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: Director’s Anecdote
Photographer: Abul Kalam Azad
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.

Folklore medicine and Indigenous herbs

Traditional (folklore) medicine comprises knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. It is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Folk medicine consists of the healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to some in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience. In the written record, the study of herbs dates back 5,000 years to the ancient Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for plants. In Ancient Egyptian medicine, the Ebers papyrus from c. 1552 BC records a list of folk remedies and magical medical practices. The Old Testament also mentions herb use and cultivation in regards to Kashrut.
Siddha Medicine is usually considered as the oldest medical system known to mankind. Siddha is reported to have surfaced more than 10,000 years ago. “Siddhargal” or Siddhars were the premier scientists of ancient time. Siddhars were mainly concentrated in ancient Tamilakam (present period South India), and laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars are alchemists, mathematicians and philosophers. Most of these masters, apart from being knowledgeable in other fields, practice medicine as well. They are considered to have acquired the ashta siddhis (the eight supernatural powers). Agathiyar was the first Siddhar. Many herbs and minerals used in Ayurveda were described by ancient Indian herbalists such as Charaka and Sushruta during the 1st millennium BC. Project 365 photographer Pee Vee (Venkatesan Perumal) has been creating photographic visuals of the folklore doctors, and indigenous herbs and its ecological surroundings, the mineral deposits, etc., Pee Vee is a Photographer and Entrepreneur, with limitless passion to capture light. He is a Chemical Engineer with an MBA. Prior to advertising, he was an agriculturist, sold insurance and designed web banners. He is born in Tamil Nadu.

Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives

Errukku (Giant Milkweed / Asclepiadacea family) is one of the most commonly found medicinal plants in our surroundings. The plant is a medium sized shrub and is commonly found in dry regions across India. The plant is called by the name arka meaning sun in Ayurveda due its high potency and sharpness. The plant is mainly a toxic corrosive plant, however, when someone uses properly it has eminent medicinal utility. In our folklore medicine and culture, this plant is used for treating illness and plant’s flower, both the blue and white variety are used as an offering to the deity Ganesha. one of the important deities. In spite of its medicinal value and sacredness, it is not grown in home gardens as it is believed to be the shelter of yakshis (demon goddesses). The useful parts of the plant are its leaves, root, bark, flower and latex. The latex of the plant is used by ayurveda practitioners for ksarasutra preparation as a binding agent. The toxic effect of the plant causes drastic purgation and leads to bruises on skin. The medically purified plant is used to treat hemorrhoids, abdominal conditions, skin disorders, worm infestation, respiratory track, and various other ailments. The plant has a beautiful seed which is hydroscopic in nature and flies in air, a chase and catch play tool for children. The latex is collected preferably during early morning by giving a nip to the stem. The flowers are beautiful to look but do not have any particular odour. The leaves of plant are soft and smooth. The latex of the erukku is used for malingering criminal offenses.

Erukku (giant milkweed) / smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad /  Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / Project 365 public photo archives

Disclaimer:

All rights reserved. All the images published in this page is copyrighted property of the author (photographer) and is a part of PROJECT 365 PUBLIC PHOTO ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Plant research and description by Dr. Mahima Rahman. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and/or EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing for non-commercial public use and research. For more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org /

Colors of Tiruvannamalai

“There are infinite ways of seeing. But when you see the world through Dinesh Khanna’s eyes, you are overcome with an innate sense of awe, besides many other emotions. The reason perhaps is the fact that he shoots from the heart. And it’s his incredible way of juxtaposing what he sees and what he feels that creates images that stay with you forever.” – Ami Gupta, Project 365  Photographer and Editorial Team, EtP on the works of noted contemporary Indian photographer and Project 365 leading photographer

Photographer Dinesh Khanna in Tiruvannamalai / Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Dinesh Khanna in Tiruvannamalai / Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives

Dinesh Khanna had visited Tiruvannamalai during Pongal festival. Dinesh has always been fascinated by Colors. As soon as he landed in Chennai, he was captivated by colors that can been seen every where. He happily said, “Tamil Nadu and I have one thing in common – colors”. His photographic contribution to our ancient town, “Colors of Tiruvannamalai” portrays the vibrant mood of this ancient town.

Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives

Everyday life in an ancient town

Dinesh Khanna is the co-founder and managing trustee of the Nazar Foundation in Delhi, a non profit trust that promotes the art of photography through various workshops, interactions and exhibitions. Doing this is his way of sharing his passion with budding and even experienced photographers. This organization also sponsors the biennial ‘Delhi Photo Festival’ which is an incredible platform for photographers to showcase their works.

Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives
Colors of Tiruvannamalai / Photography (C) Dinesh Khanna / DSLR 35mm camera / Archival pigment prints / Project 365 public photo archives

Thank you Dinesh Khanna for being part of this cultural initiative that creates and preserves photographic visuals of the fast changing culture and lifestyle of our ancient town.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author (photographer) and is a part of PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and/or EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing for non-commercial public use and research. For more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Close Encounters – ‘Lo-Fi Photo Series’

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

These smart phone photographs are made by photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad as connecting anecdotes for project 365 that creates and preserves photographic visuals of the fast changing culture and lifestyle of a South Indian Tamil town Tiruvannamalai. He has been creating several hundred images portraying the life and culture of this ancient town and Project 365 public photo archives will be locally preserving these images for public access and research.

We belong to the generation that has been photographed intensely. However, very few of these photographs will be preserved. There is a greater chance that only one or two out of one lakh photographs will reach the print form. Since the advent of digital technology, and its fast growth, we have lost most of our images that are being safely stored away in the long forgotten floppy discs, CD drives, old mobile phones, cameras etc., Photography, which is essentially a print, has given away its traditional alchemical quality / longevity and has become mere virtual intangible screen images. The danger is, in an instant, these images can be lost forever to our future generations.

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

We also belong to the generation that is fast changing and growing exponentially. Our way of life, lifestyle, beliefs and practices are changing. The potential of this photographic medium is so high to document these paradigm shift moment. Even though several thousand photographs are being taken everyday by almost everybody, only a very few provide thoughtful and focused efforts to preserve these photographs like yesteryear epigraphical documentation or other iconographic motifs for the benefit of our future generations. EtP (Ekalokam Trust for Photography) is dedicated to collectively create and preserve photographic visuals of these sublime images. That is the intent behind Project 365 and to achieve that, EtP has been properly archiving these smart phone and other lo-fi photographs. These photographs may not be printable in larger formats… may not be commercially viable… but they serve well the intended purpose – a visual document of ordinary people and their everyday life in an ancient town.

The myopic eye of smart phone demands that the photographer has to be within a certain “intimate” distance to take a photograph. There has to be a certain connection between the one who is being photographed and the photographer himself… using a smart phone to create portraits of people means, the photographer is not a mere witness The one who is photographed often looks straight into the camera and thus the photographer.. there is an unspoken conversation that connects these two, both becoming intensely present !!!

And, this intimate presence is what a spectator relates…

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

(to be continued)

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. 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 / project365@etpindia.org / FACEBOOK – Project 365

MUKHAMUKHAM – Tripunithura and Tiruvannamalai

Thrippunithura or Tripunithura is a suburb of the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India and a part of the Kochi metropolitan area. Thrippunithura was the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin. Project 365 MUKHAMUKHAM event was organised at Kalikotta, Tripunithuraon 26th and 27th December 2014 during Ekharya Performance Festival. Photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad presented his selected works from 1975 – 2014 with the audience on the first day. Abul’s series titled, ‘landmark of my memories’ – showcased the architecture of 70s and 80s Kerala. Senti-mental series, the kaleidoscopic view of life and personal history showed an impossible fusing of photos and graphics. Abul had worked on this series for almost five years (2005 – 2010). One of the recent series ‘Beatles in Rishikesh’, a simple black and white photographs portraying the abandoned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram where Beatles had visited during the 1960s. The trajectory of Abul’s works was indeed mind blowing. Almost hundred photo enthusiasts enjoyed the works. The second Project 365 photographs were shown to the audience.

Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Director Ashok introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Festival Director Dr. Abhilash Pillai introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

On 4th and 5th January 2015, Mukhamukham Meet project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad and Photographer Thierry Cardon event was organised at Kalai Illam, Tiruvannamalai. Thierry Cardon, photographer from France has visited Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. He decided to share few of his original cyanatype prints with the Project 365 photographers and local audience. Abul showed his early work on the first day and on 5th Jan, he share his ongoing long-term work with the Thirunangai titled ‘War Marriage Widows’. Some of the locally based Thirunangai’s also enjoyed the photographs. Anbalaki, one of the Thirunangai spoke with the audience and narrated the Koovagam festival and associated epical history.

Project Manager Tulsi welcoming hte audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project Manager Tulsi welcoming the audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhlmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Chrisitian Uhlmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Christian Uhllmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Chrisitian Uhlmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist - sculptor Christian Uhlmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist – sculptor Christian Uhllmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying 'SEMA' / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying ‘SEMA’ / 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
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul's works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul’s works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

<to be continued>

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, 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. 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

Mapping times of David and Solomon

Today, EtP has announced the next phase of Project 365, creating and preserving visuals of the ancient tri-sangam ports Tindis, Muziris and Korkai. PP Sha Nawas, Author and Independent writer had been interviewing Abul Kalam Azad, Director, Project 365 the past week and has written the following article on EtP’s move to map archaeological ancient port sites of South India.

Tamilagam in Sangam times included present day Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Andhra Pradesh. The commercial and cultural link of this area with South Arabia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome since Iron age is evident from both textual and archaeological sources.

Mortimer wheeler, the British archaeologist, who did excavations in Arikkamedu in 1946, had provided evidence for this history from an archaeological perspective. Later, many other local archaeological attempts have been conducted in the region which has reinforced and rectified Wheeler’s discoveries. Many ancient natural ports along the coastal region of early Tamilakam, provided the abode to  commercial activity. The Egyptian port Bernika was the linking port of this ocean trade activities between India, Sri Lanka, South Arabia, Mesopotamia and Rome. During the reign of Augustis, Rome dominated the commercial activities in this area.

The Roman amphora sherds found abundantly in these ancient port regions give rich evidence to the golden era of South India’s commerce with the Rome via Indian ocean. Sangam literature has many mentions about the Indian ports like Muzris and Tindis from where the pepper and other spices as well as wood and other precious materials were exported to the Roman empire. Actually South Arabia was the pioneer in this commercial activity. The recent excavations by Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), at Pattanam near Kodungallur, has established the evidence for these facts that have been earlier mentioned in textual and other historical soucres. The Arabian, Mesopotamian, Bhuddhist and Jain connections as part of the trade and commerce in the areas have been established by these excavations ventures. However, often the golden era of Rome is highlighted, may be because of some Orientalist interest in the matter.

EtP’s project of making photographic images from these ancient shores of commerce and culture is a notable expedition which may turn into a phenomenal event helping both archaeology and history of South India. Abul Kalam Azad, Tulasi Swarna Lakshmi and Manini Rahman Pattanam had visited the excavation sites of Pattanam during its seventh season. I was working in the project as a volunteer where the research of locating the ancient port of Muzris was going on. Some of the images Abul captured from the site has been already published in EtP”s postings. Selecting Tindiz and Korkai in the present project by EtP, apart from Muzris, is a welcome step since it will be a harbinger to the coming essential archaeological excavation to be held at Tindis and Korkai. Through this photographic mapping, the team may be identifying our past traditions of Buddhism, Jainism, Arabian, Mesopotamian cultures as well as European link of South India from the time of antiquity.

