Treasures of the Indus

Of Gods and Men

Series 1 - Episode 3 Of Gods and Men

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Review

Dr Sona Datta concludes her fascinating exploration of the arts of the Indian subcontinent with the glorious Hindu temple culture of Tamil Nadu in the south of India. Here, from the seventh and eighth centuries AD, great stone temples started to grow around religious shrines, a location where the world of the gods meets our own illusory lives and worshippers seek darshan – a vision of the divine.

To Western eyes, Hinduism is an impossibly complex belief system that can be difficult to make sense of, and its traditionally inclusive nature is increasingly challenged by Hindu nationalism. But its art is undeniably beautiful – stunning vimana and gopuram towers writhing with figures of deities and avatars, carefully crafted bronzes and finely codified temple dances. As one observer says, it’s not just a religion, but also an entire culture.

Summary

Sona Datta travels across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to explore the development of the Hindu religion through its art and architecture. She examines its beginnings as an amalgamation of local faith traditions through to its dominant mainstream presence today, visiting sacred temples hewn from rock, sandstone and marble, including the ornately carved towers, tanks and courtyards of the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Sona Datta
Director Spike Geilinger
Executive Producer Harry Bell
Producer Spike Geilinger
Series Producer Hugh Thomson
Documentary History