Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Title: 360degrees ecology of ancient Annamalai Hill
Photographer: Jiby Charles
Medium: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Title: Folklore practitioners and indigenous herbs
Photographer: Pee Vee
Medium and format: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

D'note from the PROJECT 365

Title: Deepam
Photographer: Biju Ibrahim
Medium: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365 is a public photo-art project that collectively creates and preserves photographic visual of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town. All images published in this page is a copyrighted property of the author and is part of EtP Project 365 public photo archive. Prior permission is required for commercial and other public use.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Deepam, the festival of light

Karthikai Deepam, festival of lights is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by Tamil people. Deepam is observed in every home and every temple, and falls in the month of Kārttikai (mid-November to mid-December) as per Tamil Calender. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades) and pournami (full moon). This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Many legends and lyrical poetry have grown round this star. The six stars are considered in Indian mythology as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies in the saravana tank which later were joined together to form the six faced Muruga. He is therefore called Karthikeya, the one brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. Houses and streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the month of Karthigai, as per South Indian calendar. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils, including now the areas of modern Kerala too. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs. Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around. The fire (deepam) is called Mahadeepam.

This ancient Dravidian practice has been documented extensively in verse and visuals. The gods and goddesses, the rituals and chariots, the crowd and girivalam, every aspect of this festival has already been documented. Team 365 has another important vision, to preserve the visuals of the changing culture and lifestyle. Many may have noticed the ever changing scenario every deepam, the absence of the Mattu chanda (cow market), the advent of machine made drinks / coffees, ever growing new buildings and shops…. the visually exciting days and nights of Tiruvannamalai Deepam festival has a different dimension to be portrayed. Photography in essence is a play between light and shade (absence of light). This deep connection, the changing people, scenario and the colors of Deepam is what team 365 decided to capture. The team would be per-dominantly using iphone photography with instagram applications. Few photographs from the instagram Deepam series:

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives

roject 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

logo all

Inner and outer path, a 360degrees perambulation of the Hill

By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation.” – Arunachala Mahatmyam

Arunachala refers to the holy hill at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. The hill is also known by the names Arunagiri, Annamalai Hill, Arunachalam, Arunai, Sonagiri and Sonachalam. Tiruvannamalai is revered as ‘Agni Sthala’ (Fire), one of the five elements described in shaivite philosophy. The Annamalaiyar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located at the base of the hill. Every year in the Tamil month of Karthigai (October–November), the Karthigai Deepam (Light) is lit atop the hill. The circumambulation of Arunachala Hill is known as Giri Pradakshina in Sanskrit and Giri Valam in Tamil. Every full moon, several thousand pilgrims perambulate around the Hill.  The pilgrims usually walk bare feet, chanting hymns and mantras dedicated to the holy Hill.

Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Inner path / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives

The 14km perambulation has two different paths. One is the commonly known ‘outer path’ and not so common ‘inner path’. The inner path is belongs to the Protected Area of the State Forest Department. The Life in outer path is versatile and alive with many pilgrims walking and chanting. The well made road and pavements are often crowded with different shops that serve the circumnavigating pilgrims. This path is vibrant with life and activities. The life in inner path is totally different. In reality, the inner path is an abode to the Sadhus of Tiruvannamalai. The perennial ponds, the lone trails, the animals, unique plants and serene silence adorn the protected inner path.

Project 365 photographer Maveeran Somasundaram
Project 365 photographer Maveeran Somasundaram

Maveeran Somasundram, Project 365 photographer will be documenting the life in inner and outer path. Maveeran is born in a village called Thiruthuraipoondi, Thiruvarur Ditrict, Tamil Nadu. He started exploring photography when he was very young. He has completed his MBA. He is currently based in Chennai.

Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Outer path / Image (C) Maveeran Somasundaram / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives

2

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Disclaimer:

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Life of children

“Why I love to photograph children is because they are so different from adults. Like another species altogether… no complications, no pretenses. What you see is what you get. Till the ways of the world transform them slowly and steadily into people you can’t really decipher”. – Project 365 photographer Ami Gupta

Ami Gupta, a photographer based in Chennai will be capturing the life of children in Tiruvannamalai. Ami will follow Children from diversified economic, religious and cultural backgrounds and photo-document their life and lifestyle.  She will be using the digital medium and will also experiment with the analogue cameras and techniques during the course of the year. This below interview presents Ami Gupta’s ongoing project in Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365, the public photo art project initiated by EtP to document the fast changing South Indian culture and contemporary lifestyle.

How and when did your journey as a photographer begin?

Neither through my growing up years, nor through my advertising career as a copywriter, did I ever imagine that I would become a photographer. Someone stole the one and only camera I owned four years ago, and that, was actually the turning point in my life. I decided to buy a new camera, a DSLR and in no time it became my new raison d’être. Everything I saw through the lens seemed magical. Be it a shard of grass, a pattern of light rays, or ice cubes floating lazily in a glass of scotch, everything around became a subject of interest. That’s what photography did to me, made me see the world all over again …never the same.

Project 365 photographer Ami Gupta

Project 365 photographer Ami Gupta

Early experimenting was a self-learning process. I went on to learn the basics of photography with Mr. Raja Ponsing in Chennai and then began to consider photography as a career option. At first, it was all about ‘making’ pretty pictures, of interesting objects, glorious skies or good-looking places and people. No matter what the subject, my images have always been about what I connect with, in a relationship that is like a quiet underlying bond, using expressions that need no words.

Along with my various random explorations, I started to photograph professionally, mostly interiors and products and children’s portfolios.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to photojournalism and documentary photography. This was a very different genre of work, where beauty in pictures meant something else. What mattered was whether a photo had ‘soul’ or not… From street photography to a more focused approach to storytelling via pictures, I realized that I enjoyed this mode of photography even more. My first works in this realm, ‘Silent screams’ and ‘BuriNazar’ were a part of a group exhibition on Besant Nagar Beach during Art Chennai 2014.

What made you join Project 365? Tiruvannamalai, the temple town is not a particularly spectacular destination for a photographer. What has been your experience so far?

I haven’t traveled much in India as a photographer. As I had mentioned, it’s actually just been 3 years since I took up photography seriously. As a kid yes, I had traveled much. My parents along with their friends would take us to visit one new state in India or hill station every year. As I grew older, there was always work that kept me so busy, and then children… and travel now was all about going to different countries. Thailand, Italy, Turkey, Spain… where should we go next? So many places, so little time. And the ‘so many places’ in India somehow, were never on top of the list.

So when I first heard about Tiruvannamalai, to me it was just a vague town somewhere in Tamil Nadu. With a famous temple.Big Deal. Lots of people come to pray. Ok, so? There’s the Arunachala Hill. I’ve seen bigger, better.

But then Project 365 happened.I decided to take it up just to do something different and experience something new. An unusual project in a place I had never been to. So here I am…

This is the first time I am on a trip to focus on nothing else but ‘making pictures’. And after visiting this temple town just twice, I could tell that something in me has changed. Like I had been drawn to this place for reasons beyond my understanding, as though some mystic force had decided my fate. Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic about it. But yes, I can feel some sort of a ‘peaceful energy’ if I may call it that, with every walk I take, every morning I wake up here, or each time I meet someone new. I don’t even know if I can explain it. I’m looking at life from another perspective now, however far removed from my actual lifestyle it may be.

What is your project plan? How do plan to portray the diversified culture of Tiruvannamalai?

I am right now in the process of spending time with children from different walks of life and different cultural backgrounds. I intend to document their every-day life, religious connections, the festivals they celebrate, where they study, what they play and much more.

As part of Project 365, I will be photo-documenting the life of Virupaksham in Veda patasala, Sri Ramana Ashram.

Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
‘Virupaksham’ / Life of children / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
‘virupaksham’ / Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
‘Virupaksham’ / Life of children / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

I will also be documenting few adhoc visuals and anecdotes of children that I come across during my photo shoot… there are many interesting stories and events that I find fascinating.

Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
‘Vetriselvam’ / Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Vetriselvam was perched on his father’s bike as I walked by. This was during my walk to the town, a day after Project 365 Samarambam, that was held at Kalai Illam on 15th August 2014. Vetriselvam’s brothers and sisters were curious about my camera and me. They started to pose and I insisted that I want them to just play and continue doing what they do everyday. An ice-cream vendor passed by just then and Vetriselvam’s sister Gayathri looked up at her father with eyes full of longing. He shook his head, while I insisted that I treat them. For a child, happiness is as simple as that. A mango ice stick that has the power to make his or their day. Vetriselvam was in his element. Grinning away non-stop, while Gayathri recited poems and sang songs she’d learnt at school. I was welcome to stay and hang out with them, they offered me the peanuts that grew on their farm and just like that we connected. I will go back and give them these photos. Small moments of pleasure frozen forever. The image shows Vetriselvam after a satisfying ice cream.

Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
‘Archana and Yuvraj’ / Life of children in Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

The above image is of Archana and YuvrajI vividly remember my visit to their home. The farms on either side of the road were glowing, with that healthy sunny green and yellow freshness you see after a bout of rain, and I was loving my walk. It’s strange how you come to meet people in life, and how they leave an impression on you. Like it was meant to be. That’s how I met 11-year old Archana. She was studying, or doing some homework sitting outside the door, as she looked up at me. Of course I wanted to take her picture, so we got chatting, about her school and her little brother and her parents who are farmers, (they grow and sell marigold flowers) She was learning English at school and her handwriting was impeccable. Indoors, a small room cluttered with daily objects surrounded her as she smiled for me. Her brother Yuvraj tried hard to pretend to be writing so that I would take photos of him too. As I looked around at their threadbare belongings, and at the hardship in her parents’ eyes, I ‘felt’ a sense of hope for them. They are giving their very best to their children- an education that is priceless, and the only reason for hope that their lives will change.

Thank you Ami Gupta

(continues)

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Disclaimer: Image (C) Ami Gupta / Project 365 PUBLIC archives.

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Project 365 initiators and partners

Sufi mystics and Islam in the temple town

Hazrath Syedini Bibi, a legendary woman Sufi in the temple town

Early nineteenth century, from the Middle East, Syedini Bibi, a Sufi woman mystic came to Nagore Dargah (a dargah built over the tomb of the Sufi saint Hazrath Nagore Shahul Hamid / 1490–1579 CE). After visiting the Nagore Dargah, she traveled to Tiruvannamalai where she lived the rest of her life. During the eighties, the Nawab of the time built a Dargah in the Car Street, Tiruvannamalai in honor of Syedini Bibi. There is very little information about this Sufi fakir, however several mystical stories connected to her tomb are spread via word of mouth.

Sufi woman mystic Syedini Bibi's Dargarh at the Car Street, Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Woman mystic Sufi Syedini Bibi’s Dargah at the Car Street, Tiruvannamalai / Image (C) c2013 / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC archives

There are several other Dargah’s and Sufi saints related to this ancient town. Sufism, a concept in Islam is defined by scholars as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam; others insist that it is a perennial philosophy of existence that pre-dates religion, the expression of which thrived within the Islamic religion. Some hold that the essence of Sufism has also been expressed via other religions and meta-religious phenomena, while others believe Sufism to be something totally unique within Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a Sufi. They belong to different “orders” (turuq, meaning congregations formed around a master). The “orders” meet for spiritual sessions (majalis), in meeting places known as zawiyahs, khanqahs, or tekke.

