Posts Tagged ‘gujarat’

Mamallapuram, tamil nadu, chennai, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Shore Temple at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu (Chennai), India

This is a sketch of the Shore Temple (Mamallapuram) in Tamil Nadu (previously called Chennai), south India. Standing in front of the temple is a woman with her orange sari dancing in the  ocean breeze. I went to Tamil Nadu (Chennai) in October 2008 to spend Divali with my friend, Harish. He is originally from Chennai and was going home from DC for vacation. I left Ahmedabad, along with my housemates who were also originally from there and were heading home. I was bound with bright-eyes and bushy tail to Chennai. Harish and his family (hello Appa) were the perfect hosts for my entire stay. His dad who I affectionately also called “appa” made sure I was always well fed. He always had a snack of some sort for me. One of the many places Harish took me was Mamallapuram. It was beautiful…the beach was too! As one of the Group of Monuments at Mamallapuram, the Shore Temple has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks Harish & Appa!

Here is a bit more about the Shore Temple and Mamallapuram below:

The Shore Temple, is erected on the beach not far from the great relief of the Descent of the Ganges. The temple was planned in such a way that the door of the sanctuary opened to the east, in order to catch the first rays of the rising sun. This in itself resulted in a rather peculiar arrangement, since it necessitated the placing of the maṅḍapa and the temple court at the rear or west end of the main sanctuary. The terraced spires crowning both shrine and porch very clearly reveal a development from the form of the Dharmarāja rath. In the Shore Temple, however, the dependence on the vihāra type is less marked, owing to the new emphasis on the height and slenderness of the tower, like an attenuated version of the Dharmarāja rath. Actually, the characteristic Dravidian form of a terraced structure with the shape of the terminal stūpika echoed in lesser replicas on the successive terraces still prevails, but these recessions are so ordered as to stress the verticality of the structure as a whole. Such hallmarks of the Pallava style as the pilasters with the rampant lions persist in the decoration of the façade of this structural monument.

shore temple, Mamallapuram, chennai, india

Shore Temple - Tamil Nadu, India

From the Māmalla Period there date the remarkable rock-cut temples of Māmallapuram or ‘Seven Pagodas’ on the sea-coast below Madras. The work here was under the patronage of the king, Narasiḿha. The principal architectural monuments consisted of five temples or raths that are really free-standing sculptural replicas of contemporary structural buildings carved from the granolitic outcrops on the shore. These monuments are of the greatest importance for the later development of Dravidian architecture because they reveal the dependence of the later Hindu style on pre-existing types of Buddhist architecture. Especially revealing for this latter aspect of the style is the Dharmarāja rath. It has a square ground storey with open verandahs, which forms the base of the terraced pyramidal śikhara above. It has been rightly suggested that this typical Dravidian form is an adaptation of a Buddhist vihāra, in which successive storeys were added for the accommodation of the monks. The terminal member of the structure is a bulbous stūpika, which is repeated in smaller scale on each of the lower levels of the terraced superstructure. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this and the other raths at Māmallapuram lies in the open verandahs on the ground-storey. The pillars are of a distinctive Pallava type with the shafts of the columns supported by the bodies of seated lions.

Reference: The Art and Architecture of India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain by Benjamin Rowland


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sketch, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, vodafone

Phone on bed

6” x 9” Pen and ink on handmade paper sketchbook

In November 2008, I met a gentleman who came to India to work with us on a project. I saw his drawings for a proposal and was very impressed, you could tell he had a good hand. We became friends and when he returned to the US, we would chat and draw… We would choose an object or view that we had in front of us at that very moment, sketch it, take photos of our sketch, and send it to each other to compare. It was mutual and simultaneous sketching via phone/ emails/or Skype. I did the sketch above during one of our chats. Thanks Matt!

Stay tuned for more…

Have a productive day!

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Cross Section through step-well, vav, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Cross Section through step-well

Above is a drawing of a cross section through a step-well in Gujarat, India. I have written before about the step-wells in Gujarat (click here) and their magnificence. They amaze me and I have experimented (on paper) with their form, and principles in some of my design studies. In Gujarat (western India), rainfall is scanty and water sources are sacred. Tanks and wells were constructed on a magnificent scale and in large numbers. These step-wells look like palaces. The lower you go into the well, the cooler it gets…with wall replete with sculptures. It is estimated that there are at least 100 step-wells in Gujarat. On 26 January 2001 an earthquake rocked Gujarat and either destroyed or damaged monuments of Gujarat’s rich past.

