Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This one I really liked, talks about our cultural heritage in south east asia, something that doesn't get much prominence in our school textbooks. The article has some nice pictures in it too, must say, this is quite an unusual article, some beautiful illustrations accompanied by some stinging food for thought!

Greater India's magnificent heritage

Rajeev Srinivasan on India's cultural empire

The earthquake that struck Indonesia's Java island late in May was especially tragic. Not only in terms of the many victims of the quake, but also in the damage done to the temples at Prambanan.

In the vicinity of Java's cultural capital, Jogjakarta, stand two of the greatest treasures of Indonesia's Indic heritage, the temples at Borobudur and Prambanan. I visited them both about fifteen years ago, so I was anxious about any potential damage to them from the quake, and alas, there was quite a bit.

Borobudur is the Buddhist temple built 1300 years ago; and Prambanan, originally Brahma-vana, is the Hindu temple built 1,100 years ago. The two could not be more different, architecturally speaking. Borobudur is squat, hulking, powerful, a giant stupa that is a man-made mountain; in fact, it is the largest structure in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Prambanan is tall, slender and ethereal.

Prambanan consisted originally of three slender towers reminiscent of the North Indian style, as well as over a hundred smaller, subsidiary temples which are generally in ruins. The three major towers were dedicated to each of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva; only the central temple, the one for Siva, was mostly intact even before the quake. It was also known as Lorojonggrang ('slender maiden' in Bahasa Indonesian). Now it too is apparently badly damaged in the quake.



At 8:04 AM, Blogger sand said...

This guy has got pretty interesting articles on his blog...

Check out http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/

At 5:11 AM, Blogger sage_of_dio said...

excellent article ! at least it was published, i could imagine that back in 60s and 70s india, this type of stuff won't even be allowed to be made public! it's going to take a while, but indians are realizing that their true culture is hindu and buddhist, not islamic, christian or what have u. we can still be secular like japan and usa, but when it comes down to it, we need to be active in promoting our true culture.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger John said...

Vikram, are you gonna post something about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai?

My condolences to the Indian


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