"Evolution of Iconography in Maharashtra, 5th to 12th century” In her illustrated talk, Dr Kanitkar will take us through the history of religious thought in different eras and regions of Maharashtra. She will showcase sculptures which are not commonly seen - beginning with fifth century Vakatakas in Ramtek (Vidarbha region), loose sculptures from Elephanta, Sopara, Coastal Konkan, and a few chosen images from structural temples like Markandi, Ambarnath, Aundha, Anwa and Bhuleshvara. Along with social history, she will provide the audience an opportunity to appreciate the art, the different styles and outstanding skills of the unknown artists who created these masterpieces. Dr Kumud Kanitkar is an independent researcher in Indology. Her research focuses on medieval temples in Maharashtra. Her work looks beyond the aesthetic quality of sculptural art, trying to understand the meaning conveyed through the sculptural scheme in an individual temple. Her 2013 book, “Ambarnath Shivalaya : A monograph on the temple of Siva at Ambarnath”, was awarded “Ikuo Hirayama” prize-2013 by The Institut de France, Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris. This was followed by a book in Marathi in 2014, ‘अंबरनाथ शिवालय: प्रबंधिका, अंबरनाथ येथील शिवमंदिर. Her latest, a bilingual book on the Bhuleshvar Temple near Yavat in Maharashtra “Bhuleshvara Shivalaya”, was released in Octber 2020.
She has published numerous articles in research journals, presented papers at seminars and delivered lectures on subjects such as: “Temples in Maharashtra”, “Temple art as a means of non-verbal mass communication”, “Medieval Temple Sculptures as Markers of Social History”. Dr Kanitkar holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Illinois, at Chicago. She retired as Professor of Chemistry in 2004. She has a wide range of interests – she is a numismatist and a prize-winning philatelist as well.