Sunday, 12 September 2010

MAHABALIPURAM: Unfinished Poetry in Stone: – A Layman’s Review

“A Picture is worth thousand Words”

I was always looking for a book on Mahabalipuram which is at a layman level explains the treasures of Mahabalipuram offered. Even though there are many books on Mahabalipuram but I found most of them having lot of texts or having low resolution Illustrations. I am that kind of a person who doesn’t like to read too much of text sans illustrations or few. Let us admit, learning History through Amar Chitra Katha was far more interesting and intriguing than reading our School Texts. That is Amar Chitra Katha Stories are still one of the most sought after Comics and Collector’s Item.
Even during my recent visit to Mahabalipuram, I Missed a companion and a guide as I found that even the ASI approved guides lacked basic information on the sites and in fact were concocting their own version which I found very disturbing. I believe misinformation is more dangerous than having no information at all.
When I posed the Query to my good friend and Architecture Guru VJ, he asked me wait for sometime as his Guru Mr S Swaminathan (A Heritage Expert) was in process of compiling a book on Mahabalipuram. Knowing VJ’s Taste and Knowledge, I was sure that it is going to be a masterpiece and decided to wait for the Book.
After a while, the much awaited news came in the form of a post in VJ’s Magnum Opus (, in which he informed on the Book Finally coming out of the press and finally within the reach of the patrons. Being Impatient and Eager to get my hands on the book which is still awaiting a Formal Launch, I contacted Mr Ashok Krishnaswamy through his email id ( available on VJ’s Post.
Frankly speaking, before getting my hands on the book I could gauge that the book is going to be par excellence. My self-belief was the outcome from two aspects; the person who recommended (VJ) and the author Mr S Swaminathan.
I am very delighted to say that I was right; the Book is really a masterpiece which has not been attempted till now on Mahabalipuram. I would like to thank and Wish all the people involved in making of this masterpiece.
The Fun ride starts right from the title itself; Mahabalipuram “Unfinished Poetry in Stone” which is totally apt. Association of the sculpting to the Poetry portrays the passion of the author towards the subject.

The Chapters in the book flows like a soothing stream of a river, portraying the author knowledge of the subject and most importantly its readers. Starting from the brief introduction to South Indian Temple Architecture, the author gradually takes the reader to the Pallava Temple Architecture and then finally to the “Unfinished Poetry in Stone” i.e. Mahabalipuram. I have never such a detailed and interesting explanation of Panels like Arjuna’s Penance. The level of importance given to readers is highly appreciable.

The Icing on the cake is splendid and articulate photography by Mr. Ashok Krishnaswamy. A Heritage enthusiast himself, his photographs portrays and answers many questions we as a viewer and reader have regarding various works of arts in Mahabalipuram. Once you start going through pages you will find it hard very hard it keep the book down. The glossary at the end of the book supplements the main text in very nice way.
Finally I got what I was longing for so long and I strongly believe that it will be answer to many of the heritage enthusiasts like me and you. Our Companion to Next Trip to Mahabalipuram has finally arrived.
My Sincere Request to the author is to bring out a similar work on Kailasanatha Temple of Kanchi.
Just Go For it !!!! I Say !

Now for the benefit of enthusiasts, the book is available on Flipkart !


Monish said...

Awesome writeup, very informative...waiting for your pictures when you go on the trip with the guide book.

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Here's my simple review!!!
My 100th post - Dedicated to all