The history of Islamic rule in Tiruvannamalai

The history of Tiruvannamalai revolves around the Annamalaiyar Temple. The recorded history of the town dates back to the ninth century, as seen from a Chola inscriptions in the temple. Tiruvannamalai has been ruled by the Pallava kings, the Chola Kings, the Hoysola kings, and the Vijayanagar Empire. It is during the 17th century, Tiruvannamalai came under the dominion of the Nawab of the Carnatic. As the Mughal empire came to an end, the Nawab lost control of the town, with confusion and chaos ensuing after 1753. Subsequently, there were periods of both Hindu and Muslim stewardship of the temple, with Muraru Raya, Krishna Raya, Mrithis Ali Khan, and Burkat Ullakhan besieging the temple in succession. As European incursions progressed, Tiruvannamalai was attacked by French Soupries, Sambrinet, and the English Captain Stephen Smith. While some were repelled, others were victorious. The French occupied the town in 1757 and it came under the control of the British in 1760. In 1790, Tiruvannamalai town was captured by Tippu Sultan, who ruled from 1750 till 1799. During the first half of the 19th century, the town came under British rule. Inspite of the active presence of Islamic rulers and dynasties, the percentage of Islamic people is confined to 1.02% of the total population (according to Censes 2011). There are number of Sufi Dargahs in this ancient town.

EtP’s ongoing Project 365, a PUBLIC PHOTO ART project, is collectively photo documenting Tiruvannamalai using traditional and modern photographic techniques. As part of Project 365, M. K. Iqbal, a photographer hailing from Kerala proposes to document the Sufi tradition, its institutions, people and its relevance in Tiruvannamalai.

M. K. Iqbal / project 365 photographer
M. K. Iqbal / project 365 photographer

M. K. Iqbal is a documentary photographer with considerable experience in videography as well. Iqbal runs Studio Moon in Vaduthala in Alappuzha District in Kerala. Iqbal dropped out of a pre-university course in commerce to join the Cameraman Institute in Ernakulam for a one-year diploma in photography and videography. He developed into a professional photographer under the guidance of photographer Suleiman in Kochi. He became a freelance soon afterwards, but left it for a brief while to pursue social activism. He joined Campaign Advertising in Bangalore and learned the art of industrial photography. Later he joined the Madhayamam Daily in Ernakulam in 1993 and worked there till 1997. In 1997, he left for New Delhi where he had a successful stint as a freelancer, working for a string of magazines, both print and online, which range from Mean Time magazine to Tehelka. Iqbal’s passion for his own land and its people led him to implement several projects, the major ones being Project Mainstream in Mumbai in 1998 and “My Land and the People” sponsored by the Varthamanam Daily.

Sufi - 'mysticism and practice' in the temple town Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi mystics and Islam in the temple town / Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi - 'mysticism and practice' in the temple town Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi mystics and Islam in the temple town / Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi - 'mysticism and practice' in the temple town Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi mystics and Islam in the temple town / Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi - 'mysticism and practice' in the temple town Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives
Sufi mystics and Islam in the temple town / Image (C) Iqbal MK / Image courtesy Project 365 PUBLIC Archives

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Disclaimer: Image (C) Iqbal MK / Project 365 PUBLIC archives.

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Thank you and Join us!!!

Project 365 initiators and partners

 

Contemporary Tamil Living Spaces

“Each space tells its own story”

Delhi-based Arnav Rastogi believes that a City’s character is determined by the people who live there. He says, “What better way to depict a person than to explore the things that are very personal to someone? One’s house is such a thing…. From the whole house, I choose to shoot a single room, their ‘living space’. I am always fascinated by the way this one room mean so differently for different people. For some it is just a single room that the family calls home, for others it is a lavish extra space; some living rooms are all about display, showcasing only a few special things, while others have within them everything that is essential to the family that lives there. Spacious or cramped, stuffed with religious artifacts, paintings or crystal knick-knacks, a living room is one of the most important spaces of any home. And each one tells its own little story.” Arnav’s project Contemporary Living Spaces” is an exploration of this human diversity.

His project on living rooms has been published in the Sunday Guardian. He connects with people from different walks of life, visits their homes and captures their lifestyle in a very stark yet subtle manner. These vivid images are a diverse portrayal of his relationship with the common man and of various families and individuals in their comfort zones. These images also speak of the environment we create around ourselves that defines who we are.

