Stone Gallery At Madras Museum

Namma Mylapore’s Geetha Iyengar organized a tour of the stone gallery at Madras Museum in Egmore, as part of the Madras Day 2014 celebrations. Chithra Madhavan was our tour guide and boy was she knowledgeable! She made the entire session a total pleasure. She had answers to most questions and unlike folks I’ve encountered in the past, she had no issues with not knowing (esoteric?) bits of information and didn’t make up stuff AFAIK. As Chithra described it, the tour was just a taste of the vast number of exhibits in the stone gallery of the Madras Museum. So, this blog post would be a teaser trailer of the tasty morsels served up. In the various sections we visited, I only took a couple of pictures. So, these serve as a teaser to folks reading this post which should encourage them to visit the museum at leisure, multiple times to take in everything. I’d recommend going with a guide like Chithra. You can contact Namma Myalpore via email and they ought to be able to get you setup. So here goes.

Sanchi Stupa Miniature

Sanchi Stupa Model
Sanchi Stupa Model

This miniature is a replica of the Great Stupa at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. Sanchi’s about 50 km from Bhopal. A stupa is a place where relics of the Buddha or his disciples are stored and worshiped. The Great Stupa at Sanchi was commissioned by Ashoka The Great in the 3rd century BC. As usual, more details about the actual Sanchi Stupa at Wikipedia.

Sculptures from various periods

You can find lots more information in the Hindu Sculptures and Jain Sculptures sections of the official website.

 Surya

Surya; Uttani, Kumbakonam Taluka, Thanjavur Dist., Tamil Nadu
Surya;
Uttani, Kumbakonam Taluka, Thanjavur Dist., Tamil Nadu

Snake Stones

When a married couple fail to beget children, the killing of a cobra in this or the previous existence is regarded as the probable cause. To expiate the sin, a naga stone has to be set up beneath a pipal tree, preferably at Rameshwaram. These are stones on which one or more nagas are carved, sometimes entirely in snake form, sometimes half-snake / half-human. Sometimes two snakes are shown coiled together and sometimes Shiva’s phallic emblem, the Linga, or Balakrishna the baby God, who blesses barren women with children, may be introduced. In many parts of South India, the cobra is considered symbolic of Subrahmanya.

Copper Plate Grants

More information is available in the copper plates section of the official museum website.

Amaravathi and Other Buddhist Sculptures

Lots more pictures and info in the Buddhist sculptures section of the official museum website.

Finally, our hosts

Chithra Madhavan and Geetha Iyengar
Chithra Madhavan and Geetha Iyengar

2 thoughts on “Stone Gallery At Madras Museum”

  1. I require to get in touch with you regarding one of your photographs, which I need for a publication. Can you please share an email address where I can write to you?

    1. I’ll send you an email. Please check your spam folders in case you don’t see an email from me by end of the day on Mon, May 01.

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