The Floral Magic of Ishvara

Flower garland was done by V. V. S. Babu, belonging to traditional Sataras (People who dedicate this art to do flower work for the deities and all other work involving the temple). The image of Balakrishna was made by Chandrashekar Gurukkal. He belongs to a family of traditional mock sandal paste idol makers. The Hastam-s (Hands) and Padam-s (Feet) of the idol were made in Kumbakonam in Silver and Bronze. The Maalai adorning the idol is a traditional Andal Maalai. The highlights of this idol is the manner in which Krishna's hair ornament is displayed. The hair adornment is the handiwork style by Sri Muthuperumal of Nagercoil and done in a style called Manicka Maalai. 

A classical idol decorated with various floral adornments. A Malar Kereedom (Flower crown) made using Gundumalli (Mogra), Pink and Yellow Chrysanthemums. Also, ear ornaments, arm bands, and Oddyanam (Waist band) are seen. The base of the idol is decorated with an intricately patterned Orchid garland. 

The beautiful idols of Lakshmi & Narayana were created by Chandrashekar Gurukkal of Pattuvaithalai. The idols are adorned with different styles of traditional flower gowns made using Sampangi (Tube rose), Thechchi (Ixora), Yellow Chrysanthemum, Cock’s comb, and Tulasi leaves. The same flowers have been used to decorate the Goddess Andal. The garland adorning Narayana is made of Arali (Oleander) leaves. It is a very special type of garland and is often used to adorn Lord Ranganatha on the day of ‘Vaikunta Ekadashi’. It is popularly called the ‘Perumal Maalai’. The parrot sitting on Narayana’s shoulder was created by the flower craftsmen from Srirangam. Both the idols are adorned with traditional Muthangis in conventional colours. Both the idols have been crafted over with Kuthuvilakus (Traditional silver lamps).

A floral umbrella is delicately placed over a stem of a Plantain and made to stand atop a Kalasam (A traditional pot used in Pujas). 

Draped over the idol of Narayana are strands of Gundu Malli, evocating royal caps. The idol of Lakshmi has a flower Rakkadi and a Poojadai adorning her head and her plait. This Alangaram (floral decoration) is made using Sampangi (Tube rose), Cock’s comb (Kozhikondai), Thazhampoo (Screwpine), Chrysanthemum (Scranthic), and Thechchi (Ixora). 

A breath-taking display of three different garlands, an Andal Maalai, a Chrysanthemum garland, and an intricate one woven by Shri Muthuperumal of Nagercoil.  

The idol of Ambal or Devi as created by Shri Chandra Shekar Gurukkal of Pattuvaithalai. These idols were custom built according to the specific height requirements. Fabricated over a bamboo structure, the idol is mounted on a wooden pole fixed to a wooden base. The entire structure is wrapped with cloth (traditionally old temple sarees & dhotis). The face alone is made of the mock sandal paste. The Goddess is adorned with Thazhampoo pavadai (Screwpine skirt) and an Andal garland. The Kereedom (Head gear) is made up of Sampangi, and Marugu (Green leaves Aromahi). She is also adorned with a beautiful Jadai Alangaram (A plait made with the same flowers) by stitching on an arecanut sheath.  

This Nela Maalai (Garland for the doorway) has been done using coir rope, Cock’s comb, and Gowri Patram tender coconuts. The Thoranam is made using red cock's comb and coir. The garland adorning the idol of Krishna is made of Orchids. Sampangi (Tube rose) garlands adorn the idols of Andal. 


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