Marring the beauty of the temple, tiger reserve

Marring the beauty of the temple, tiger reserve

Puffed up white balls of cotton, a hint of azure sky in the background lavishly painted with strokes of green foliage disappearing into ripples as a wave of breeze runs across the river.

 The topography pictured around Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, reflecting the sky above, is breathtakingly beautiful.

But when NP Jayan documented the Periyar Tiger Reserve over the last three years, the aim of this photojournalist was not only to capture the pristine surrounding of the reserve, it was to question the apathy of both pilgrims at the Sabarimala pilgrimage and authorities in keeping the nascent beauty of this place intact.

 Jayan showcases a glimpse of the scenario in his photo exhibition ‘Thathwamasi’ at India International Centre, Annexe. 

As you walk inside the exhibition hall, its the chirping so­u­nd of birds that almost places you into the natural environs of Periyar Tiger Res­­erve. It is a wildlife sanctuary, not only home to tigers but many other endangered spe­cies of flora and fauna. Within its premises lies Saba­rimala pilgrimage centre whe­re hor­des of devotees come to pay their obeisance.

 Jayan notes, “During the 40 days of pilgr­i­mage, around 20 lakh devot­ees throng the pilgrimage centre every single day. Ten years back there was a lan­­ds­lide in the area, killing many. There are no proper amenities to distil the water of the river that is continuously contaminated due to human activity.” 

The transient nature of a colourful dragonfly that changes colour from blue to purple to the vibrant orange hues of fruits that are specific to the reserve, are beautifully showcased in the exhibition. From a flattering viewpoint, the photojournalist shifts to another landscape where the area is marred with washed clothes around the river and plastic bags around the centre.

 The introductory note emphasises upon the fact that the two-month Mandalam season of Sabarimala pilgrimage ending in January, leaves behind a trail of non-degradable dum­ped waste. Thus the pollution has taken its toll on the wild­life – instance of elephants fo­u­nd dead with large amount of plastic inside their stoma­c­hs are becoming frequent.

Th­r­ough his body of work, the shutterbug wants “to create awareness amongst the new generation, especially childr­en. So that they could save the biodiversity of the Periyar Tiger Reserve.”The exhibition is on till June 26 at IIC Annexe.