Tuesday 29 January 2013

Your Gods are made here

Who have not seen or at least heard of the breathtaking Hoysala temples of Belur and Halebidu and the magnificent Vijayanagar temples of Hampi. Many people are aware that some of the most Hoysala temples were sculpted by Janakacharya and his son Dankanacharya.
But did you ever wonder what happened to the descendents of these two great sculptors. Or what happened to other equally eminent artistes of rock and stone. Well, you can meet some of them, including the descendents of Shilpi Janakacharya and Dakanacharya at a small village near Bangalore.
What is likely to warm your heart is that the descendents along with several hundred others are still engaged in the task  of making sculptures, carving images and dressing stones. Yes, their profession is sculpting.
The small village of  Shivarapatna in Mallur taluk of Kolar district is home to the sculpture village where nearly 350 families are actively engaged in the profession of designing, sculpting and carvings images and idols.
One of the members of the sculpting families in the village is that of Basavalingacharya.
Basavalingacharya was the grandson of Shilpi Jakanacharya and it is believed that he settled down here. One of the reasons for the mass migration of sculptors to Shivarapatna was that it was very near to Kolar, which the capital of the early Gangas. The Gangas were master builders and they encouraged sculptors. It was due to this reason that Basavalingacharya settled down here.
His descendents still stay here and they also continue with the family vocation of sculpting.
The village of  Shivarapatna is named after the Ganga Emperor, Shivaramara. The village still boasts of the beautiful Shiva temple which was designed by Jakkannacharya and Dakanacharya. This later came to be known as Virdharaya Swami Temple.
For centuries, artistes here have been sculpting idols and statues. The sculptors are experts in both stone and metal carvings.
The Hindu deities are the main source of inspiration for these artistes or rather artisans.
 Since sculpting is a hereditary vocation, the business of sculpting has passed down from father to son. The skills to have been handed down by the older generation and there is no school of sculpture here to train people. These sculptors say they are descendents of Vishwakarma, the architect of Gods or Devas.
A majority of the sculptors belong to the Brahmin community.
They generally use granite, soapstone and sandstone for sculpting figures of gods and goddesses. The sculptors look at a stone and decided what figure they can carve on it- male, female or neuter gender. They decided on this by closely examining the sound quality of the stone.
The stones are procured from Heggadadevana Kote (HD Kote), Mysore, Chikajala and other places. Many temples in and around Bangalore and other cities have statues sculpted in the village such as the Ranganatha Swamy temple in Bangalore, the Sarvagna statue in Kolar, both of which were carved by the late Shilpi Sridharacharya.
Besides, the statue of  former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi  at the international airport in Delhi was sculpted here. The idols of many temples in Madurai, Udupi and Tirupathi have been sculpted here.
Shivarapatna is about 50 kilometres from Bangalore and the Government has declared it a heritage village.
By the way, Jnanpeetha awardee  Masthi Venkatesh Iyengar had his early education in this village.
The Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation (KSHDC) has taken up a project to encourage sculpting. It is already working on a project in this regard.
The Union Government too has declared Shivarapatna as one of the cluster villages producing near similar products and facing common opportunities and threats. It has also defined an artisan cluster as geographically concentrated household units producing handicraft/handloom products.
It has classified the Shivarapatna  cluster as able to form 100 plus artisans and  twelve self help groups (SHG) supporting the strong work force. It has aid that the mobilisation is gaining momentum day by day.

No comments:

Post a Comment