Semmozhi Sculpture Park

First of its kind in Tamilnadu

The Tamilnadu Tourist Development Corporation Beach Resort Complex in Mamallapuram is nesteled between the sun, the sea and the sands of the Bay of Bengal on the one side and on the other, the dense Caurina woods and the very many botanical specials that are a part of Nature’s wonder.

In this serence place is housed the Semmozhi Sculpture Park of Tamilnadu Tourism. Every sculpture is not only a work of art but also commemorates an event, a personage, or possessions, traditions, customs, from the glorious history of the Tamil people..

 

The “Murasu” drum was used in ancient times by the Tamil People to announce the King’s vicotory in a battle, or for any important proclamation and news for the people. This custom has been immortalized by the Tamil National poet Subramania Bharati in one of his famous compositions- Vetri ettu dhikkum etta kottu murasey.

   

This sculpture features a brave Tamil Women seated on a Conchshapped pedestal, and blowing a conch. The message is of courage, honour and prosperity, as feelingly expressed by the great poet Bavendar Barathidasan.

   

He was a brave Chieftain of the 18th Century who ruled from his fort in Panchalakurichi in Thoothukudi Districy. He preferred death to submitting to English rule, and was sent to the gallows at Kayatharu, where he met death, with his head held high.

   

Her great devotion for Krishna made here compose the “paamalai” known as “Tiruppavai” and her great love for Him made her deck herself with the “poomalai”, the garland she had strung for Him, before sending it to the Temple, thus acquiring the nam “Soodikkodutha Sudarkodi”.

   

The courage of the Tamil women has been brought out in this sculpture that depicts a brave woman driving away a tiger with a no better weapon than a winnow.

   

This saint of ancient times is known the world over for his great composition, the Thirukkural, expounding views on Virtue, Wealth, Conduct, Love and universal virtues that hold good for all times and all places, and is now recognized as world literature. It is appropriate that the sculpture features the Saint seated on the globe.

   

As far back as in the 13th to the 10th century A.D., during the time of the Chola kings, coins were in vogue for commercial transactions. Each king issued coins stamped under his personal seal. The sculpture features the coin issued by king Rajendra Chozhan.

   

One of the disciples of Jesus Christ who spread his word was St. Thomas who came to India in 52 A.D. He suffered martyrdom on a hill on the outskirts of Chennai, at the place now known as St. Thomas Mount. He was buried on the seashore of Mylapore in 72 A.D. at the place where the san Thome Cathedral now stands.

   

He was the first traveler from China to India, whose thirst for knowledge made him traverse all over this country., including the Tamil region. His records of his observations during his sojourn have been a source of valuable information about the history, the culture, religious practices and administration of the times.

   

There are records of the democratic process of electing officials at the village level., prevalent in ancient times. The names of the contestants were written on bits of palm leaf and dropped into a pot, in the presence of the assembly of the entire village Children of the village were asked to draw the names to select people for various posts. There are two stone etchings of this process, dating back to 10th A.D

   

Ploughing the field was one of the prime activities of the Tamil regions in ancient times. This has been described and extolled by poets and scholars of the time. “Kurunthogai”, a great literary work of the time holds up a mirror to the life of a peasant who use the plough to plough the land as well as to irrigate it. This is the scene that is figured in the sculpture here.

   

The Tamil people of yore were experts in the three field of lyric, music and drama. Of these, music was the most popular, finding expression through various instruments. From the literature of the times we can surmise about the shape and nature of the musical instruments. These were the string, the wind and the percussion instruments as has beeen shown in the sculpture here.

   

Possalar was born in Tirunindravur in Thondai Nadu. Acclaimed as one of the sixty-three Nayanmars, he too wished to build a Temple for Shiva, but was distressed that he did not have the resources for that. So with his mind focused on Shiva, he build a Temple based on all Aagama rules, as a vision in his mind. This sculpture is an attempt to present Rajasimhan’s Temple in granite and give form to the one poosalar.

   

Appar and Thirugnanasambanthar were both saivite preceptors who were contemporaries. United in friendship, the two had visited many places of pilgrimage and had themselves wrought miracles. Sekkiar has described them as the two sacred eyes of Saivism. Appar resided in Thillai rendering service in the Temple.

