Note on Website

In addition to who we are and what we do, this website contains links to all our monthly lectures on youtube. You can search using the name of the speaker or title of the talk. For example, Speaker Name or Title or Keywords, Video will give you list of Videos.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Chenganma by Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan - THT-Prof. Swaminathan Award Lecture, October 3rd, 5:30 pm

 Tamil Heritage Trust

Invites you to

The Award Lecture


Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan

Winner of the first

THT-Prof S Swaminathan Heritage Award

at 5.30 pm, on Saturday, October 3, 2020

Topic:  "Chenganma: A Cultural Map" "செங்கண்மாஒரு பண்பாட்டு சித்திரம்"

(Open to all. No registration required)

The Award Lecture:

The Tamil Heritage Trust-Prof S. Swaminathan Heritage Award aims to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions towards the understanding, dissemination and preservation of Indian Heritage, thus encouraging interest and involvement of the general public and raising the awareness and appreciation of India's rich history, literature, arts and culture.  The Winner of the Award is invited to deliver an Award Lecture.

The Speaker:  

Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan is the Winner of the inaugural edition of the THT-Prof S Swaminathan Heritage Award.

A Graduate in Architecture and a gold medalist in his Post Graduation, Madhusudhanan specializes in conservation and architectural research. He has been an academic for a decade mentoring students of popular schools of architecture. He is well versed in fields of art, architecture, heritage, cultural studies and vernacular practices.  He is a popular speaker on a wide range of topics associated with heritage, religion and literature, with over two hundred hours of content on YouTube.  He is the founder of RATHAM, a non-profit organization that curates guided Heritage tours to heritage sites and structures of historic, architectural and archeological importance

Madhusudhanan serves on Government instituted panel for conservation of temples in Tamil Nadu.  In 2014-15, he worked as the Senior Consultant to document around 300 heritage structures in Kanchipuram for the prestigious HRIDAY project.  

Madhusudhanan was conferred the Vedhavalli Memorial award for outstanding contribution towards heritage promotion by a young achiever in 2018. He won the Best Lecture award in 2016 from the Madras Music Academy for his lec-dem on Araiyar Sevai. In 2019, he was conferred the title “Ilakkiya Chemmal”, recognizing his proficiency in Tamil literature. In 2020 Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, recognized him as the Youth Icon of 2020.

Madhusudhanan is currently pursuing his doctoral research on “Temple Town Planning”.

The Topic:

Chengam, a constituency in Tiruvannamalai district with a meagre population has several layers of history embedded on it. Situated on the banks of Cheyyaru that jogs its way down the Javadi hills forms a natural boundary to the northern side of the village. It was on the banks of this river 2000 years back a not so rich poet wandered in search of the mighty gates of the fort of Nannan Sei Nannan, a king who ruled this part of south India. Indeed, this village with dusty streets and narrow lanes now once served as the capital city of an ancient kingdom.

On the southern side of the village runs an ancient highway that connects Karnataka through Hosur. For several centuries this has been an active trade route connecting the eastern shore further south. Several archaeological studies conducted in the recent past has helped us ascertain the antiquity of the place. Chola inscriptions, Vijayanagara temples, local legends, colonial vestiges and more have painted this village’s cultural fabric with a splash of colours.

Madhusudhanan has specially chosen this topic for the Award Lecture to honour Prof. Swaminathan’s cherished dream of collating what he calls a “Culture Atlas” - a manual that documents every settlement for its history, culture, arts, flora, fauna and more. In this lecture, Madhu will create this map for Chengam, drawing on its rich cultural, political and archaeological history.

The Talk will be in Tamil.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan wins 2020 THT-Prof.Swaminathan Award

The Tamil Heritage Trust - Prof. S. Swaminathan Heritage Award 2020 awarded to Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan”

Saturday, September 5th, 2020.

The Chennai based Tamil Heritage Trust (THT) today announced the name of Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan as the winner of the inaugural THT - Prof. S. Swaminathan Heritage Award.

The Award was instituted by THT to honour the work of individuals under the age of 50 who have made significant contributions to deepening the general public’s knowledge of Indian heritage, widening the audience for heritage appreciation, and in the process strengthening our existing knowledge base of heritage assets and resources.

The award is named for Prof S. Swaminathan, retired Professor from IIT-Delhi and co- founder of the Tamil Heritage Trust, whose books, monographs and talks on many facets of India’s heritage continue to be a source of inspiration for heritage enthusiasts. The winner was chosen from a short-list of nominations by a distinguished 6-member jury comprising historians, scholars and public intellectuals.

Accepting the Award, Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan said, "Tamil Heritage Trust has been doing yeoman service in creating interest and awareness in the areas of history, heritage and culture amongst the common public. Instituting an award in the name of its founder, Prof. Swaminathan to recognize an individual's contribution in these fields is a way to encourage more active participation by youngsters. It gives me immense pleasure to be chosen as the first recipient of this prestigious award and makes me realize my responsibility."

