Knocking on Shiva’s door

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In the modern age, when people are obsessed with all things futuristic, an amateur photographer decided to go back in time and relive the splendours of architecture in its purest form. Photographer and former journalist Tarun Vijay, who is currently a Member of Parliament, mentions how his journey to South East Asia’s old Shiva temples gave birth to his photographic memoir titled ‘Kailash in Cambodia’. The photo exhibition will be held in the capital in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The photographs take inspiration from the old temples and mystics of Hindu and Buddhist culture. Speaking about the visit to these ancient shrines and the photo exhibition, Tarun informs, “The exhibition is an attempt to unfold the glory of the 1,100-year-old India inspired architecture that made Unesco declare it a World Heritage. The Shiva temple is called Preah Vihier, which was earlier known as the Shikhareshwar temple. It has some the most iconic Shiva statues and the unique stone image of Shiva dancing on the elephant head on the door of this temple is truly captivating. I used the Nikon 9X camera to capture at least 2,200 images, out of which the best 50 will be displayed at the exhibition.”
The Indian Parliamentarian also mentions that after his visit to the holy site, he has written to the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen and the Prime Minister of Thailand Ms Shinawatra to have the temple opened from both sides as an abode of peace and harmony.
He says, “Not many Indian tourists are aware about these temples in the far East, but Buddhist followers from different parts of the world visit this heritage site every year. One can see how beautifully the two cultures co-exist under one roof. In times like these when the Mahabodhi is attacked, the Preah Vihier Shiva temple becomes a shining example of cordiality existing between Buddhists and Shaivites globally.”
Speaking about his family and other interests, he mentions, “I believe if one is interested in something, one takes out time for it, there is nothing like being too busy in life. My wife Vandana Bisht is my inspiration and my two children — son Ritwik and daughter Shambhavi — are the centre of my life. Apart from photography, I also take out time for trekking. A few years back I trekked across the mountains of Tibet, Ladakh and Uttarakhand.”

The exhibition is on till July 17 at ICCR’s Azad Bhawan, IP Estate, ITO

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