Art and Architecture of Tamilnadu

The Sangam Tamils had their own system of music,dance and drama(Pann,Aadal and Koothu).The Panar and Viraliyar were proffesional musicians and dancers.String instruments (Yaazh) wind instruments (kuzhal) and drums(Muzhauu) were used in such performances.Festivals and worship were also associated with dance and music(Kuravai,Veriyaattu).The pallava inscription at kudumianmalai refers to a great musician Rudracharya.

The Devaram and Divya Prabandam were set to Ragas.The puranic themes were enacted in the form of Koothu or gaathas.The Devadasis or temple servants were excellent dancers.

In the field of architecture the Sangam age did not produce enduring structures with the advent of the Pallavas a new style in art and architecture appeared in Tamilnadu.At first Mandapams were excavated out of rocks with excellent sculptural representations(Mahisasura mandapam,Varaha mandapam).Then single rocks were converted into ratha like temples(monolithic rathas at mahabalipuram).They built structural temples by filling up stone slabs(Shore temple,kailasanathar temple and vaikuntha perumal temple).These temples were noted for their Vimanas.The imperial cholas developed this style further.Elaborate campuses,protective walls,pillared halls,huge towers and multi shrines marked the chola temple architecture.The Tanjore Brihadeeswaram,Gangai Kinda cholapuram and Darasuram are outstanding specimens of chola architecture.All these temples have excellent sculptural representations.The Sittannavasal caves , kailasanathar temple and Brihadeeswarar temple have the best specimens of paintings.The chola bronze images of Nataraja,Siva,Vishnu and other dieties have earned global acclaim.

The Tamil had developed their own system of mathematics time calculation, astronomy and medical systems.

The Sangam literature refers to “Enn” kanakku Nazhigai ,Yamam kaatham and kol.They also refer to seasons as Elavenil,Elaiudir etc.References to native medicines like Elathi,Tirikadukam,Siru pancha Mulam etc reveal Tamil’s versatile achievements.Kaniyans were both astronomers and astrologers.The Tamil Siddhas produced excellent treaties on Siddha system of medicine and these treaties elaborate diagnosis, treatment by herbs and chemicals and also provide pharmacological details.

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