Thursday, March 30, 2017

Restoring vahanams, ther accessories

Kodambakkam-based Damodharam and his team have been for years designing and making chariots for temples here and abroad.
Now, his team led by his daughter is racing against time and braving the rising heat to complete work on restoring and repainting a few vahams and much of the accessories of the giant ther ( chariot) at Sri Kapali Temple.
This is not an easy job. And on the face of it, is done in a  hurry.  We saw her team give the finishing touches to giant dwara-palakas and chip away at the fading slivers of paint on horses that are fixed on to the ther.
This team says that the ther and most accessories here are over 200 years ago; a close look at the patterns on the raw portion of the wood will help us deduce that.
"But all the minute features are gone aren't they?", we ask, referring to the grand architecture of minute figures framing the base of the ther.
"That's because the painted layers have grown…and if we chip away these now nothing much of the figures will be left," says a senior of the team.
Later, the temple's executive officer tells us that in the past two years all 40-plus vahanams have been restored.

It is a tough job; though you wish the artisans got more time and better space to do a slow, creative job of all this.

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