History is interesting and it will be more interesting if it relates to your village, town or district.
Emphasising this, a well-known artist of the Nilgiris M. Ravichandran who is in charge of the Government Art Gallery here has embarked on a mission to familiarise the people including residents and tourists with the glorious past of the Blue Mountains through paintings on canvas and acrylic.
Speaking to The Hindu here on Sunday, he said that to begin with he was focusing on hero stones.
Though hero worship is a term many are familiar with not many are aware of how it came about, he said.
Pointing out that there was evidence of hero worship even in the Sangam era, Mr. Ravichandran said that the term is usually applied to one, who stands out in a group or crowd on account of his superior quality or qualities like conspicuous bravery or power of endurance.
Hero Stones will usually be erected at a spot in which a hero meets with a heroic death while rescuing cattle which had been captured by the enemies of the settlement. In the Nilgiris, hero stones have been discovered in places like Kallampalayam, Mavanhalla, Masinagudi, Melur, Anaikatti,Thuthurmattam, Banagudishola, Melur etc. Lamenting that most of the monuments are disappearing due to natural calamities and human activities, he said that in most of the cases, the name and fame of the heroes have been etched with their portrait. They are being worshipped even today by many. These village hero deities are very popular in the districts of Vellore, Salem,Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai and the Nilgiris.
The custom of honouring heroes in such a manner was in vogue till the advent of the 13th century.
Many stone sculptures found in the Nilgiris reflect the artistic temperament of the early men. These ancient monuments are being documented through paintings. It will enable the younger generation to know about their glorious past.