Tourists and visitors travelling to Thanjavur alight at the New Bus Stand and usually walk down the 300-metre stretch to the Big Temple. “The walls are usually covered with film or political posters. As the Kumbabhishekam approaches, we decided to add to the aesthetic experience,” said a senior official of the civic body.
The walls have been divided into 142 panels measuring 8 feet by 6 feet. The 142 panels have been further divided into five themes. “We began discussing the project in October and work on research and ideation began immediately,” said Radha Parthasarathy, senior lecturer, Department of Painting, Government Fine Arts College, Kumbakonam.
The first part traces the history of Tamil Nadu, and includes portraits of Tamil poets such as Thiruvalluvar, Bharathiar and Tholkappiar. The second part depicts the 108 Shiva Thandavams or karnams of Bharathanatyam. “There are sculptures of the Karnams in the temple but they are difficult to access and some of them have become worn over time. Tourists and devotees can take a better look at them on these walls,” she said.
The third part is images of traditional Tamil food items such as kozhukattai and kanji.The fourth section shows traditional games such as hopscotch, marbles, etc. The civic body has taken over 10 panels to pictorially depict Swacch Bharat, rainwater harvesting and other schemes.
A total of 120 students are currently on the field and a large part of the paintings have been completed. Sponsors have been roped in to purchase advertising space under each frame. “We have fixed the cost at ₹7,500 per frame. Educational institutions, government and private banks have purchased them. The amount is being directly transferred to the students for their use,” the Corporation official said.
The public has largely welcome the initiative, “This will be a permanent feature from now onwards. The civic body will ensure that no posters are stuck on these walls,” he said.