Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 20 , February 1-15, 2020
Chariot of the Gods
I was fascinated the first time I saw Valluvar Kottam. Well, wouldn’t you be, if as a nine-year-old you saw a giant chariot? As it was, I was spellbound by regular-sized chariots at temple festivals and this one was humongous, with steps that people could climb and explore within. Despite aching legs and exhaustion, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
A few years later, I learnt that it had been the brainchild of the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi in the 1970s, built by the legendary Ganapati Sthapati and had been inaugurated in April 1976; that the entire chariot itself was a massive replica of another famed chariot, one in Thiruvarur; that it contained all 1330 couplets of the Thirukkural in the Kural Mandapam; and that the wheels alone were 11 feet in diameter and 2 feet in thickness.
When I decided to draw Madras’s famed sights, it was one of the first attractions I chose. I had a whale of a time with the details, especially the roof. But perhaps the best part was the tiny man trying to “push” the chariot. Perspective, you see. I wonder if he knew that it was stationary and couldn’t ever be moved?
PS: Of course he was imaginary!
Details about the miniature: Black and White; Pen and Ink.
Dimensions: Approximately: 5.5” X 2.5” Pavithra Srinivasan is a writer, journalist, artist, translator, columnist, editor and is fascinated with History.