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Amidst the Dying Art of Wood Carving, Meet the Wood Carver who keeps it alive in India

P. Sengottuvel owns a degree in chemistry but is still practicing this art because he doesn’t want to see this art dying

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Wooden carvings. Image source: www.iisd.ca
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  • Woodcarving is influenced by a number of local Indian religions 
  • Woodcarvings are usually found in a few homes in Kerala and temples 
  • P. Sengottuvel from Tamil Nadu has been practicing woodcarving since 30 years 

A lost art

India is a land of diverse culture and traditions. It is known for its rich heritage which comprises of art, literature, scriptures, sculptures and monuments. Woodcarving is one such art is being practiced since years.  Woodcarving is influenced by a number of local Indian religions. It is surprising that every religion of India has its own style of wood art! The wood from available trees is used as raw material to design wood carved sculptures, furniture and statues.

Woodcarving is practiced in India since time immemorial. Many wood carved temples still exist in India. Some of these temples are located in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. The art is reviving with the sandalwood art of Karnataka and teak wood in Kerala. However, this art is dying in modern India. Modern furniture is made from different materials which hardly leave any scope for Indian artisans involved in woodcarving to continue their work.

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The Revival 

But there is one such artisan who has still kept his art alive. P. Sengottuvel has inherited this art from his forefathers. Though he owns a degree in chemistry, he is still practicing this art because he doesn’t want to see this art dying. He lives in a village called Thammampatti, 60km from the city of Salem, Tamil Nadu, said the star2.com report.

P. Sengottuvel has been carving wood since 30 years Image: www.star2.com
P. Sengottuvel has been carving wood since 30 years
Image: www.star2.com

According to Star2.com, initially, he learnt to make wooden jewelry and then moved on to bigger things. His grandfather also makes chariots for temples and was awarded the Living Treasure Award by the government of Tamil Nadu. He also exhibited his work at the Artistic Treasures Exhibition at the Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore. Most of his carvings comprise of Lord Ganesha. His works are very detailed which takes a lot of hard work.

He also takes up orders and the stock is easily sold. He works full day only taking breaks for meals. He wishes his children to follow his legacy just as his father taught him this art when he was a little boy.

Tracings of the Art

The Hidimba Devi Temple also known as the Hadimba Temple in Manali, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Hidimba Devi Temple also known as the Hadimba Temple in Manali, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The traces of ancient wooden carvings are found in temples of Himachal Pradesh. One such temple is Sankat Mochan Temple in Shimla. This wooden temple also has an Ayurvedic clinic. The Hidimba Devi Temple in Manali is popular for its 24m tall wooden tower and is built around a cave in a thick forest.

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Mathi Temple at Chitkul, India Image: www.tourmyindia.com
Mathi Temple at Chitkul, India
Image: www.tourmyindia.com

The Mathi Temple in Chitkul is 500 years old and is made of wood. Maa Shavari Temple is a prominent temple in Manali. Maa Shavari is known to be a manifestation of Goddess Durga.

Traditional Kerala House! Kerala, South India. Image: Pinterest
Traditional Kerala House, Kerala in South India. Image source: Pinterest

Woodcarvings in homes can also be found in some homes in Kerala. In Uttar Pradesh, most of the wood carvings are influenced from the Mughals. Kerala and Karnataka also posses many beautiful wooden deities.

 

-prepared by Shubhi Mangla, an intern at Newsgram. Twitter @shubhi_mangla

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Good to know that people are taking steps to conserve the art forms which are slowly dying

  • Aparna Gupta

    Wood carving is special to India. This practice is a part of our culture and hence everyone should promote it.

  • devika todi

    wood carving is a part of our culture and i hope it will once again flourish, like it did in old times. it is a special art form and deserves appreciation and recognition.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Good to know that people are taking steps to conserve the art forms which are slowly dying

  • Aparna Gupta

    Wood carving is special to India. This practice is a part of our culture and hence everyone should promote it.

  • devika todi

    wood carving is a part of our culture and i hope it will once again flourish, like it did in old times. it is a special art form and deserves appreciation and recognition.

Next Story

Microsoft Surface Pro Now Available In India

There is a full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities that allows for ultimate precision and the keyboard is wrapped in soft Alcantara material

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Global chip-maker Qualcomm Technologies and Microsoft have collaborated with leading retailers from across the world to offer new "always connected" Windows 10 PCs powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform. Wikimedia Commons
  • Microsoft released its Surface Pro in India
  • It is a high-resolution tablet with 12.3-inch touch-display
  • Customers can buy the Surface Pro from a number of retailers in India

Microsoft on Thursday announced its Surface Pro notebook and accessories are available in India. Surface Pro features a high-resolution 12.3-inch “PixelSense” touch display that supports the new Surface Pen 4.

The first generation, 2-in-1 detachable of the Microsoft Surface series — with a configuration of Intel Core m3, 128 GB SSD, 4GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 615 — will cost Rs 64,999.

Microsoft introduces its Surface Pro Indian markets. Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft introduces its Surface Pro Indian markets. Wikimedia Commons

Customers can buy the device through more than 130 commercial resellers, the company said in a statement.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of Surface Pro in India and offer our consumers another superior device that will enable them create, study, work and play virtually anywhere,” said Vineet Durani, Director, Windows and Devices, Microsoft India.

Also Read: Microsoft Announces Indian Languages Support For e-mail Addresses

With a new hinge that adjusts to 165 degrees, users can now put the device into “Studio Mode”, thus, creating the optimal position to write or sketch.

It also has a tilt functionality that detects the angle of the Surface Pen to enable more natural shading.

At 8.5-mm thickness and weighing 767 grams, the notebook packs the in 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a fanless design.

Surface Pro has a battery life of 13.5 hours. Wikimedia Commons
Surface Pro has a battery life of 13.5 hours. Wikimedia Commons

 

Its battery supports up to 13.5 hours of life.

There is a full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities that allows for ultimate precision and the keyboard is wrapped in soft Alcantara material. IANS