Arresting charm of snow-clad mountains

Formed of a living god, Himalaya, supreme, monarch of the mountains, rises in the north and bathing in the western and the eastern oceans, stretches out like a rod that could measure the earth’ – such was the description of Himalayas by Kalidasa in his Sanskrit poem Kumarasambhavam. 

The Himalaya: A Timeless Quest a series of exhibitions focusing on the Himalayas complement these lines with an awe-inspiring visual image of the mighty mountains.

The exhibition at the India International Centre, through photography and paintings present the geography of the huge range, focusing on the formidable mountain barrier which has not deterred traders, monks, artists, pilgrims from crossing its high passes and which over the centuries has enabled the
dissemination of ideas and cultures.

To cover every aspect related to the Himalayas, the exhibition is divided into four sections – Geographies: physical and sacred which focuses on the linking of geography and myth that created this sacred landscape.

This segment takes a pictorial pilgrimage – Shiva and Kailash Mansarovar yatra, the worship of Devi in the region, Buddhist Himalaya and the myths related to the creation of the Khasis, Nagas and Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

Photographs by Deb Mukharji covers Kailash Mansarovar range, Buddhist Himalayas like Leh and Ladakh are beautifully captured by Kishore Thukral, shaktipeeths and temples on the highest altitudes by Raji Ramanan and Yashaswani Chandra, and beautiful snow-covered landscapes by Vaibhav Kaul.

Since the Himalayas finds mention in mythological stories – Vaibhav Kaul has captured the sunset over Panchauli, the five allegorical furnaces in which the Pandavas (Mahabharata) cooked their meals before ascending to heaven.

There are paintings by Serbjeet Singh and Tilottama Basu. Interestingly, besides pilgrims, Himalayas, for over centuries have been a popular trade route.

The best known is the spread of Buddhism from India via Assam, Nepal and Kashmir into Central Asia, Tibet and China. Photographers have captured the passes along the Himalayas that have provided access to local and trans-local trade, just like the Karakoram mountains along the central and eastern Himalayas and the land route between Tibet and south-western China, the Bhotia. 

The exhibition also takes you on a pictorial journey of the people and communities residing in Himalayas for years.

All in all, there are photographs of snow-clad mountains that can leave you awestruck and undoubtedly make you fall in love with it if you are not.

The exhibition is on view till July 23 at India International Centre, Lodhi Road from 11 am to 7 pm.

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