Decorated temple-car of the Srirangam temple
Gouache painting on mica of a decorated temple-car from a temple at Srirangam by an anonymous artisit working in the Trichinopoly style, c. 1850. Inscribed on front in pencil: 'The Streerengham Coach for the month ...... every year.'
The holy island of Srirangam, near Tiruchchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, is surrounded by the Kaveri River and on it are two large temples. One is dedicated to Vishnu as Ranganatha, reclining on his serpent couch, and to the east is the Jambukeshvara Temple, dedicated to Shiva. This sacred complex dates mostly from the 17th century, Nayaka period and the innermost sanctuary stands in the centre of five concentric enclosures entered through seven pyramidal gateways or gopuras. This painting depicts a temple chariot (ratha) used during festivals when the statues of the gods are carried on procession. These chariots, generally up to five, six metres in height and weighing several tonnes, are minutely carved with figures of gods and therefore look like movable temples.