Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework is a treasure I inherited from my grandmother in 1989. I never knew that there were so many aspects to needlework. I finally discovered that I was really good at something. This introduced me into whole new world. Until then reading was my only hobby. Last year, I happened upon Split Ring Tatting. I realised even if I learn about needlework to my dying day, there would still be a lot of things I've never even heard about.
You learn to appreciate India's diverse cultural heritage more - if you are interested in art. Indian mural paintings are very interesting in the sense that while the themes are almost always the same - stories from Puranas, the actual paintings themselves are distinct to each region or State.
The mural paintings in Tanjavoor for instance, have their own charm and characteristic style. Unfortunately, I missed 2 different opportunities to learn the Tanjavoor style due to other commitments.
When I learnt that Kerala too had it own wonderful style, I signed up for classes and started scouting around for pictures. We have been in Trivandrum for almost 3 yrs now and I never got around to visiting the Padmanabaswamy temple until someone told me that the temple has beautiful murals.
I finally visited the temple today and loved every aspect of it. No cameras or mobiles phones are allowed inside. So, within the premises, but for the electricity, there are absolutely no reminders of the pollution filled modern world out there. You are transported to another era!
And the murals! They are to die for! Even though I have seen several pictures of this style, the actual paintings leave me speechless with wonder. The temple and the paintings have left me wanting for more. I may go back with paper and pencil to copy the motifs the next time and hope it is allowed.
The picture below gives you an idea of what the style is like - but it is nowhere near the actual murals in execution and use of colour. Click on the picture for a larger image.