I just cleaned some virtual dust off my hard disk which housed frames from one memorable trip to Kutch, Gujarat in 2011. With that came some beautiful memories that has me writing a blog post.

Bhuj was our base for many small trips that we undertook around the region. 

Than Monastery is about 60 kms from Bhuj. A beautiful temple complex tucked away in the quiet countryside of Kutch district.




Than Monastery is situated at the foot of Dinodhar Hill and is dedicated to Dhoramnath.  
He is said to have performed rigorous penance here for 12 long years.
The temple is made with limestone, mud and plastered with cement and one can see bright vermillion colour smeared on various walls.


The care taker of the temple showed us his earring that was part of the order of the temple.

Our driver Akhil Bhai and the patterned shadows...

My colourful socks and some light and shadow...

Bright Vermilion Trident...
The limestone wall arches and contrasting vermilion figures.
While walking into the various chambers of the complex, we came across some stunning ceramic floral tiles.
...and marble inlay work on the floors.


It was interesting to see a sudden profusion of colours in the interior of the temple as compared to the plain limestone and vermillion on the outside.

The inner walls were adorned with Kamangari Paintings~ A dying art in Gujarat.

"The speciality of Kamangari art was that the paintings were done on on a wet plastered background so that they lasted longer. The artistes used brushes made from the bark of palm trees, using colors extracted from leaves, pebbles and clay mixed with gypsum."
~ extract from Frank Grey's article


Intricate 'jaali' work in the walls.



Such beautiful Kamangari Paintings depicting various mythological scenes.

We walked into a room that had magical light streaming through coloured glass and painted with Kamangari work.
I understand in the olden days the rich-class of people used to patronise the Kamangari artists who would paint the walls of worship and homes.

The serene and quiet temple complex with occasional calls from the parrots...

Vermillion smeared stones and symbols in the complex.

Every part of Kutch that we travelled to, has so much of history in terms of art, craft and architecture. I really hope the dying art finds patrons to revive it and caretakers to uphold such amazing cultural heritage of India.

(Images by Arch)
 
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