The archival images of our ancient culture, since 1000 BCA, may be an eye opener to the nationalist projects of India and elsewhere. How different regions of the same nationality contributed to, rather than mere highlighting a particular aspect of national culture and geography. Thus, in Deccan plateau where distinct Iron culture was flourishing even before the integrating project of Arianization. The Mangad excavation in Kerala has already established that the Iron age culture of South India was older than the banks of Ganges culture… To the Ganges, the Iron tools were brought in by the Arian settlers, while in south India, since it has strong ocean trade connectivity, the Iron technology came in an early phase, which reiterates the antiquity of Tamilakam region with regard to its culture and commerce. The EtP 365 project may also be gathering images of our history of the birth and development of Imperial powers since the time of Roman empire. This photographic mapping may lead us back up to the era of David and Solomon. During their time, around 1000 BC (according to historians), the technique of making steel from Iron was discovered. Scriptures say the technique of softening iron is revealed to David, and the knowledge on Mansoon was known to Solomon. (Refer. Holy Quran)

I am very proud to co-operate with Abul Kalam Azad and his team for this project since its inception. Such a photographic mapping done with the awareness of our history and culture, would be valuable in many ways including its political and cultural aspects of our contemporaneity. The concept of EtP, ancient India in contemporary times, is counter posing our past and present in a new perspective. The blend of history and and art is not vogue in our ego driven market world of art and culture. That way also the project marks its significance in the photographic history of South Asia.

PP SHANAVAS, KANNUR, KERALA.

Call for photographers – Project 365 tri-sangam ports Tyndis, Muziris and Korkai

Project 365 tri sangam ports Tyindis, Muziris and Korkai

We are happy to announce that Project 365 is getting ready for our next phase…. the tri-sangam ports Tindis, Muziris and Korkai. Project 365 Tiruvannamalai is going on in full swing and the photographers have been bringing forth interesting visuals of our ancient culture and lifestyle. Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – face to face with project 365 photographers is also received very well and in the coming months the event will be organised at Delhi, Hyderabad, Calcutta and many other parts of the country. Tiruvannamalai is EtP’s base which is actually a very small municipality town in South India. The next project is spread across two states – Kerala and Tamil Nadu situated in three different locations. A lot of prior planning and setting up is required to make this a possibility.

KORKAI (in Tamil Nadu) is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk of Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is situated about 3 km north of the Thamirabarani river and about 6 km from the shore of Bay of Bengal. Korkai was the capital, principal center of trade and important port of the Early Pandyan Kingdom.

TINDIS (Tyndis, Thundi) (in Kerala) is an ancient seaport and harbor-town north to Muziris (Muchiri) in the Chera Kingdom, modern day India on the Malabar Coast. The exact location of the Tindis port is still unknown. Modern day Kadalundi, Ponnani and Pantalayani Kollam are often identified as Tyndis located in the Sangam age Tamil kingdom of the Cheras. Tyndis was a major center of trade, next only to Muziris, between the Cheras and the Roman Empire.

MUZIRIS was an ancient seaport and urban center in south-western India (in Kerala) that existed as far back as the 1st century BC, or even before it. Muziris has found mention in the bardic Sangam literature and a number of classical European historical sources.The port was a key to the trade between southern India and the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Roman Empire. The exact location of Muziris is still not known to historians and archaeologists. It is generally speculated to be situated around present day Kodungallur, a town situated 18 miles north of Cochin.

INTERESTED PHOTOGRAPHERS CONTACT EKALOKAM TRUST FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AT EKALOKAM@GMAIL.COM OR CALL OFFICE AT {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405.

The support of each one of you is very much essential to create and preserve visuals of our culture. Join us in this herculean task.


Thank You !!!

Deepam, sociology and ecology (part one)

