Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Exquisite Chithira Thaer

One of the most fascinating and exquisite works in Tamil Literature, that I had been searching for long and found in my recent trip to Kumbakonam is the Chithira Thaer, meaning Artistic Car/Chariot. The literary eloquence really is awe-inspiring and is in a different dimension, that I have not seen/heard such a work in any other language. I found the Chithira Thaer at two places in Kumbakonam, one at the Saarangapani Temple (in praise of Lord Rama) and the other at the Kumbeshwarar Temple (in praise of Lord Shiva). The Chithira Thaer at Saarangapani Temple is a work by Thirumangai Azhwar, and this form of poetry is called the Thiru Ezhu Kootru Arikkai. The Chithira Thaer at Kumbeshwarar Temple is by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar.


The Chithira Thaer consists of many boxes in the form of a Chariot and each box containing a short verse. The speciality is that you can read the contents from the boxes from any line but in order, will give you a meaningful verse. For e.g. take the content from box 1 in line 1 and then box 2 in line 3 and then box 3 in line 2 and so on - will give you a complete meaning. So the order of reading should be of the form.

1,2,...n,...,2,1

Only the numbers need to be in that order, the content can be from any row. It is such a literary beauty that has to be treasured and to be felt proud of.

Take a look at the wonderful masterpiece.


Chithira Thaer at The Saarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam

A high resolution picture is available here

More to come, until then...

10 comments:

Ravi said...

Wow Prabhu, I think the wait was worth it. Thanks! I never knew this fact about Chithira thaer. Prabhu, really, you should compile all your posts together. I would be ready to buy it. But andha verses-oda artham pottaa innum nalla irukkum.

Thiya said...

Thats really cool!!! I never knew such art-work existed!! :-) Nice post!

R.Prabhu said...

@Ravi
Thanks for the compliments! Sure, will try to post the meanings, but I am wondering at the permutations that are possible :-). Thanks once again for the continued support!

@Thiyagaraj
Thanks and nice to hear that you enjoyed the post!

Srihari Yamanoor said...

If I had visited the temple without you, I would have had no clue what it was. Your depth of knowledge is quite good.

I am also wondering if there is a certain set of patterns that needed to be used to tell the story, or is this more random?

Comment on this the next time you blog.

Keep up the great work!

R.Prabhu said...

@Srihari
Thanks man! Well, thus far, I just write what I recollect or think posting such information to the blog would be nice. There isn't any specific pattern to it. I collect relevant pieces of information, which might take some time before I compose the article to be posted.

Thanks once again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,

Idu enga oorla Meenakshi amma kovila kooda irukku...But ive never known this fact. I should tell you a thousand thanks for posting this. My god... Hats-off prabhu!

Will try to decode the sentences from that chithira thear. will also try to take a pic and send you when i go next time to madurai. Just cant wait untill then. Am growing desperate...

Thank you once again,
Hemapriya

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Hemapriya! I have never heard that the Chithira Thaer is also at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Thanks for the info. I haven't visited the Madurai Temple yet. Have plans to visit the temple soon!
Thanks once again!

Anonymous said...

Nice work. Keep it up. Inform me if you have compiled your works in book or CD form.

R.Prabhu said...

@Sankar
Thanks! Sure will do! Encouragement from people like you keep me going on to post more info!

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