Snapshots of a Historic State

Working on a coffee-table book opened our eyes to the erosion of the importance of culture in society, says Sandhya Mendonca about Karnataka—A Cultural Odyssey

Published: 26th November 2013 02:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2013 02:57 PM   |  A+A-

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Karnataka—A Cultural Odyssey, which was released at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore a couple of months ago, showcases the cultural grandeur of the state—its historic structures that are the bequeathal of several dynasties; the spiritual centres that are a treasure trove of myths and legends; festivals that bind communities in a unique manner; thriving art, and diverse and delectable cuisine.

Edited by veteran scribe and writer of Raintree Media Sandhya Mendonca,  the book boasting over 200 stunning photographs also takes the reader on a private tour of the majestic Raj Bhavan.

Says Mendonca, “Our brief was to showcase the culture of Karnataka. We chose to segment the book, for easy reading, into categories that would introduce the reader to the historical and cultural heritage, as well as lead them on a visual journey across the state. As the readers are likely to be first-time visitors to Karnataka, we chose some well-known places, introducing some lesser known facets too.”

The splendid photographs are mainly the work of Asha Thadani and her team from Light and Life studio, Dinesh Shukla, Kashif Masood and K G Somshekar who has a yen for portraits.

“I am happy, privileged and grateful for getting this opportunity to publish this book. It is a comprehensive documentation that would well serve as a historical reference. Working on this book opened our eyes to the sad erosion of the importance of culture in our society. Our predecessors prized the arts, celebrated them in stone, paintings, music, dance, poetry and great literature. The grand visions of kings and queens were matched by the depth of their aesthetic sensibilities, and common people had similar appreciation. I feel we are poorer for having lost these sensibilities. Culture is an intrinsic part of who we are as a civilisation,” says Mendonca, a Kannadiga herself and old time Bangalorean. The limited-edition coffee-table book has been commissioned by Raj Bhavan to gift VVIP state guests.

“However, we are working on a second book, similar to ‘Marvels of Mysore & More’ that we published in 2012; we hope to make this book, Marvels of Karnataka’,” says Mendonca. Raintree Media has published other noteworthy coffee-table books in the recent past such as The Best of Bangalore.

On his first visit to Bangalore a couple of months ago after assuming office, President Pranab Mukherjee was presented the first copy of the book at a glittering evening at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore.

Karnataka governor Hansraj Bhardwaj says about the book, “This was specially commissioned for Raj Bhavan to bring out the cultural grandeur of the entire state. The purpose of this book is to enable visitors to Karnataka to embark on a cultural odyssey of this vast state, and to carry back memories of its rich heritage and vibrant society.

The writing is based on meticulous research, and the concise and well-written articles are interspersed with beautiful photographs. I am sure this book will provide delightful and insightful reading about this progressive state.”

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