04 July 2024

Art of Kongunadu (A Collection of Research Articles) : Dr. K. Manivannan

Dr. K. Manivannan's Art of Kongunadu (A Collection of Research Articles) contains 17 articles on the architecture and sculpture of the temples of Kongu region of Tamil Nadu, India. All the articles have endnotes. This book also contains photographs of salient features of selected temples which enable the reader for easier understanding. The bibliography is replete with primary and secondary sources. The glossary is an important addition to this work.  

Jambulingam with author Dr Manivannan/June 2023

In the first chapter the author gives a bird's eye view of the historical significance of the study area, the Kongu Mandalam known for its unique history, culture, art, civilization, and customs,  in brief, based on literature and stone gravings. In the other chapters he discusses about the selected temples of Coimbatore, Dindigul and Tirupur districts of Tamil Nadu. They include the temples of Munthondriswara (Avinashi), Renganatha Perumal (Karamadai), Kannadi Perumal, Magudeeswara (Kodumudi), Ayaduki Cozheeswara, Periyanayahi, Vaheeswara (Palani),  Kulaseharaswami (Sozhamadevi), Vinayaka and Nataraja  (Udumalpet). He put forths the historical background, significance of art and archiecture and the notability with reliable sources. The way he discusses the points prove the depth of his field study.

While discussing about a temple he starts with the location of the temple and analyses its art and architecture. Wherever necessary he gives the apt the literary, inscription and other sources. The special features of garbagriha, (in some temples pradaksinapatha), Antarala, Maha mandapa, Mukha mandapa, Vahana mandapa, Prakara, Nandhi, Palipita, Dvajasthamba, Deepastamba,  Gopura, and Vimana are dealt with. Location of Temple tank, and Temple tree are discussed in detail. In some places he also spells out the development of temple arts.

The role of sculptures, inevitable in temple arts is widely analysed. Starting from the presiding deity Linga and the Devi, he pinpoints the iconographical features of all the murtis. They include Vinayaka, Muruga with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Dakhinamurti, Brahma, Durga, Chandikeswara, Nayanmars,  In the Vishnu temples the sculptures of the presiding deity with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi are dealt with in meticulous manner.

The history of the temples through the ages gives the reader a clear outlook to understand their salient characters. The metamorphosis the temples faced during the period of different rulers are laid out in order with relevant explanations in detail. 

Daily pujas, rituals carried out in the temples and the special days of the temples are also given. This book will be a helpful guide for devotees and the public. I wish the author, with the blessings of the Almighty, cover the other areas of Tamil Nadu and bring out the glimpses of other temples in the coming days.   


Dr. K.Manivannan (Mobile: 99654 93171), Art of Kongunadu, (A Collection of Research Articles), GM Amudhan Publicaitons, Papanasam, Dec 2020, Rs.200


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