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  • Thumbnail for Rope-pullers and bananas
    Rope-pullers and bananas

    Rope-pullers, catching bananas thrown from roof; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1982; during stop of ratha, bananas as refreshments; Keywords: devotees, ratha, procession

  • Thumbnail for Priest-as-Siva on elephant
    Priest-as-Siva on elephant

    Priest-as-Siva, mounted on elephant, emerges from temple at start of procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; note that elephant is Vaisnava: borrowed from local Visnu temple (Kutal Alakar), since Minaksi temple elephant unable to carry howdah in procession; Keywords: priests, lilas, animals, processions

  • Thumbnail for Decorating deities, behind saree
    Decorating deities, behind saree

    Priests decorate deities for evening procession, behind saree. Decoration of the deity images should respect the privacy of the gods.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; in Kalyana-mandapa, on raised platform on west side; Keywords: decoration

  • Thumbnail for Sceptre and other regalia
    Sceptre and other regalia

    Sceptre, crown, and other items of sovereignty, before crowning of Sundaresvara; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; taken in front of Sundaresvara sannithi: objects are cenkol, vettram, makuta, and eruttani (writing implement); Keywords: priests, regalia, crowning

  • Thumbnail for Oduvar tells story of Jnanasambandar
    Oduvar tells story of Jnanasambandar

    Head Oduvar (Tamil singer) of the temple recites story of establishment of Saivism in Madurai; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Tiruvilaiyatal no. 63 is told by head oduvar.; Keywords: personnel, lilas

  • Thumbnail for Nadaswaram troupe
    Nadaswaram troupe

    Nadaswaram troupe plays at the flag-raising ceremony. The troupe consists in two nadaswaram players, one tavil drum player, and a tala (hand-cymbal) timekeeper.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: flag-raising, personnel, musicians, ideas

  • Thumbnail for Chief priest at flag-raising
    Chief priest at flag-raising

    Chief priest (nambiyar) performs a purifying ceremony in front of secondary flag-pole during flag-raising; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: flag-raising, priests, ideas

  • Thumbnail for Wooden ratha base
    Wooden ratha base

    Wooden base for processional chariot, with initial bamboo superstructure; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Keywords: vehicles, ratha

  • Thumbnail for Bhuta vehicle
    Bhuta vehicle

    Bhuta vehicle, used in 2nd evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Sundaresvara rides Bhuta vehicle on 2nd evening; Keywords: vehicles

  • Thumbnail for Ratha wheels
    Ratha wheels

    Wooden wheels of ratha; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1982; Keywords: vehicles, ratha, procession

  • Thumbnail for Priest-as-Siva addresses deities
    Priest-as-Siva addresses deities

    Priest-as-Siva addresses deities, in Minaksi-Nayakkar Mandapa, as part of 6th day lila. He narrates the story of that day's lila.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: priests, lilas

  • Thumbnail for Two swordsmen
    Two swordsmen

    Two swordsmen, mock fight in Kalyana mandapa. These are men from an agricultural caste in nearby village, who have inherited the privilege of playing these roles during the 6th day lila.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Fighters are farmers, from Pandya-Vellalar jati, who have hereditary right to participate in 6th morning lila; Keywords: personnel, lilas

  • Thumbnail for Devotional table near Pittuttoppu mandapa
    Devotional table near Pittuttoppu mandapa

    Devotional table (tirukkan) near Puttuttoppu mandapa, before procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: devotees

  • Thumbnail for Pittuttoppu Vaniya Vaisiyar mandapa
    Pittuttoppu Vaniya Vaisiyar mandapa

    Pittuttoppu Vaniya Vaisiyar mandapa, with deities inside. This is the site of the 9th day lila in Arapalayam, a suburb of Madurai, along the bank of the Vaigai River.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Mandapa in Arapalayam, near river, where lila takes place (Tiruvilaiyatal no. 61); Keywords: pavilions, lilas

  • Thumbnail for Deities in Seven-color vehicle, in Kalyanamandapa
    Deities in Seven-color vehicle, in Kalyanamandapa

    Deities in Seven-color Vehicle, in Kalyana Mandapa, prior to start of 11th evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; prior to 11th evening procession; Keywords: deities, vehicles

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara decorated for procession
    Sundaresvara decorated for procession

    Siva Sundaresvara decorated for 8th evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; in Kalyana-mandapa, waiting for procession to begin; Keywords: sundaresvara, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Decorated Manikkavacakar
    Decorated Manikkavacakar

    Decorated Manikkavacakar from Tiruvathavur, before 11th evening procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: deities, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle
    Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle

    Siva Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: sundaresvara, vehicles

  • Thumbnail for Temple Shops
    Temple Shops

    Shops in Minaksi temple complex, along Viravasantaraya Mandapa passageway on east side of temple complex.; Minaksi temple; Keywords: temple

  • Thumbnail for Buddha
    Buddha

    The museum label reads, "This meditating figure, conveying spiritual strength and solidity, was carved for placement by a shrine or in a monastery. Sitting in the lotus pose with his hands resting in the gesture of meditation, he can be identified as the Buddha by his elongated earlobes, the lotus marks on his palms, the third eye of insight, and his cranial bump with a flame of wisdom. On the back of the sculpture is a long inscription in Tamil, a language of southern India. "In India, artists were not strictly committed to fashioning works for clients of a single religion. Distinctive regional styles, however, were more pronounced. for example, this sculpture has characteristics that mark it as non-Indian because it was made for Indonesian Buddhist patrons living in the Indian port city of Nagapattinam. Interestingly, these artists were supported by the Hindu ruler of the Chola dynasty." Coll. Art Institute of Chicago, Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrew Brown, 1964.556

  • Thumbnail for Harihara
    Harihara

    The museum label states: "This sculpture from a temple niche represents Harihara, a figure combining Shiva (right half) and Vishnu (left half). Shiva has a crown of matted locks and holds a trident as his emblem of power. His bull, Nandi (missing its head), stands at his side. Vishnu's crown is miterlike, and he holds the conch and discus. The pairing of these two deities and their symbols represents the paradox of simultaneous destruction and creation in nature." -- India, Madhya Pradesh -- Red Sandstone -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Lent by the Pritzker Fmily, 516.1983)

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child

    At this shrine, couples pray to the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, for his help in conceiving a healthy child. When the child is old enough, the couples promise tol return and make an offering of thanksgiving. This ritual consists of distributing sweetbreads equal in weight to that of the child. To determine this weight, two metal crates are balanced by a rope hanging over the limb of a large tree in the courtyard of the dargah. Often travelling from great distances, families dress in their finest clothes and bring many family members to share in this festive celebratory ritual.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, infant in weighing basket
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, infant in weighing basket

    Child lying patiently in the metal basket waiting to be weighed against the sweetbreads in the other basket. [For description of this Thanksgiving Ritual, see cbind0043.]

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads

    The child dressed in a beautiful peach dress and blue scarf sits patiently as her weight balances the sweetbreads on the other side, determining the contribution of her familiy to the community. [See cbind0043 for description of this Thanksgiving Ritual.]

  • Thumbnail for Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings
    Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings

    At the base of a buddha figure, lay devotees, men and women, carry offerings, possibly to celebrate the end of the rainy season retreat. The hair of the laypeople is emphasized in these figures perhaps as a contrast to the shaved heads of the monks and nuns.