“The institution of this award is an important milestone in the history of THT”, said Prof S Swaminathan“Our vision is to inspire in our audience a life-long interest in India’s heritage with clear and exciting communication which is based on deep knowledge and scholarship. Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan’s work reflects the essence of our vision. I hope this Award and its first winner will inspire many in the coming years to make this their life’s work”, he added.

THT was founded as a non-profit Trust in the year 2010 with a vision to put the common man in touch with the beauty, grandeur, and the rich storehouse of knowledge that is Indian heritage. The Trust which is entirely volunteer-driven attempts to deliver this through several initiatives - monthly public talks, annual thematic conferences, site seminars and study tours to places of historical interest, workshops on temple architecture and museum collections and an outreach effort through schools to sensitize young students to Indian heritage.

The award which carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000 will be presented to Madhusudhanan at a ceremony to be held in October. The winner will deliver the Award Lecture on a topic of his choice at the function.


For more information, please contact: Badri Seshadri – 98840 66566
Siva Thiagarajan 
– 98842 94494

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Buddhist Heritage of Andhra Pradesh by Dr. E Siva Nagi Reddy, Saturday, 5th September 2020, 5:30 pm

Tamil Heritage Trust


The Buddhist Heritage of Andhra Pradesh

A Digital Talk by


Dr. E Siva Nagi Reddy


On Saturday, 5th September 2020 at 05:30 PM IST


Kindly register for the talk here



About The Topic 


Dr. E Siva Nagi Reddy will trace the advent and spread of Buddhism in its 3 phases - Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana - from the lifetime of the Buddha up until the 14th  century AD. He will also showcase the patronage of Buddhism by Asoka and in the subsequent periods and the contribution of the Buddhist philosophers like Acharya Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Dignaga, Bhavaviveka, Buddhapalitha, Buddhaghosha, and Dharmakeerthi through their writings. Further, he will cover the development of Buddhist Architecture and features of Buddhist art with special reference to Amaravathi School of Art represented in stone and metal, the holy relic caskets of the Buddha recovered in the state, the highlights of the Buddhist inscriptions of Andhra Pradesh and  the spread of the Dhamma to Sri Lanka and other South East Asian countries.


About the Speaker 


Dr. E Siva Nagi Reddy, a Sthapathi and Archaeologist had his training in traditional sculpture and architecture at Tirupati and served  the Endowments and Archaeology Departments for 35 years. He has successfully transplanted more than 100 temples from the Srisailam submergible area and also conserved a number of Kakatiya temples in Warangal and Karimnagar district.


He has written many books on temple architecture, such as Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, Evolution of Building Technology in Early and Medieval Andhradesa, Silpins in Early and Medieval Andhradesa , Temples of the Telugu People and Temple Construction during the Vijayanagara Period. His books on Buddhism include Buddhist Archaeology in Andhra Pradesh, Buddhist Archaeology in Telangana, Buddhist Circuits in Andhra Pradesh, Buddhist Heritage of Andhra Pradesh and Buddhist Inscriptions of Andhradesa. 


Dr. Reddy has participated in excavations at many Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh. Currently he is the CEO of  The Cultural Centre Of Vijayawada and Amaravati established by the Malaxmi Group at Vijayawada.  He is recipient of prestigious Kalaratna Award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Tamil Heritage Trust                                                     

Contact: T Ravishankar 9500074247 





Friday, August 7, 2020

Donations to Tamil Heritage Trust

Tamil Heritage Trust is non-profit organization.  We depend on the good will of our supporters and enthusiasts to run our programs and workshops.  If you would like to support us, please donate generously to the following account.

Bank Details:

Account Name: Tamil Heritage Trust

Account Number: 08140200000610


Account Type: Current

Address:  Bank of Baroda, RK Nagar Branch, Chennai - 28

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Hoysala Architecture by Dr. G. Manoj

Questions and Answers after the talk:

1. Shilpa S Wadekar: Any yantra followed for building hoysala temples?
As far as my knowledge goes there was no such thing as the Hoysalas also followed the same Āgamas and Vāstugranthas as the other builders. After the selection of the ground for temple building during the laying if garbhanyasa certain line were drawn and deities were invoked. This cannot be considered as a yantra.

2. Jayen Mistry: Are the sculptures presented in a predetermined order or randomly placed?
The decorative sculptures on the outer wall are randomly placed and the narrative panels had to have a sequence. Only the votive sculptures were enshrined with norms.

3. VK Srinivasan: Are there any examples of Hoysala architecture with varying heights of Kutas in Trikuta or Chatushkuta or Panchakuta design? Are they necessarily to be of same height?
There are solitary examples of catuṣkūṭa and pañcakūṭa were the prāsādas are equal in height. In the original trikūtas the prāsādas are of same height. In those which have lost their original prāsādas and replaced by later ones all kinds of variations can be noticed.