   

Her leanings towards spiritualism and the divine filled here husband with a sense of respect and fear, and he chose to leave her to take another wife. So she prayed to god to take away her youth and beauty and make her old, with a ghoulish look… She then proceeded to mount kailash, which she climbed on her hands and not on her feet, to prevent defiling the holy mountain.

   

The poet Illango Adigalar had supreme words of praise for her virtues, in his treatise silambu. When the Pandyan king Nedunchezhian had put her husband to death as the punishment for a thief. Kannagi came in fury to the King’s court to demand justice. She held her silver anklet before him and broke it to prove that her husband was innocent.. The sculpture is of Kannagi holding up her anklet.

   

She was one of the great woman poets of the sangam period. She had the distinction of being regarded as a poet of great wisdom and infinite love for the Tamil language. She was held in high esteem by all the three great kings of the Tamil region, as well as by the lesser kings and chieftains Her lyrics and songs, are an outstanding example of her wisdom and knowledge born of experience.

   

After Shiva had destroyed the Avunas and set fire to the Trupuras, he stood and watched the blazing fire, with Uma as a part of him. Rejoicing in his victory, he clapped his hands as he danced, and that is how this dance got the name kodukotti.The great treatise Silappathikaram describes Madhavi as having dressed herself, half as Shiva and half as Uma when she performed this dance.

   

Kamsa assumed the form of an elephant and came to kill the boy Krishna. Krishna tore asunder the tusks of the elephant, in the battle that ensued. That thematic presentation in dance form by Madhavi is represented by this sculpture.

   

When Mayan (the dark-skinned Krishna) invited Avunan to a wresting match and defeated him, he danced him and celebration. This is called Markoothu. Madhavi, in her presentation of this dance, dressed like Krishna, and as if she were engaged in a bout, moved with slow, deliberate steps, clapping here hands noisily, as she emerged the victor, This dance form presented in this sculpture.

   

Thudi Koothu the dance of victory, with the thudi, the hand-held drum beat to provide the rhythm. When Madhavi presented this dance, her movements suggested those of Murugan when he danced on the waves. It is those same movements that have been suggested in this sculpture.

   

The Avunars armed with all their weaponry, came to wage a battle against Lord Murugan but unable to face him, they dropped their weapons and stood by in abject surrender. Murugan then stood his umbrella (Kudai) before them as a mark of his authority and danced the Kudai Koothu. This is the theme of the sculpture presented.

   

The dark-coloured Vishnu, carrying pots with him, danced down the street of cho as a challenge to the Avuna king. This is called kudakoothu. Madhavi, in her performance, dressed as the Mayan Visnnu, and carried pots on her head, shoulders and hands, as presented in the sculpture.

   

Pedi Koothu was the dance of Kama the god of Love, but in female form. He hand done this to win over the enemies by bewitchin them. Madhavi too dressed herself attractively and by her expression and form, danced to bewitch the viewers. This is the theme of the sculpture on show.

   

The Avunars who could not battle with the dark-complexioned Goddess Kotravai tried to win by deceit, and assumed forms of snakes and scorpions.to cause trouble. Unable to bear this, Kottravai took wooden legs to move around and destroy them. For her dance, Madhavi dressed and equipped herself like kottravai, with the wooden legs keeping time to the rhythm of the music.

   

Godess Lakshmi, whose bewitching beauty could make the Avunars forget their occupation of warring and killing, appeared before them as the bewitching dancer, as kollipavai Madhavi dressed in the same manner, bewitching enough to kill, when she danced the Pavai Koothu.

   

Ayirani (Indrani) the wife Devendran took the form of and performed this dance in the field out side the western gate of the city of Cho of the Avunars. She dressed as a peasant to attract and please the people of Cho.

   

Admission free to visit Semmozhi Sculpture Park
Further Information contact
Tourist Officer
Government of Tamilnadu Tourist Office

Mamallapuram - 620 104, Kanchipuram Dist
Ph : 044 0 27442232

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