Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: O Tirupati!

Author: Anil Rao & Padmaja

Format: Paperback

Language: English, telegu

Pages: 93

Price: Rs. 300

Publishers: Cyberwit.net

ISBN Number: 978-8182532212

About the book:

“Tirupati is the town at the base of the Eastern Ghat Range known colloquially as The Seven Hills. Tirumala is the small temple town on the seventh hill of this range and is sometimes referred to as Eguava Tirupati (with the main town below referred to as Diguva Tirupati ). The residing deity, Sri Venkateswara or Balaji (as per the legend) manifested Himself in Tirumala and is enshrined in the hearts of literally millions of devotees spread across all corners of the globe, primarily within the South Indian diaspora.”
          - as described in the publisher’s website
When travelers take the initiative to pen down a more friendly book than those less expensive guide books we find tucked inside the cornersof rusty book stores germinating off the by lanes of tourist spots- we happen to rely on them. I haven’t visited Tirupati yet. But O Tirupati- A Pilgrim’s Companion by Anil C. S. Rao and Padmaja Attota Rao makes me promise myself at least one thing-“ when you have finally made the decision to visit the place once in your life time- make sure you have this book tucked inside your backpack, wanderer.”
The book is well constructed with contents divided into:

  • The basic historical background
  • The broad architectural features,
  • The architectural features of the Vimana Pradakshinam
  • The description of Lord Venkateswara’s Temple at Tirumala.
  • History of the temple and the associated Dynasties
  • Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam.

There is a second part coming along- that portrays the legend associated with the temple and the residing deity.

I am note quite a travelogue critic, thus I would not venture into in finer aspects. My association with historical places in terms of books written on it is sparse and I have only read about architectural building in my school days. Years have passed since then. The documented notes, subheads, aspects on constructional importance, would have never attracted me for two reasons back then- one they were never written to influence us into understanding the actual aura of the place concerned and secondly, they were accompanied with least attractive images. “O Tirupati” is better off. The writers’ personal collections of images come out as a standing proof to the cosmic ambiance attached to the place- the hand drawn sketches that come along with the story of the deity is indeed an added benefit. Had there been just the two pages brief summary of the legend, the book would fail to entice readers. Especially if you trying to draw the attention of the younger members of your traveling group, instead of just telling them about what lies inside the house of God, it is better to narrate a story that makes them live the past even in the present time for a few moments. Discovering the uniqueness of a place lies in the drastic differences between individual perceptions. The more a writer is able to evoke that urge to perceive with vigor- the better his works are remembered.
Apart from being published in English, O Tirupati! also has a Telegu edition.

About the authors:

  • Anil CS Rao is an artist and writer presently based in Andhra Pradesh in South India. He has lived in the West from the age of 4 prior to obtaining “dual citizenship” and relocating to his Mother Land in 2010. His mixed media / photoshop artwork has been exhibited in galleries in the States, Europe and in India.
  • His wife, Padmaja is a painter and together they explore synergies with respect to their combined talents - a.k.a. “Padnil Arts” in the creation of publications and computer animated films.
 Further details:

FB Connect- Anil C Rao
Where to buy- cyberwit.net/O Tirupati!

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