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Streevelliputtur [Srivilliputtur]. The large Juggernaut car

Streevelliputtur [Srivilliputtur]. The large Juggernaut car

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/3(3)

Item number: 21233

Genre: Photograph

Print from an album of 41 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. In this view of the richly-carved wooden temple car at Srivilliputtur, the European figure posing by one of the wheels may be Lyon himself. 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, gives the following description ‘Immediately opposite to the Tower is the Wooden Car, one of the largest and handsomest to be found in the South. It was built only about 25 years ago, by a rich native who obtained permission from the priests to break up and remodel all the wretched small cars which at different epochs had been made and given to the temple,....is 40 feet high, with a staircase inside by which access is obtained to the top, and here the god is placed at the yearly festival…The car on these occasions is beautifully decorated with flags and wreaths of flowers, the god literally covered with jewels…the so-called musicians from the temple playing their different instruments; the dancing-girls, gorgeously dressed in the brightest colours, capering around, or throwing themselves into the most fantastic attitudes ; thousands of men, women, and children…grouped together, yelling, gesticulating, and vociferating, - make a scene rarely to be equalled, - never to be forgotten; and when at last the enormous ropes, as thick as a man's leg, are attached to the car, and are seized by the countless thousands, the ponderous mass begins to move, the yelling is redoubled, and the dancing and the music increase in a tenfold degree’.

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