fort, three beautiful cave temples at different levels are cut away in the rock.  Temple at the foot is for Ganesha, the Ucchi Pillayar Temple is at the top,  and the Thayumanavar Temple between them. The Thayumanavar temple, the largest of the three, is  for Goddess Amman as well as Shiva. There are around 350-400 steep steps to climb to visit all the temples and reach the top most Ganesha Temple.  A marvel in construction, the temple complex was originally built more than 1000 years ago by the Pallavas. It was later reconstructed by the Madurai Nayaks and Vijayanagara rulers. The major complex in the temple are believed to be built during the 8th century by the Pandyan Empire.  

I was amazed to find this huge tree on top of the huge barren rock! A few feet below the entrance to the top most Ganesha Puliyar Temple, this tree is a wonder in itself.  The tree has many colorful cradles in wood or cloth hanging from it. There were many towers of bricks too. The story goes that an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva could not have her mother come to help her during pregnancy and delivery due to heavy rains and flood. Lord Shiva took pity on her, came down disguised as her mother and  she of course, had a safe and painless delivery.  So the devotees now come, tie the cradles and pray for an easy, safe pregnancy and delivery. I was impressed by the many pregnant and new mothers who were climbing all the way up either to pray or thank and show gratitude to the Lord. 

Needless to say the view from the top is breathtaking.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Entering the Gate of Blessed Space

 Passing Thru the Temple Gates, SriRangam by Meera Rao

The many gates in the Temple Complex at Sri Rangam are massive, ornate, tall and wide. Lot goes on under the beautiful arches. Venders crowd the space by the walls, a few temple offices are tucked between the walls and gate. People, two wheelers and animals pass thru freely. Every single building and object in the temple complex harps on the beauty, majesty, creativity, talent that is beyond awe inspiring. It is indeed a tribute to the Universe and transports one to the spiritual realm.

Sketching and painting the scene is a challenge. It is daunting to show in a few lines and colors on 10x7" paper the beautiful sculptures on the wall, the engineering wizardry in the majestic arches and the very high walls, doors, as well as  all who pass thru those gates. And the morning light was streaming in from both ends of the gate. I was glad I was there early in the day when it was relatively empty and quiet with time and space to admire the surroundings. . 

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