Temples of Uttarakhand

This project is an attempt to gather the oral tales associated with the temples of Kedarkhand and the folklore associated with the shrines and spirits of the Uttarakhand region in India. The visual narrative would begin from the ancient times, when the sites of worship were established, to the times when people started worshipping the structures and believe in the power of nature and spirits began to grow.

Objective

  • Write a narrative/ poem that expresses the bond between man and nature.
  • To deliver an illustrated narrative book.

Narrative

While writing the narrative, it was made sure that the focus remains on the grandeur of nature in Uttarakhand. It expresses the evolution of the bond between nature’s spirits and human beings, which led to the worship of spirits and later, temples. Since the narratives of Uttarakhand are oral tales of spirits and gods, there is a lot of mysticism around these stories. Poetic verse style was chosen to express the beliefs and to structure the narrative.

Illustration Style

Watercolors are used for illustrations in the book. They give a fluid and fresh feel to the images. Since the narrative includes imagery that is whimsical and abstract, it creates the desired effect. The theme of the book celebrates nature, hence the minute details are added in the illustrations.

To keep the focus on the elements of nature, the human figures used are very simplistic. Human illustrations are gestural figures, depicting small movements. To represent the grandeur of nature, human figures are intentionally used in a smaller size.

The visit to Guptakashi helped a lot in setting the mood for the narrative as well as the illustrations. Visiting the place and meeting the people, was an essential step in understanding the life and the narratives that run in the lives of people. The natural settings of Uttarakhand provide great inspiration for illustration explorations.

Reading List

  1. Goddesses of small things: The personal deities of Uttarakhand could save religion across India (2015) Mrinal Pande
  2. Folk deities associated with the Sacred groves of India (2014), M. Amirthalingam
  3. Culture and biodiversity conservation: Case studies from Uttarakhand, Central Himalaya (2010) Chandra Singh Negi
  4. Conserving biodiversity through traditional beliefs in sacred groves in Uttarakhand Himalaya, India (2010) Ashish Anthwal, Nutan Gupta, Archana Sharma, Smriti Anthwa
  5. Nature Worship, http://www.hinduwisdom.info
  6. Where Gods Dwell: Folktales of India, Kusum Budhwar
  7. Culture: 50 insights from mythology, Devdutt Pattanaik

Storyboard

Thoughts

In India, we take pride in our mythological stories and epics, though they seem bizarre to us at times, they do have links with the lives of people. I believe stories have always been a source of information and values in all culture. The retelling of stories over the years keeps it fresh and relevant for the listeners.

Mythology has been a part of our storytelling tradition for many centuries. This narrative is a self-expression and a retelling of the folklore of Kedarnath temples. Each one of us is stuck with traditions and rituals. We forget that the search of the divine starts from the nature that surrounds us. This book is for anyone who wishes to breathe fresh and feel close to nature. Writing the narrative helped to make sense of the believes that we all are surrounded by. Loving and respecting the nature is an essential part of worship, which we seem to have forgotten. The mother nature is our caretaker and protector. I have written the narrative with the feeling of reverence towards nature, drawing references from the folktales of Uttarakhand. With the hope to communicate the emotions to the reader as well.

I have written a blog about my inspiration for the project too! Visit https://garimajoshi6.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/a-visit-to-the-temples-of-uttarakhand/