Muthappan and Toddy

Muthappan and Toddy / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad  2014 / Archival pigment prints

Muthappan and Toddy / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad 2012 / Archival pigment prints

 

Mid 2012, I had gone to Wayanad to meet my friends. There are few places in Kerala, where one could get good Toddy, a natural alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, date palms and coconut palms. It is also known as kallu (in South India). Toddy, along with fish and meat is offered to Mutthappan, the principal deity of Muthappan Temple, also called Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple, located on the banks of the Valapattanam river, Northern Kerala.  Muthappan is a manifestation of two mythical characters called Thiruvappana and Vellattam. According to the local tradition the presiding deity is a folk deity and not a vedic deity, but there are recent attempts to associate the deity to Vishnu or Shiva. Rituals of the temple is unique in that it does not follow the Satvic Brahminical form of worship, as in other Hindu temples of Kerala. The main mode of worship is the a ritual enactment of both the characters of Muthappan, through a traditional dance known as Muthappan Theyyam. For Malayalees, drinking is a social phenomenon. Their use and abuse of alcohol is immense. Toddy shops and Muthappan, both are very much a part of Northern Kerala culture. In the current political context of Kerala, Toddy appears to be a healthy alternative. HAIL MUTHAPPAN.

 

26th September 2014

Tiruvannamalai

(C) All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of  contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing, For more information call {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405  or mail to ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Abul Kalam Azad 

 

Portrait of Maharishi

Portrait of Maharishi / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad  2014 / Archival pigment prints

Portrait of Maharishi / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad 2014 / Archival pigment prints

 

Sri Ramana Maharishi, born Venkatrama Iyer came to Tiruvannamalai on 1st September 1896. He was born in Tiruchuzhi, Madurai in the year 1879.  In his 17th year, while he was in his birth place, a remarkable experience as if undergoing death of the physical body while remaining in full consciousness became the turning point in his life. Following the transformation, he left his home and was drawn irresistibly to the sacred hill of Arunachala. He never left the hill. In the ashram which was formed around him, he taught the purest form of Advaita Vedanta (non-duality) through the supremely simple discipline of Self-Enquiry. Ramana Maharishi’s creative conscious also included photography and his acceptance and interest in the medium encouraged many photographers to take several pictures of Ramana. 

Yesterday (24th September) was my 50th birthday and my family was invited for the ‘birthday biksha’ at Sri. Ramana Ashram. Yesterday  was the first day of Navaratri as well. As I was waiting for my family to come, I saw the glowing life size black granite sculpture of Ramana. It was shining, reflecting the eleven o’clock sun. This particular sculpture was made by the great  traditional Indian tenple architect and builder Sri Ganapati Sthapati, when Ramana Maharishi was alive . After the sculpture was made, one of the inmates asked Ramana Maharishi, “Does this look like you…?” Ramana Maharishi replied, “Only two persons will know that…. the Sthapati and my barber….”. I remembered this story. I looked again to check whether there is any similarity. I have never seen Ramana Maharishi alive, but have seen several images of this legendary saint. I thanked Ganapati Sthapathi for this marvelous stone portrait.

Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai

24th September 2014

 

Jain temple in Tiruvannamalai

Jain temple / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad

Mahaveeran / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad

Tirumalai (“the holy mountain”; also later called as Arhasugiri, “the holy mountain of the Arhar”) is a Jain temple and cave complex dating from at least the 9th century that is located northwest of Polur in Tamil Nadu, Southeast India. The complex includes 3 Jain caves, 2 Jain temples and a 16 meter high sculpture of Neminatha thought to date from the 12th century. This sculpture of Neminatha is the tallest Jain image in Tamil Nadu.

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365