Hampi: The Rise, The Glory and the Fall of Vijayanagar - Dr. Chitra Madhavan

Please note the event is postponed to Jan 9th @ 5:30 pm!

The battle of Talikota fought between the forces of the mighty Vijayanagar empire and the combined armies of the Deccan Sultanates was a watershed event in history, changing the political map of South India forever.  The battle was fought on January 23, 1565.
Tamil Heritage Trust's Monthly Heritage Talk for January 2021 takes us back to the heydays of Vijayanagar.
In her talk, Hampi: The Rise, The Glory and the Fall of Vijayanagar, popular historian Dr Chithra Madhavan, will trace the rapid rise of the Vijayanagar empire and then take us on a tour of Hampi, the capital, to show us the marvels of the religious and secular architecture of the period.  She will conclude with a summary of the factors that led to the battle of Talikota and the subsequent decline of one of India's greatest empires.
Join us at 5.30 pm on Saturday, January 9, 2021. The talk will be in English.
To receive your link for the talk, please register at: bit.ly/THT-Hampi 
With best wishes for a wonderful new year.
Tamil Heritage Trust 

Welcome to Tamil Heritage Trust's Indology Festival.  Nov 30th to Dec 6, 2 talks daily, 7-9 PM IST. #THTIndoFest2020

What is an Indology Festival? What is the need?  What is the content?

THT I Like This Monument ( ILTM)  vLog Contest 2020 
THT IndoFest 2020 - 30th Nov to 6th December related initiative

Post a Short Video (vLog) on any Indian Heritage Monument (100+ year old), highlighting the liked  features in Social Media Channels with hashtag #THTILTMW2020.  Spread the Heritage awareness and win recognition and prizes too.

You can also optionally add Links of the Posts in the comments section of this FB event

Vilayanur S Ramachandran

Prof V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. Ramachandran initially trained as a doctor (MBBS) at Stanley Medical College, Madras, India, and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. After that, he received an honorary FRCP; London (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians) and two honorary doctorates (DSc; honoris causa). Ramachandran’s early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology which, despite their apparent simplicity, have had a profound impact on the way we think about the brain. He has been called “The Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins and “The modern Paul Broca” by Eric Kandel.

In 2005 he was awarded the Henry Dale Medal and elected to an honorary life membership by the Royal Instituion of Great Britain, where he also gave a Friday evening discourse (joining the ranks of Michael Faraday, Thomas Huxley, Humphry Davy, and dozens of Nobel Laureates). His other honours and awards include fellowships from All Souls College, Oxford, and from Stanford University (Hilgard Visiting Professor); the Presidential Lecture Award from the American Academy of Neurology, two honorary doctorates, the annual Ramon Y Cajal award from the International Neuropsychiatry Society, and the Ariens-Kappers medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2003 he gave the annual BBC Reith lectures and was the first physician/psychologist to give the lectures since they were begun by Bertrand Russel in 1949. In 1995 he gave the Decade of the Brain lecture at the 25th annual (Silver Jubilee) meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. In 2010 he delivered the annual Jawaharlal Nehru memorial lecture in New Delhi, India. 

The President of India has conferred on him the second highest civilian award and honorific title in India, the Padma Bhushan. 

And TIME magazine named him on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Ramachandran has published over 180 papers in scientific journals (including five invited review articles in the Scientific American). He is author of the acclaimed book “Phantoms in the Brain” that has been translated into nine languages and formed the basis for a two part series on Channel Four TV (UK) and a 1 hour PBS special in USA. NEWSWEEK magazine has named him a member of “The Century Club” – one of the “hundred most prominent people to watch in the next century.” He has been profiled in the New Yorker Magazine and appeared on the Charlie Rose Show. His new book, "The Tell Tale Brain" was on the New York Times best-seller list.

Ramachandran has a deep interest in history and archaeology.

Monday, Nov 30:

Inaugural Address: How the Brain represents Space, Time and Numbers.

Dr VS Ramachandran

Dr. VS Ramachandran will explore the fascinating aspects of how Neurology allows us to explore the terra incognita of human nature.

