Photographs and paintings by Inesh V. Achary showcase the country’s culture and heritage

The temple at Modhera in Gujarat looks resplendent in the afternoon sun. Dedicated to the sun god, the temple is an example of architectural brilliance, designed in such a way that it catches the earliest rays of the sun.

From Modhera, you move on to marvel at the architectural splendour of Rupabai Stepwell, also in Gujarat. Then it is the enormity of Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal that fills you with awe. Built in 12 century, the temple complex houses 492 small temples and 1,000 ‘sivalingams’.

Ancient Indian architecture at its best is on display at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery. Architect and artist Inesh V. Achary takes you on a journey through India’s heritage spots through photographs he has taken and spot paintings he has done on his numerous journeys into India’s hinterlands.

A break

A practising architect, Inesh felt his work demanded too much discipline and he wanted to take a break. He travelled to several historic cities, forts, palaces, villages and places of worship over a period of ten years to understand the pulse of India. The exhibition, “Heritage India”, is a documentation of his journeys.

Inesh has avoided the commercial tourist spots and as he wanted to experience the life of people first hand. He travelled alone and lived in villages and interacted with the villagers.

The journey turned out to be much more than what was intended, says Inesh. He was struck by the lives of ordinary villagers and the amount of skill they possessed when it came to art and craft.

He was also spellbound by the sheer ingenuity of ancient Indian architecture. “Our students still learn architecture based on the Roman model when we have such brilliant works in our own country,” he says. He has travelled to Nepal, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. This year, he plans to visit Orissa.

The ‘Indian International Heritage Research Academy’, started by him, is dedicated to research on preservation and conservation of heritage projects. Inesh says he was influenced by Bhaktapur village model in Nepal.

The 800-year-old town, the former commercial capital of Nepal, could preserve its workmanship with the help of the Bhaktapur Development Project funded by the German government in 1974. “The village now throbs with artistic fervour. There are museums and skilled handwork thrives,” he says.

The model can be used as an example to revive the skilled workmanship that is fast depleting in other States, too, Inesh feels.

Photographs of latticed windows, temple ponds, havelis and the humble mud huts transport one into a world far removed from the madness of cities. Inesh says he has arranged the paintings in the gallery as per the tenets of Vaastu. He has also put up brightly coloured flags found outside Buddhist monastries outside the gallery hall. The flags, which he obtained from a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, have chants printed on them. “They are believed to bring in positive energy,” he says.

A video of the journeys will be played on and off during the exhibition.

The five-day exhibition included an art and architecture workshop, interactive session with architecture students and the public.

The concluding day, October 25, will be observed as the Artisan’s Day, Inesh says.