I looked keenly in each of niches of the sub shrines and finally could spot this beautiful visage of an unknown person in one of its dark corners. I had to bend my head at an awkward angle to have a glimpse of it. What I saw in the dim light left me spellbound. In spite of the vagaries of time and years of neglect, her face looked so ethereal! There was a haunting wistfulness in her face. Who was this doe eyed damsel? Did she emerge from the creative imagination of an artist who remains unidentified? Or was she real? There is something Elysian in the beautiful brush strokes of the artist, the play of light across the face and the choice of colors. In spite of its fading layers and evanescent tints which seem to have deliquesced with time, there is a transcendental quality to the painting that lingers on.
When I looked at her closely I felt that there was a striking resemblance to the paintings of Ajanta. It left me wondering whether the artists who painted them at Ajanta migrated over a period of time southwards! It is a fact of history too that the Pallava dynasty gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahanas whom they served as feudatories.
The paintings at Kailasanathar temple along with the remnants at Talagishwara temple at Panamalai are the only two surviving examples of the Pallava mural paintings.
Lurking in the shadows
Her mysterious allure
The veils of history . . .
Murals are my muse and I have posted earlier about several of them which I was privileged to see. This link which is about the murals of Hampi also has links to earlier posts about murals in Switzerland, Rajasthan and Kerala:
In February this year, after lots of efforts and assistance from various sources, I was able to have a glimpse of several ancient murals which are away from the public eye in some of the most ancient temples in Tamil Nadu.
Will write about them soon….watch this space!