Reference: The Guide to Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent by Takeo Kamiya

The Adalaj Vav in Ahmedabad – Treasure of Delight and Detail >>>

Have a wonderful day!

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visual recipe, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architectu, illustrator, gulab jamun

Visual Recipe - Gulab Jamun

Today’s Visual Recipe is Gulab Jamun, courtesy Gulab Jamun is a popular dessert in countries of the Indian Subcontinent. The term gulab jamun comes from Persian, gulab, “rose” referring to the rosewater-scented syrup, and Hindustani jamun (Wikipedia).

In Trinidad we have gulab jamun which is quite different from the gulab jamun in India. Today I will highlight the gulab jamun from India. Sweets are a big thing in India; they are given as gifts during religious and other celebrations such as weddings, thank you tokens, and just a snack. Everyone has sweets at home. When I say sweets, I do not mean candy, I mean sweet desserts. I grew up eating the Trini version of gulab jamun and when I got to India and saw gulab jamun that looked very different I had to have it.

My housemates LOVED sweets. We never went out without returning with sweets for the home, after having a few along the way. The soft, moist little balls which are so succulent from soaking in that tasty syrup are a hit. I enjoy eating gulab jamun warm, with ice cream. The warm and cold serves for an explosion of flavors, textures, tastes, and pure pleasure on your tongue. Some of my favorite restaurants for gulab jamun in Ahmedabad are Rajwadu, Mirch Masala, Curries, and The Chocolatery.

Note: For some gulab jamun recipes, some use flour and others use pancake mix. My housemate and I tried the pancake mix, and it was just as good.

This weekend is Holi (Phagwa), and I would like to wish all a great Holi! Shubh Holi and have fun!!!


Links to Gulab Jamun recipes:>> >> >>

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Sahar Ki Masjid, Baroda, India

Sahar Ki Masjid, Baroda, India

The sketch above is a hurried one that I did during a day trip to Baroda (also called Vadodara), in India. This is the Sahar Ki Masjid. This relatively small masjid is located on a site with very well kept front lawns, and large trees for shading. It is often frequented by monkeys and you know I love my monkeys.

“It is a simple horizontal structure, with a visual contrast of two slender vertical Turkish minarets. There are various openings to the mosque and the base of each minaret is engraved with exquisite sculptures.”

Architecture of the Indian Sub-continent by Takeo Kamiya.

The tablet outside the building describes it as follows:

Sahar Ki Masjid is one of the most imposing structures, constructed very close to the Royal enclosure. It might be the private masjid of the Sultans with five mihrabs. The main entrance is through an arched doorway flanked by two minarets. It is covered by  projecting, sloped chhajja. Two more entries on either side of the central one are flanked by jharokhas, one with stone jali. Corresponding to each arched entry is a large dome, surrounded on all is four sides by smaller domes. A rectangular abulation tank was constructed in its premises. The mosque was built in the later half of the 15th Century.

Archaeological Survey of India

Sahar Ki Masjid, Baroda, india, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture

Sahar Ki Masjid in Baroda, India

India as you continue to hear is a beautiful country. The architecture is marvelous, as I have mentioned and shown in previous sketches (Adalaj Vav, Monsoon Palace, Sarkhej Rosa, others, and the organizing principles so clear! Just fantastic!

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adalaj-stepwell column, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, india, ahmedabad

Sketch of the entablature above a column at the Adalaj Stepwell in Ahmedabad, India

The sketch above is of the entablature of a column at the Adalaj Stepwell or Vav in Ahmedabad, India. The sculptures at the step well in Ahmedabad are very intricate! Elephants, flowers, they all adorn the vav. It is a beautiful place, and a feast for the eyes and the hands. While in India, I went to this vav, several times. It was the first place I would take friends and family when they came to visit. Down in the stepwell it is cool…very cool. The water level drops during the dry months as should be expected. I don’t think it is used anymore, at least that’s what I was told. I did a section through the vav, my perception of what a section through this marvel would look like. I will post it for you another time.
Article on the Adalaj Vav >>>

Modhera sun temple

Modhera Sun Temple, India

Rani ki Vav or Ranki Vav or the Queen's Stepwell

Patan Stepwell or Rani ki Vav or the Queen's Stepwell in Gujarat

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