Apparao Galleries kicks off its destination lectures with five temples, a historian and a luxurious boutique hotel.
When Sharan Apparao launched the ongoing series of lectures on Indian heritage, culture and art at the Apparao Galleries, it was an endeavour to help artists look inward, at their roots, and get inspired. But she soon realised that the crowd it was attracting went beyond just them. “We were getting a wide variety of people interested in culture, even business people,” she explains. So, almost as a logical next step, she is now taking the lectures to the places they speak about. Thanjavur is the first stop on the destination lectures’ circuit. Planned as a four-day experiential trip, it will include temple visits, illustrated talks, and a stay at a newly-opened heritage resort. “Sometimes it’s good to do things in a nice way,” she smiles, adding, “We began with Thanjavur as historian Chitra Madhavan, an expert on temples and a great speaker, was available, and Svatma, the resort, was just opened by a friend. So why not combine it all?”
Let’s talk history
The temples of Thanjavur may be familiar to most of us, but Madhavan assures us that a revisiting will throw up new stories. “As a student of art history and architecture, I will be pointing out the nuances, the characteristic features of the temples’ architecture, how to identify the sculptures, etc,” she says. While many know that the vimanam (the super-structure above the gopuram) at the Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple is the tallest in the world, not many know that the big three—the temples at Thanjavur, Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram—are called the royals. “They were commissioned by royalty, for the use of royalty and were the grandest structures built in their reign. Moreover, the kings’ names have been intertwined with that of the deities, too. The original name of the Thanjavur temple was Raja Rajeshwaram (as it was commissioned by Raja Raja Chola I),” she shares. Each day will begin with a city tour—with visits to the museum or the Saraswati Mahal Library (a one-of-its-kind repository of ancient manuscripts)—followed by the talks, capped off with a temple visit.
The talks have been structured so that participants get a bit of everything—from culture and history to great food and a luxury experience. Next on the agenda is Khajuraho, where art historian Ashrafi Bhagat is expected to conduct the talks. “We are thinking of doing one destination lecture every six months,” Apparao concludes.
March 3-6. Rs 40,920 for single occupancy. Details: 9941012388
—Surya Praphulla Kumar