Heaven on Earth-The Universe of Kerala's Guruvayur Temple

Jul 01, 2012 | Vol. 4, Issue 3
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Author & Photograher: Pepita Seth

Publishers: Niyogi Books, New Delhi (www.niyogibooks.com)

Size: 11.75 inches x 11.75 inches with Hardcover with Dust Jacket binding

Paper: 170 gsm matt , Page extent: 316 , 4 colour , Photographs: 215, Illustrations: 8

Price: INR 2995 / £49 / $99.99

Guruvayur temple, one of the most important temples of India is situated at Guruvayur in Thrissur district of Kerala. The main deity is Lord Sreekrishna, known locally as Guruvayurappan.

This book takes the reader into the heart of this complex universe, chronicling the temple's myth and history, describing its rituals and beliefs, its traditional style of management, its festivals and patronage of Kerala's ancient art forms, its elephants and, of course  the beliefs of all those who worships within its precincts. It is a book made possible both by the trust and willingness of people, including the temple priests, to share their knowledge, and by author-photographer Pepita Seth's commitment to the project and her determination to present the scope of the temple's world.

This unique record is the outcome of 7 years of careful research enhanced by sensitive photographs that not only portray all aspects of life within the temple, but its atmosphere of intangible divinity.

Pepita seth was born in London, but now she lives in Thrissur in Kerala.  Her career was in feature film editing, working on British and Americam documentaries and feature films.  In 1972, she first visited India, after getting inspired by her soldier great grandfather's 1857 diary. Then onwards she made regular visits to Kerala . By 1979, she had given up her job and, driven by her passion and respect for the region's culture and traditions, begun seriously photographing and writing about the rituals of Hindus in Kerala. In 1891 she got official permission to enter Kerala's temples including Guruvayur. She had lectured on Kerala's traditions in India, Britain and US. In 1994, her novel 'The Spirit Land' published. For five years she worked on the project Theyyam rituals of Malabar . Encouraged by the temple authorities she began her research on Guruvayur temple in 2001 and got published in 2009.

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