Author: Vikramjit RamPublisher: PenguinYear: 2008Language: EnglishPages: 285ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143104179
The story of an interpid traveller’s mammoth obsession, and his wild and wonderful journey into the heart of India.A fascination with elephants and crumbling edifices leads designer and writer- photographer Vikramajit Ram on an extended journey across India, chronicling depictions of the animal in ancient Indian sculpture. Dreaming Vishnus recounts one of these journeys, made in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Travelling to Bhimbetka, Sanchi, Orchha, Khajuraho, and other lesser known places, Vikram discovers a region rich in curiosities: from prehistoric painted caves to medieval royal palaces; bat-infested temples to others alive with erotica; time-warped hotels of the Raj to luxurious resorts in tiger jungles. Against this vibrant backdrop, the route taken by the author – in assorted modes of transport – yields a bonanza of bizarre situations involving colourful local characters and fellow travellers. They include two wily cousins, a Western romantic with a problematic mantra, a runaway cuckold, an oracle and a pair of delightfully eccentric sisters. Curiously, the motif that interweaves his journey is the image of a recumbent Vishnu which crops up everywhere in the art (and life) of the region. Dreaming Vishnus is a blend of art and architectural history with intimate observations of people and places. It is also a story of beauty and neglect, hope and serendipity.