ART STAMPS 100 - Tanjavur - Centre of arts and culture
During the last 12 years and more, we have gone past 99 chapters in this series on Indian Musical Philately. They provided stimulating reading on saint-poets, vaggeyakaras, music maestros, pioneers, trendsetters and renascence makers, patrons and promoters, institutions and sabhas, Rabindra Sangeet, the National Anthem, miniature paintings on raga-raginis, theatre and thespians and multifaceted geniuses. The nine special cancellations on the Navaratri songs and the set of 11 stamps on Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda are rare philatelic items. The full-scale stories on All India Radio and Subramania Bharati as a composer belonged to this column; but as they were exhaustive and comprehensive, they were presented as cover stories (Sruti 333 and 324) outside the series. It is time now to give the series a fitting finale. And there could be no better choice than Tanjavur, a great centre of arts and culture, symbolised by the towering Brihadeeswara Temple (also known as Peruvudaiyar Koil), built by Raja Raja Chola over a thousand years ago. It is the world’s first complete granite temple, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Tanjavur is also the seat of the South Zone Cultural Centre of the Government of India. It was established in January 1986 for preservation and promotion of arts and culture of the entire southern region (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry). For decades Tanjavur was known as the ‘Cultural Capital of the South’.
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