Project 365 team photographer Arnav RASTOGI
Project 365 team photographer Arnav RASTOGI

Arnav first experimented with the camera during his college days, and was so hooked that he went on to switch from IT to photography. After his diploma at the Sri Aurobindo Center for Arts and Communication he went on to capture candid and striking images of people and their emotions and also wildlife. He has exhibited at the International Photo Festival organized by Creative Hut held at Ahmedabad in 2011 and is currently a part of a photographer’s collective called Fseven Photographers[1].

Arnav aspires to travel and take his project ‘Living spaces’ across the country and PROJECT 365 – Tiruvannamalai is a wonderful way forward. Within this one month, Arnav has entered the living rooms of many neighbors and friends of EtP and has created lingering images of their personal space. Though he is using the 35mm digital format for shooting, when it comes to printing, he will be experimenting with traditional salt and albumen prints.

Sri Dhavaneri Selvan / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Sri Dhavaneri Selvan / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Sri Dhanaveri Selvan (middle), a neighbour of EtP at Perumpakkam Road, is an electrical engineer. He has two girl children. His mother (left) also lives with him. His father-in-law Sethu Raman (right) lives behind Dhanaveri’s house.

Arnav fondly says, “Tiruvannamalai is a very spiritual and peaceful place, the people I have come across depict these qualities in their attitude and behaviour. I am very much impressed by the Tamil hospitality and often times I am offered home-made delicious Tamil food, which I greatly enjoy”.

Sri Vishnu Narayan Sthabathi's house / / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Sri Vishnu Narayan Sabhahit house / / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Sri Vishnu Narayan Sabhahit from Sri Ramana Ashram with his wife at his living room.

Sri Raju / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Sri Raju / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Raju moved from Chidambaram and is permanently settled in Tiruvannamalai. He works as an auto driver. He has developed keen interest to appreciate art.

Sri Pallavan / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Sri Pallavan / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Sri. Pallavan, Arts teacher (Rtd.), Danish Mission School with his family.

Sri Preethi Srinivasan's house / / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Sri Preethi Srinivasan / Contemporary Living Spaces / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

Arnav says, “I learn and enjoy the many interactions that happen during these shoots. Two weeks back I had gone to shoot the living space of J Jayaraman, PROJECT 365 photographer and a resident of Sri Ramana Ashram. His house had two rooms, a small court-yard and a living room which is also his sleeping space. His space had a specific character… books, music instruments and several other objects were lying all over… inspite of the seeming chaos, there was a peculiar order….   looking at me JJ said, “in the outside world I have to adjust to the traffic around me, here all the traffic adjusts according to me”. I smiled and knew inwardly that I am going to capture one of my most interesting image…

(to be continued)

PROJECT 365 – A PUBLIC COLLECTIVE PHOTO ART PROJECT IS AN INITIATIVE BY EtP TO DOCUMENT THE FAST CHANGING ANCIENT CULTURE AND CONTEMPORARY LIFESTYLE OF SOUTH INDIA. THE FIRST PHASE OF THIS PROJECT IS ORGANISED IN TIRUVANNAMALAI, TAMIL NADU. FORTY PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM ALL OVER INDIA WILL BE USING PREDOMINANTLY ANALOG MEDIUM TO DOCUMENT THE MULTI-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF THIS ANCIENT TOWN. THIS PROJECT IS LED BY CONTEMPORARY INDIAN PHOTOGRAPHER ABUL KALAM AZAD. IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, EtP WILL DOCUMENT THE SANGAM ERA PORT MUZIRIS, TINDIS AND THE ENTIRE CAUVERI DELTE BELT.

Disclaimer: All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. [1] – Profile of Arnav Rastogi by Ami Gupta. Prior permission is required to reproduce and / or and / or print in any form. If you need more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com

Project 365 initiators and partners
Project 365 initiators and partners