4. vaijayanthi chakravarthy: ​Would like to have the quote the speaker gave on the stamba panjara!
Nāndi ślōka from Baana's Harshacharita and also found as invocatory verse inkalyanachalukya and Hoysala inscriptions.

5. Sripadma Ganapathi: ​There are also many repetitions of Narasimha ripping off the intestines of Hiranyakaship. Is there any specific reason why?
That is one of the four major forms of Narasimha i.e. Ugra Narasimha the other three being Yoga Narasimha, Laksmi Narasimha and kevala Narasimha.

6. Ravikumar Palaniappan: ​Are Madanika in prastara are found in Ajanta also?
These sculptures are discernible from Sanchi stupa period itself.

7. Ravi Shankarnarayana: What would be the resources required to build a belur/halebeedu temple today?
Some financial expert has to judge this.

8. Prathik Murali: ​Devakhullakas are 2 types as we see in the slide. One is attached to the bhitti another which is seperate. Can the one attached to the bhitti called as a Khanda Harmya ?
Yes, it can be called so.

9. Prathik Murali: ​That is an interesting hypothesis for the etymology of Srikara; but brahmi had already gone out of vogue for centuries during Hoysalas. How is it possible to account for it ?
Do observe some Hoysala inscriptions were Sri is written.

10. Ramjee Nagarajan: ​Any research on the Corn like structure in Hoysala sculptures before they were actually brought or introduced into India?
This is usually identified as the Beejapura or Maathalunga fruit. Some form of corn seem to have been indigenous as a similar form is found in the Vishnu sculpture at Badami cave number 3.

11. vaijayanthi chakravarthy: ​Did he say that following Pancharatra agama or the samhitas he mentioned later were the influencers in terms of the only Vishnu murti in Vaishnava temples?
Not necessarily they have influenced on rituals also.

12. Sashi Kolar: Any idea where the terms urdhva and ado jangha were sourced from? No other
temple architecture uses such a division of the bitti despite him claiming that
Vijayanagara gopurams do), and I hear the Karnata Dravida texts no longer survive. Is it true?
This term can be found in the encyclopedia of Indian temple architecture volumes.
I don’t think there were any sect of texts classified as Karnata Dravida.

Tamil Heritage Trust


Hoysala Architecture 

Some Unique Observations

A digital talk by

Dr. G. Manoj

On Saturday, August 1st, 2020 at 5.30 pm

Kindly register for the talk here

About the Topic

Contributions of  the Hoysalas to the field of south Indian temple architecture is not something unknown to the connoisseurs of  Indian heritage. These monuments are known for their elegance with crisp and intricate carvings. Hoysalas constructed innumerable temples but not of mammoth proportions. They embellished their temples with various sculptures. This became the identity of Hoysala temples. Many of the Hoysala temples are world heritage monuments today and are yet to be followed by many more for this recognition.


Popular features of Hoysala temples known amongst both the lay men as well as the scholars are that these temples possess stellite plan, built of soap stone and intricately carved. Though these are established facts, but they cannot be unanimously applied to Hoysala monuments. Some fall under this category but there are many examples which are exceptions for these norms. This paper concentrates on explaining the Hoysala temples with the mention of these exceptional observations.

About the Speaker

A researcher on temple architecture, Dr. Manoj Gundanna is an Archeologist by profession. He earned his MA and PhD degrees in Ancient History  and Archeology from Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore. Currently a Research Associate with Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Research Foundation, Bangalore, Dr. Manoj is also a resource person with the Archeological Survey of India. His doctoral research was titled “Temples of Salem Region”. He was awarded with the PhD. in 2009. His doctoral work is being published by Bharathiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi under the title Temple Architecture of South India (Salem Region)” 

Dr. Manoj’s research work focuses on the study of ancient Dravidian temple architecture based on traditional agamas and vastugranthas besides the study of sculptures and iconography based on ancient Sanskrit texts. He has presented more than 50 research papers both in English and Kannada at various seminars and symposia. He has delivered lectures on Archeology, Music and Mythology in various institutions, religious organizations and to students of the Universities of Guelph, Mt Allison, and Concordia besides various universities and colleges of Karnataka. One of his books, Devalaya Vastu Vignana, is a reference book on Dravidian temple architecture for post- graduate students of History and Archaeology.

Dr. Manoj’s interests include Kannada and Sanskrit literature, Inscription and Manuscripts.   A multi linguist, he has several compositions in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil to his credit. Planet Prayers, a trilingual commentary on navagrahskrithis of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Siddhi Vinayakam Sada Bhajeham, an exposition in English on Muthuswami Dikshitar krithis on Mahaganapathy are among his well-acclaimed books.

Tamil Heritage Trust

Contact: T Ravishankar 9500074247   

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