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Streevelliputtur [Srivilliputtur]. Another view of the large Juggernaut car

Streevelliputtur [Srivilliputtur]. Another view of the large Juggernaut car

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/3(4)

Item number: 21234

Genre: Photograph

Print from an album of 41 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Direct, side-on view of the temple car at Srivilliputtur, showing the carving in more detail. 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, 'Some of the representations of the most revered of the gods are often besmeared with oil, on which the dust of course is constantly collecting, so that much of the minute beauties of the carvings are obliterated.' The car-festival at Srivilliputtur is very famous in Tamil Nadu, and the temple car or chariot is one of the biggest in the South. The deities are placed in the car which is pulled around four streets of the town during what is known as the Thiruther Utsavam of the Thiruvadipuram Festival. In a frenzy of religious fervour, devotees sometimes threw themselves under the wheels and were crushed. The English word 'juggernaut', meaning an irresistible destroying force, derived from the car festival of the Jagganath temple in Puri because of such incidents. In Lyon's time the Srivilliputtur car sat on massive wooden wheels. Today, they have been replaced by steel-framed ones with hydraulic brakes.

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