German lens on Indian icons

Published: 02 December, 2013 13:23 IST | Ruchika Kher |

Andreas Volwahsen's fascination for the Indian subcontinent began while studying at the Technical University of Munich in the 1960s. During this time, the German architectural historian published his first two books � Living Architecture: Islamic India, and Living Architecture: India. After four decades, Vacheron Constantin and Tasveer Art Gallery are celebrating Living Architecture with a photographic exhibition in Mumbai.

The Guide invited the 72-year-old to pick five of his favourite frames, as he discusses how each has impacted him

Madurai: Wooden Ceilings of a Gopura

In the wooden ceilings of the storeys of the gopura, openings were left so that supplies and temple treasures which were stored there could be moved easily.
Pics courtesy/ Andreas Volwahsen

Bhubaneshwar: Dilapidated shrine

In this nameless dilapidated shrine in Bhubaneshwar, one can see the pyramidal shape of the vaulting. Its interiors have been exposed to daylight. Here, over 100 temples have survived dating from the eighth to thirteenth centuries AD.

Madurai: Two Gopuras

The gate-towers or gopuras through which one enters, show extravagant detail and decline of the Dravida style which prevailed previously. This image shows two gopuras in the northern part of the city seen from the South gopura. The foundation of the Madurai temple city is mentioned in the Puranas (legends from prehistoric times).

Mount Abu: Cupola of the Tejapala temple

The low cupola over the dancing pavilion consists of several over lapping marble courses set horizontally, all visible surfaces are carved filigree, and they have been incorporated into the architectonic frame with extraordinary skill. One can see that in contrast to Hindu temples, Jain temples are built of marble, and are far better preserved. Wealthy merchants from Gujarat were able to afford the costly material and set up committees to look after the sanctuaries. Even today, the Jain community of Abu looks after the regular cleaning of the gleaming white marble monuments.

Konark: Stone wheels set in the Surya temple

The geometric system of the Surya temple and its ancillary shrines have not as yet been fully established. This image depicts one of the twelve stone wheels that were incorporated in the socle of the Surya temple set between mithuna couples and apsaras — this temple was visualised as the chariot of the sun god, rolling across the firmament, small medallions in the spokes of the wheels are filled with fanciful representations of mithuna couples.

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