Keynote Address: Gods in Coins

Dr R Nagaswamy

The study of history of heritage is generally attempted with verifiable sources like inscriptions, copper plates, archaeological excavations, historical writings, travelers accounts etc.  We do get large number of coins issued by ancient kings which are studied for economic history, identification of the kings, the purchasing power etc.  They can also be studied for the impact of lifestyle of one society on the other and often philosophy and religion of the neighbors.  For example, The king Krishnadevaraya was a frequent visitor to Tirupati and on one visit he presented a  Navaratna makara torana to Venkatcalapati and on that occasion he minted “dodda varaha” in gold, which equaled two varaha, for distribution to vedic scholars and poor people but not as a legal tender. It was a memory of religious fervor in 16th cent. But by and large the coins were issued as legal tenders for money value. There were coins issued by Vijayanagara Venkatapaty with Venkatesa and two consorts Sridevi, and Bhudevi which came to be called “Three swami pagoda” in the 17th cent. In the same period we have a large number of copper coins issued by Vijayaraghunatha Nayak of Tangier  who built the Ramaswamy temple at Kumbakonam.  This carries the image of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman on the obverse and standing figure of the king with folded hand (adoring Rama) on the reverse which shows his deep faith in Rama and  humility of Indian kings as servants of god. In the West Asia, the Great conqueror Alexander the great, issuing a gold coins with his portrait head on one side and the Greek Goddess on the other in the 4thcent BCE.  Let us see two coins issued by one of his successor at the beginning of 2nd cent BCE One coin shows his head on one side and Greek goddess on the reverse. The same king has issued another coin which shows Krishna Standing with cakra and sankha in his hands. the legend is in in Brahmi but reading “Agathacleyasa” on one side and the other side, is Balarama with the king’s name in Greek characters. It means there has been a tremendous change in the attitude of the emperor towards Hindu faith. the king was a ruler of Bactria but the coin hoard was found in Afghanistan. The coins were meant to be legal tender used by common man. The impact of Hindu faith in this region which can be seen up to Alexandria in the west and continued up to 2nd third cent Ad, The significance of these finds  till the end of Kushana’s, will be discussed in this paper.

Tuesday, Dec 1: Indian Prehistory and Early History

Geographical and Prehistoric Cultural Subdivisions of the Indian Subcontinent

Dr Ravi Korisettar 

The presentation traces the history of  human settlements across the Indian subcontinent since the Lower Paleolithic times to the end of Neolithic-Iron Age time periods. Archaeological investigations spread over a span of 160 years have shown that prehistoric cultural evolution across the Indian subcontinent was not uniform in time and space. Distinctive cultural provinces are associated with a network of geographical environments which in turn are governed by the variation in the intensity of monsoon precipitation/rainfall  across the subcontinent. 

The focus of the presentation is on spatio-temporal variation in the way human settlements/early cultures have developed set in a geographical and environmental perspective. The last two decades have witnessed landmark archaeological investigations relating to the absolute chronology of Palaeolithic cultures, understanding  of man-land relationships and identification of indigenous development of early food producing way of life across the Indian subcontinent. Based on archaeobotanical and archaeozoological findings domesticated plants and animals   native to India and exotic crops from Africa, Southwest Asia and East Asia have been documented.

Tuesday, Dec 1: Indian Prehistory and Early History

The Script of the Indus Valley Civilization: Computational Analysis and Recent Interpretations

Dr Rajesh Rao

More than 4000 years ago, people living in the Indus valley in what is now Pakistan and northwestern India wrote short sequences of symbols on seals, tablets, pottery, and other artifacts. These short texts constitute the Indus script, one of the last major undeciphered scripts of the ancient world. Deciphering the Indus script could have significant ramifications for the way we view the pre-history of the Indian subcontinent today. 

In this talk, I will first describe research aimed at analyzing the Indus script using computational and statistical techniques. This analysis provides insights into the syntax of the script and allows a comparison with other scripts encoding natural languages. Such an analysis however does not address the issue of interpreting the symbols (the semantics of the script). 

The second part of the talk will focus on how the constraints imposed by syntax and artifact use could suggest possible interpretations. We first discuss competing interpretations for the class of "fish" symbols in the script. We then explore the potentially provocative hypothesis that rather than simply indicating names and ownership of property as traditionally believed, Indus seals may have been an integral part of a pre-coinage system for economic transactions, allowing rapid generation of tokens, tablets and sealings to facilitate exchange of canonical amounts of goods, grains, animals, and labor.

Wednesday, Dec 2nd: Ancient Indian Mathematics

The Magnificence of Brahmagupta’s Bhavana

Dr Amartya Kumar Datta

In mathematics, a law of composition combines (i.e., \composes") two mathematical objects of a certain type to produce a third object of the same type. For instance, it may combine two solutions of a given equation to generate a third solution of the equation, or to combine two expressions of a particular form to yield another expression of the same form. The principle of composition lies at the heart of modern (abstract) algebra and number theory. 

A great contribution of Brahmagupta (628 CE) is his introduction of the very idea of composition in early seventh century, through his result which is known by the Sanskrit name bhavana. In this talk we will try to give a historical perspective to help us appreciate the magnicence of Brahmagupta's composition law bhavana.

Brahmagupta's statement is equivalent to an important identity in algebra and number theory. But the presentation of his actual statement as a mere identity, as is often done by mathematicians, misses its real mathematical signicance. We shall discuss this caveat.

Brahmagupta's law is formulated as a principle of composition of solutions of a quadratic equation of the form Nx2+z = y2, where N is a fixed constant. We will present a few ancient and modern applications of his rule.

Brahmagupta's bhavana implies a principle of composition of certain quadratic polynomials called binary forms. We will make a brief reference to two subsequent landmarks: Gauss's composition law (1801) on binary quadratic forms and Manjul Bhargava's composition laws (2001) on polynomials of higher degree.

Thursday, Dec 3rd: Temple Architecture 


The Unfolding Universe of Nagara Temple Architecture

Dr Adam Hardy


This talk is about the tradition of temple architecture that predominated across the whole of northern India between the 6th and 12th centuries, continuing with periodical revivals until today. Rather than dwell on particular monuments, I shall try to put across an understanding of the architecture and its principles, in particular a sense of how it was created.

