anchored in #saundaryabodha, a course in #Aesthetics

saundaryabodha, temples, aesthetics

Introduction to Hindu Iconography 2.0

After the tremendous success of the first edition of Hindu Iconography by Śrī Ramakrishna Kongalla in 2023, we are delighted to bring to you the 2nd edition of Introduction to Hindu Iconography. This course will expound on the iconography on temple walls in detail and enable participants to glimpse into the cosmic symbolism of sanātana dharma.

Jan 21 - Feb 4

course information

शिल्पं हि परमपूज्यं सर्वदर्शनलक्षणम्' ।
सर्वप्रमाणरूपाय साकारतत्त्वमेव च ॥ 

- Śilparatnakōśa ॥ ३ ॥

As per Śilparatnakośa, Śilpa is the most venerated of all the darśanas as visual testimony; and the Devālayams are home to such sacred Śilpa (including art, mūrtis, intricate designs and secular themes). Numerous inscriptions across the country attest that temples not only served as the abodes of divinity, but also patronised different facets of Bhāratīya culture. For over two millennia, various rulers and dynasties erected temples to upkeep Dharma, with many texts enlisting the benefits of temples as harbingers of peace, fame, wealth, grain, progeny and mokṣa.

With the drastic reduction in temple construction activities in the last 200 years, the science and meaning behind their construction and art vanished from the public discourse. Today, a temple remains just a place of worship for Hindus, most of whom are inattentive to the symbology and meaning of the Śilpa on temple walls. Every design and mūrti in a Hindu temple is carved for a purpose, with a codified message to be delivered to the next generations. The temple that helped a Hindu climb the spiritual ladder through Śilpa today remains an objective structure due to a lack of interpretation.

This course will discuss the Śilpakalā on the temple walls, study the techniques of identifying  them despite their ransack and plunder during Islamic invasions, and interpret the hidden message that these sculptures of the past offer.