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Re: painted gopurams

From: Lakshmi Srinivas (
Date: Tue Aug 10 1999 - 07:43:28 PDT

--- Mani Varadarajan <> wrote:
> Dear Friends,

> One good example is the Tiruvallikkeni gopuram. 
> What in ancient  days was a beautiful white/gray 
> gopuram is now blue, green, and red, looking more >
like a gopuram of a small Amman or Murugan
> kOvil than our traditional Vaishnava ones.

I may be wrong but it appears to me that your idea of
"traditional Vaishnava" temple towers seem to be 
based on those which are badly in need of a coat of
paint aka jIrNoddhAraNam ;-)))

Dear Mani, use of primary colors appears to have been 
sanctioned by tradition. You may want to read K.
Zvelebil ("The Smile of Murugan"), Michael Wood (same
title) or even EM Forster (Passage to India). They
relate it to the heat and dust of the subcontinent!!
>I  understand that
> after the recent samprokshaNam Sri Sarnga Pani
> Swami's gopurams
> have also been painted in this fashion.

I was there two weeks ago. From my childhood, I'm used
to seeing the temple tower in a dull unwashed brown.
The coat of paint looks nice for a change. To
understand what I mean, you should take a look at the
Nageswaran Sannidhi next door or the Chakrapaniswamy
Sannidhi down by the river. 

What made some elders of my family sad was however
something else: we stayed back for the sevakalam on an
ordinary day and found that all the gentlemen who did
the Prabandham chanting (save one), did it out of a
handy text. They were not chanting anything rare, it
was just vADinEn vADi varuntinEn (Periya Tirumoli
1.1), ArAvamudE etc  among other things. 

I'm sure the explanation is to be found in people
having left for Madras or elsewhere. Retired people
out of their community spirit were participating in
the sevakalam etc etc.

Wonder what the Astikas of this group think?

Thanks and Warm Regards,


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