ഗണപതി സ്ഥപതി അന്തരിച്ചു ....
V. Ganapati Sthapati, the architect of modern-day wonders such as the 133-foot Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari, Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and the Kannagi and Madhavi statue in Poompuhar, died here in a private hospital on Tuesday. He was 84. He is survived by his wife.
Born into a family of sculptors who traced their lineage to Sili Kunjaramallan Rajaraja Perunthachan, who constructed the Big Temple complex in Thanjavur, Ganapati Sthapati tried to bridge the traditional and the modern architecture.
His creations in the country and elsewhere speak for his all-encompassing knowledge of architecture and sculpture. They include the Tamil University in Thanjavur, Kannagi Kottam built in stone at Poompuhar and over 600 temples in India, the US, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Ganapati Sthapati himself used to say that he was the “last of the ancient clan to be trained in the hoary techniques of Indian sculpture as part of family inheritance.”
“If temple architecture has attained so much fame and development in the modern times, the credit should go to Ganapati Sthapati. When we think about temple architecture, no one but Ganapati Sthapati comes to mind,” said D. Radhakrishana Stapati, a well-known bronze sculptor of Swamimalai and a student of Ganapati Sthapati.
Though his father M. Vaidhyanatha Sthapati, was a well-known sculptor and architect, who created Gandhi Mandapam in Chennai and Karpaga Vinayagar temple in Pillayarpatti, he insisted on Ganapati Sthapati acquiring modern education alongside learning the traditional art. Ganapati studied mathematics at college and mastered the Sanskrit texts on sculpture and architecture.
He was the first principal of the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture at Mamallapuram which had its roots in the training centre set up by his father. He held the post for 27 years.
Ganapati Sthapati lived in Vadakadampadi village near Mamallapuram and wanted to convert his Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation into a university.
“I met him sometime ago and enrolled my son as his student. He wanted to construct a temple for Mayan, the mythical architect,” recalled Radhakrishan Sthapati. He was a winner of various awards including the Padma Bhushan. A documentary — The Living Tradition - Shilpi Speaks — was made on the shilpaic tradition as enunciated by him and won the President's Award for the best documentary in 1992.
Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi condoled his death.
His body will be kept at the Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation at Vadakadampadi, six km from Mamallapuram and the cremation will take place on Wednesday afternoon.
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