Marvel in miniature

Eating peanuts is far more purposeful than just for ‘timepass’. A meeting with Muppedathi A T, a 47-year-old self-made artiste, is all that is required to understand this. For, he has put together peanuts to make them resemble students as they take notes from a miniature white board, there is also a peanut motor-cyclist, Bharatnatyam dancer, and even peanut-eating revellers at a murder scene.

For this resident of Bangalore, every situation is an inspiration in wait, and every object, a potential work of art. And smaller the object, more scope it has of being picked.

Used chalks are hollowed out and the artiste uses a pin to carve surface designs. This acts as a mini-lamp or a pen with a few fixtures. With his creativity and patience, chalks have also become the minarets of mini Taj Mahal, the Statue of Liberty and idols of gods.

“Once when I was about to throw a straw, an idea hit me,” he recalls. Sure enough, a few hours later, a bunch of straws were cut up and structured as a tumbler case, an ox cart and jewellery pieces. His hobby that began in 1997 has let him design Shivalingam from a single raw rice grain, an Eiffel Tower glued with 2,332 rice grains (44 hours), egg-shell carvings, an eight-feet ladder made of toothpicks et al.

With his precise attention and craftsmanship, pencil leads are carved as figurines of a boy and girl. Used staple pins become bones of a skeleton and finger rings. For this civil engineer by day, the making of circular Thirukkural bunch (1,330 rhyming Tamil couplets or aphorisms by poet Thiruvalluvar) using rectangular parchments has been most testing. “It has come together over four years. I have written 10 lines on each piece,” he adds.
While his creations are not for sale, they are given to his friends and relatives as gifts. Some have even reached eminent politicians of Tamil Nadu.

Shruthi Srinath

Hidden gem of Bijapur

Bijapur is a treasure trove of heritage structures, and a tourist’s delight. For, at each step, one invariably comes across masjids, dargahs, palaces, bazaars, ancient wells, forts and water gunjs that echo the region’s rich history.

The 12th Century was the period of arrival of Sufism to India. As time passed, some of the Sufi saints migrated to South India.

The Sufi tribe that was divided into various branches passed on, along with their religious teachings, the unique architectural heritage that Bijapur is now famous for. Monuments were divided on the basis of religion.

The major factors of Indo-Islamic architecture are arches, domes, balconies, flower patterns, carved and coloured ceiling designs and towers, among others. Dargahs are huge and have a variety of domes like mosques.

One among the famous dargahs of Bijapur is the Hazarat Sayyadsha Karimullah Khadri Dargah, which is situated to the south-west of the famous Jamia Masjid.

Hazratsha Sharif Mohammad Khadri was a saint from Gujarat who came to Bijapur during the reign of Mohammad Adilshah. When the king tried to honour him with a palace, the saint rejected the offer and returned to Gujarat, sending his cousin Shah Karimullah to Bijapur instead to continue preaching.

A Persian inscription in the dargah says that Shah Karimullah settled down in Bijapur and died in 1740. Inside the dargah, there are two tombs belonging to Karimullah’s sons. On the ceiling, one can notice many sculptures filled with the paste of red gems and pearls.
The upper floor of the dargah has a dome and drum constructed in the traditional style, along with minarets. The ancient well, with a roof, situated in front of the dargah, has been exquisitely constructed.

Despite being an ancient marvel, it is not known to many. A hidden gem indeed!

A L Nagur

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