© 2005 CHARNWOOD ARTS and KALA KAHANI. All photos by © Claude Renault. Graphic Design and website by GATAFUNHO, © 2005
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Water and The Sacred
a photographic exhibition by Claude Renault
Tiruchendur: Woman With A Yellow Sari
8 Tiruchendur: Woman With A Yellow Sari

When composing an image, I have a tendency to prefer one without any perspective in it. I like the flat colours. In Tiruchendur, on the southern coast of Tamil Nadu, I met a few women who came to the temple to pray to Murugan. After the ritual bath, on the beach, in front of the majestic and beautiful temple they needed to dry up their colourful saris. I couldn't resist but to portray them the way I like.

Tiruchendur, in the far south of Tamil Nadu, is renowned among Murugan devotees everywhere as one of the greatest centres of the Lord Aru Padai Veedugal’s, literally 'Six Battle Camps'.
Indeed, it is here that Murugan and his deva-sena, or army of celestials, confront and vanquish the titan Surapadma and his demonic horde. This struggle is annually re-created at Tiruchendur on the sixth day of Skanda Sashti, the 'Six (days) of Skanda'.

The Tiruchendur Devasthanam and sacred area date from ancient days. Some stone columns and inscriptions are at least a thousand years old, though most of the present temple dates from later periods. Traditions, including all the elaborate daily pujas, are strictly maintained. Men, therefore, may enter only bare-bodied to the waist in the age-old Tamil tradition of baring one's breast to the deity. And I had to conform…

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