These are the main areas and themes of the talk:

·       The importance of typology, as an architectural principle, not merely for classification. Timber origins of early types. Aedicularity: temple composed of temples. 

·       Nagara and Dravida (northern and southern temple traditions) as architectural languages, underlying different temple forms (general ‘modes’, and specific ‘types’).

·       The architectural expression of downward an outward movement (emergence, expansion, proliferation); how this is paralleled by an emanatory pattern of development within the tradition, as the architects draw out one form from another; and how this pattern reflects perennial concepts of cosmogony and manifestation.

Theory and practice: the canonical Sanskrit texts (Vastushastras, Shilpashastras), and how temple designs ‘unfold’ in these texts. I shall focus on an important chapter of the 12th-century Aparjitaprccha, and show a worked example of how to proceed from the text to a temple design.

Thursday, Dec 3rd: Temple Architecture 

South Indian Temple Architecture: An Overview and a Comparison 

Dr G Sankaranarayanan


South Indian temples can be largely grouped under four sub-groups: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and a Andhra/Odisha one. While the first three are distinct, the Andhra temples display a mix of features from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha. Odisha temples have a mix of North and South Indian features. This talk will explore the temples across these regions and present the commonalities and differences across these geographical regions.

Saturday, Dec 5th: Chola Bronzes

Masters of Fire: Hereditary Bronze Casters of South India - An Ethnoarchaeological Perspective

Dr Thomas E Levy

The talk is based on the book of the same name by Thomas E. Levy, Alina M. Levy, Radakrishna Sthapathy, Srikanda Sthapathy, and Swaminathan Sthapathy, an exploration of the age-old and still continuing traditions of the metal workers of Swamimalai and the techniques of lost-wax method.

Saturday, Dec 5th: Chola Bronzes

Dr Sharada Srinivasan

The Talk will distill Dr Sharada’s extensive research on the archaeometallurgical aspects of ancient mining and metallurgy in southern India as well as her nuanced understanding of the iconography of south Indian bronzes.

Sunday, Dec 6th : Preserving the past for the Future

The Conservation Praxis, Lessons from Ahmedabad and Agra

Dr Jigna Desai

Conservation in India is legally embedded through the actions of the Archeological Survey of India and has recently been strengthened through many new policies and institutional frameworks. In practice many organisations and individual citizens persevere to ensure its success. This talk would, through examples of Ahmedabad and Agra, illustrate the need for many simultaneous actions (international, national, local, personal) in order to initiate and execute the concern of preserving the past for the future.

Sunday, Dec 6th : Preserving the past for the Future

Project Sittannavasal Atyantakama: Proposals for Preservation and Appreciation of Heritage  

Prof S Swaminathan 

Prof Swaminathan will describe the importance of the monuments at places like Mahabalipuram and Sittannavasal and outline his ideas for not only their preservation but also to enhance the visitor’s experience of their heritage.

Dr Sarada Tallam on Women and Bhakti Poetry (Karaikkal Ammai and Andal) on Saturday, Nov. 7th, 5:30 pm.


Tamil Heritage Trust

Invites you to a Digital Talk on


Women and Bhakti Poetry:

Karaikal Ammai & Andal


Dr Sarada Thallam

SV University, Tirupati

At 5.30 pm, Saturday, November 7, 2020

Please register for the talk here


About the Talk:

The Bhakti movement is the child of the Dravida desa, especially the Tamil land and language. Women saint poets from Tamil Nadu have had a deep nexus with both the ethos of bhakti as well as its devotional poetics as reflected in their poetic corpus.  Two Tamil women poets of the bhakti movement remain deeply etched in our memory for their sterling contributions to devotional poetics.  Karaikkal Ammai and Andal are towering figures both for their bhakti rasa and for their poetic excellence. One is a Saiva poet of the sixth century, while the other is a Vaishnava poet of the 9th century. Separated though by three centuries, and religious sub sects, these two women weave exquisite garlands of devotional verse that engross both  the connoisseurs of poetry and the bhaktas alike, with a powerful simultaneity. 

This talk would compare the two poetic jewels of the Tamil land and analyse their divergent, yet converging patterns of bhakti and surrender, that have enriched the fine tapestry of Tamil, nay, Indian devotional aesthetics.    

About the Speaker:

Prof. Sarada Thallam teaches in the department of English at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. With over 25 years of teaching experience. She has to her credit several published works including a book on African American Women Playwrights, and Rajam Krishnan’s Indian Feminist Hermeneutics. She has published research papers and book chapters in the domains of contemporary literary studies and classical literature. She has presented research papers in many conferences within and outside India. Besides, she has given numerous talks on multiple aspects of literature and culture. 

A post-graduate in English Literature from the Madras University, Sarada later did her doctorate from the University of Hyderabad.

A former Fulbright Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has visited the universities of Oxford, Georgia and Emory on academic schedules.

Her interests include African American Women’s Writings, Gender Studies, Theatre, Performance, Postcolonial Studies, Literary Theory, Translation and Comparative studies. Bhakti literature, and its women poets in particular, are especially close to her heart!






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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.

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

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