Shastraling Talau – Patan, India

Shastraling Talau, Patan

Shastraling Talav, Patan, India, 1995.
platinum-palladium print from 8×10 inch negative

This photograph was made at an incredibly peaceful and rarely visited ancient monument, Shastraling Talav, in Northern India. A large earthwork and watertank, dating from around the 11th C, it is believed to have been the site for hundreds of shrines to Shiva. I envisioned these shrines arranged along the steps, fading off into the sunrise, and so rudely interrupted by the large, inexplicable, concrete platform in the foreground. Only the monkeys were there, gazing up into a dark forest.

I cannot imagine a more apt instance than this of the collision between the beautiful and the sublime. Here, I align certainty, religion and beauty. I think it is significant that if Blake had known of Shiva, or even Burke, they may well have thought his attributes of Destroyer and Transformer as being well matched with their considerations of the Sublime.

Bang bang.

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One Comment

  1. Actually, it is thought that Blake, Shelley, and other writers of the Romantic period knew the Bhagavad Gita in its translation by Sir Charles Wilkins (1785). Whether he had any more clue than I do what it was about is another matter, but the tone and texture of “prophetic works” like The Four Zoas clearly comes from a different poetic tradition.

    Mike

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