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Jiby Charles, a photographer and graphic designer based in Bangalore has been creating visuals of the flora and fauna of Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. His interest also extends to the sociological dimension of Arunachala Hill… how the people of the land relate to the Hill and its ecology is an aspect he has been searching… the extent of people’s involvement in managing this ancient practice and how coordinated are the several thousand people in bringing ghee and other necessities for the festival… Even though Deepam is not Jiby’s direct concept, he has been attempting to bring out the connection between the people, the flora and fauna of this ancient town. More than being a mere witness to this grand festival, Jiby has become a part of the festival Jiby and Arnav started early in the morning, only to join the parivattam (a ceremony to respect t he ‘Nattar’ family who would be lighting the fire)… however, as the Nattar family was all set to climb up Arunahcala, Jiby and Arnav also joined them – they didnt get much time to neither have their breakfast, nor find proper shoes… they stopped a brief while, only to  buy a plastic bag to cover their cameras… the journey of four hours, climbing the steep hill barefoot.. mid-day sun didn’t fetter their passion !!! Deepam, the birth of Lord Murugan, the deity of Tamil language is celebrated by all as the festival of light… People from different caste, religion and belief play a role.. Nattars are traditional fishermen who light the lamp.. the Achary’s, the traditional wood carvers make the chariots…. the Chettiyars decorate the gods… Thousands of liters of pure ghee donated by people are carried uphill to lit the gigantic fire seen several kms around the Hill…

Jiby is hailing from a christian family… He has done his Bachelor Degree in Visual Communication from Hindusthan College of Arts & Science (Bharathiar University, Coimbatore). He currently lives in Bangalore. He is passionate about photography, design and traveling. Sharing few of his Deepam photographs.

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo 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, 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. 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

“AGNI”

Karthikai Pournima 2014 Photography

On 5th December 2014, Karthigai Mahadeepam was celebrated in Tiruvannamalai. For generations, the Nattar family (fishermen), lights the fire on top of the Hill. During Deepam festival, the people from various walks of life contribute in different ways. The different caste groups have a role to play.

Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

Parting with your first camera….

Project 365_donation 4

One of the main purposes of Project 365 is to rejuvenate the traditional analog medium…. Our concern is to ensure that the project 365 prints stay longer and of better quality. Nazneen Tonse, writer, poet and social activist approached Project 365 Director and expressed her interest to donate an analog camera…. Abul directed me to collect it from her. The Bangalore MUKHAMUKHAM event was scheduled to be in Bangalore on 15th November 2014 and we decided to meet in Bangalore. On 13th November, I visited 1 Shanthi Road, to meet Suresh Jayaraman to discuss a partnership. Nazneen had earlier mentioned that she is a friend of Suresh Jayaraman and it is from his facebook wall that she had came across our request for donation. So, I called her from 1 Shanthi Road and she agreed to come in an hours time… after a relaxed lunch and long conversation with Suresh Jayaraman and Cop Shiva, I heard a sudden announcement, “Hey Tulsi…. I am sorry, I was late”…. It was Nazneen Tonse. “Now the camera….”, she said and took the precious Yashika from her bag and held it in her hands, as one would hold their child. After few lingering moments she said, “This is my first camera… I have many fond memories associated with this..” and a after a brief silence, she looked straight into her camera and said, “I am gonna miss you. But then you will be now put to use and be well taken care of…. now, you are out of your retirement and back to work..” saying this, she looked at me and asked, “Wouldn’t you be using the camera…”. I replied with an affirmation… I didn’t have much words to offer… however, this particular conversation had left a big mark in me… I can vividly remember her kissing the camera and bidding goodbye…. As, I was carrying the camera, the tripod and the documents in the busy streets of Bangalore, I realised the priceless value of the donation we had received. I took extra care and kept them closer to me….

Yashika FX-3, donated by Nazneen Tonse
Yashika FX-3, donated by Nazneen Tonse / camera photographed by Arnav Rastogi

The very same day, Abiman Prasath donated his digital camera to EtP Project 365. Whilst I took possession of the digital camera, Abul gave the Yashika to Project 365 photographer Arnav Rastogi. Arnav has been creating photographic visuals of the Tamil living spaces in Tiruvannamalai. He will be experimenting with the analog medium. Yes, the trusted possession of Nazneen Tonse will be put to use.

Project 365, the public photo art project is going on its full swing and the first public preview is being organised on 7th December 2014. The support of many has made this a possibility… the vision, the collective consciousness, the dedication, hard work of the 365 photographers, the collaborative support of the local people and audience… this also includes many parting with their trusted possessions for a beautiful cause…

Thanks a lot and do join in this effort to create and preserve photographic visuals of an ancient town,

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi