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Secundermalie [Skandamalai], near Madura. The Sacred Tank

Secundermalie [Skandamalai], near Madura. The Sacred Tank

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/2(40)

Item number: 212240

Genre: Photograph

Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Tirupparankundram, a hill a few kms from Madurai, is the site of a temple dedicated to the youthful god of war, Subrahmanya, also known as Muruga, Skanda or Kartikkeya. Subrahmanya, the son of Shiva and Parvati, has many devotees in Tamil Nadu. Tirupparankundram, where the original rock-cut shrine dates from the Pandya period (c.8th century), is the first of six specially venerated abodes of this deity in the state. Called Aarupadai Veedu, they are meant to represent battlecamps of the god when he battled with various forces of evil. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, explains that this photograph 'represents a Sacred Tank about a quarter-of-a-mile from the rock. It is used at the January festival for the god to take his annual excursion on. It is built of hewn stone, and the small temple in the centre is one of the best specimens to be found in Southern India. It is of the same age, however, as the buildings just described - if anything, perhaps, slightly more modern.'

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