Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A photo shoot to Thiruvennainallur

It was on 18 Oct 09 that Sathiyan, a pro photo blogger and myself set our cameras to have a photo shoot at the famous temple of Lord Shiva at Thiruvennainallur.

So far, for many years now, I used to have convo with Sathiyan but all only thru online means, but never had a chance through offline. Its simply a wow to have seen him for the first ever time, in person.

He had now come from Banglore to Tindivanam for his Thalai Deepavali (The first deepavali after wedding) and Sunday combined with this Diwali holiday had given us a chance to make out this photo shoot to this famous temple of Lord Shiva.

We planned to shoot the evening sunlight - after 3.00 p.m.

The place is some 45 Kms from my home and I started on my bike at 2.00 p.m.

Hey, Where is it this place?

I hear you asking...

The place Thiruvennainallur is in Villupuram district and nearly 50 kms from Cuddalore. If you are coming from Chennai, the directions are as follows...
From Chennai reach Villupuram on the NH45.
Then continue on the same NH45 towards Ulundurpet side.
You will reach Arasoor a place which comes after some 10 to 12 kms from Villupuram
Now take a right turn
After some 8 kms you will reach Thiruvennainallur.

The above pic was clicked at Arasoor. To the left is Villupuram and the right side is leading to Ulundurpet. I am standing on the road leading to Thiruvennainallur.

Sathiyan reached this spot after a while. The great thing for us was that this is the first time we ever see each other. We quickly set our photo journey on the bike. We had two places in our plan and the first place is a village called Gramam which is 4 kms from Arasoor and it is en-route Thiruvennainallur.

First we reached the Shiva temple at Gramam by about 4.00 p.m. and the temple was found closed. We two were the only visitors and message was passed to the person in charge of opening the temple about our arrival. Meanwhile we had a photo shoot of the people who were passing their time around nearby the temple. That is a good village location and people are having their good time. Its somewhat envious to know that these villagers lead a peaceful life and enjoying the calmness almost all the time. Somewhat a rare scenario for us in our day to day life.

Photo shoot in progress around the temple. First, this little boy made the subject for Sathiyan's click.

This is the after effect of that. Many boys swarmed into the clicking frame of Sathiyan.
Children were too enthusiastic and were competing among themselves to appear before Sathiyan’s camera.

At this instant I found the talent in Sathiyan, on how he makes his subjects comfortable for his click while keeping himself his cool. A bit tricky situation for the photographers in capturing at public places.

As you visit his blog, you will be stunned with nice clicks with natural lighting. Though handling the camera and using the sunlight for photography be played with little effort. Making the subjects, especially the public and making them comfortable is a real big task. I found that skill in him being played at the top of perfection.
A wonderful portrait photographer.

After awhile that person came and opened this temple for us to pay obeisance.

This is the main gopuram of the Shiva temple in "Gramam"

Another click inside the temple.

A cute little girl named Kavitha and her brother Thamizharasan were coming with us when we were inside the temple. Whenever they were clicked they will look at their image on the camera screen and give out a broad satisfying smile.

That is Kavitha

This is Tamilarasan, brother of Kavitha.

The Shiva Lingam.

Behind the scenes. Thamizharasan making a curious look.

The Suriya Bahavan is making his departure. He is important for any photo shoot to succeed.

Kavitha and Tamilarasan.

Tried to capture the sunlight with composure of the shadows and the ancient wooden door. Since mine is a simple mobile phone camera, this is the best I managed to get.

People photography in the progress

After we paid obeisance, we started off for Thiruvennainallur.

Ahh, we have reached.

A government school on the way to the temple.

That is the temple gopuram of this famous temple of Lord Shiva.

What the legend says?

Thiruvennainallur is closely related with the history of Saivite Acharya Sundarar. The saint was in his wedding attire to marry the daughter of Sadangavi Sivachariya. Lord Shiva of the temple intervened in the guise of an old man and claimed Sundarar as his slave and produced documentary evidence signed by his father to substantiate his claim. Sundarar stoutly refuted the claim and called the Lord a lunatic. Unmindful of the retortation of Sundarar, the Lord dragged Sundarar to the Temple and simply disappeared. Realizing that the old man was none other than the Lord himself, Sundarar shed tears of apology. The Lord asked Sundarar to sing on him and suggested that he could use the word Pitha (lunatic) for a start which he used while refuting his claim. That was the first famous hym of Sundarar on Lord beginning with the line “Pitha Pirai Soodi” (Oh! Lunatic Lord wearing the moon) reverently chanted by the devotees. Then he proceeded to the Shiva shrines throughout Tamilnadu and sung his praise.

After entering the temple, on the right side north a mandap could be seen, where the Lord and Sundarar argued and the Panchayat took place. People carry the sand from the place and keep it for their worship. Also the sandals which the lord wore while coming to claim Sundarar is also still available in the temple.

Text source: www.dinamalar.com

Via Sathiyan's blog


A wonderful photography tip I learned from Sathiyan was on how to do silhouetting. I for the first time learning this on my camera and the result is quite awesome.

Its simple, first point your camera to the sun and make the focus. Having your camera focus locked, turn your camera to your subject (Gopuram) and click. A wonderful result in the above picture.

If I am not using this technique in the above picture, then the Gopuram might have appeared brighter and Sun should have appeared dimmer.

Try on your camera. Even this can be tried on mobile phone cameras, provided it has the auto focus facility.


The flag mast of the temple.


Sathiyan making record of the dusk.


This is the temple of Lord's Consort.

The Lord had lead Sambanthar up to the temple, left His sandals outside and went inside the temple. Lord Shiva then appeared at the spot shown above and then disappeared after instructing Sambanthar to sing a song on Him.

That is Sathiyan...

We left this temple and went for another Perumal temple which is nearer to this. By this time, dusk was approaching and there was only one person inside the temple who is looking after this temple.


We paid obeisance to the Lord and set off with fond memories of this historical temple village.

A nice photo walking experience with Sathiyan. He is very good in making his subjects cooperate to his clicks. Very few people master this art in making their subjects comfortable at the quickest possible time. In a place such as not used up to, he makes it bit fast and finishes his captures.

It was totally an awesome experience of photo walking as well learn the art of photography in bits and pieces.


Sathiyan said...

Super writeup Srini. I once again re-visited these places while reading this story. You hyped me a lot :)

ராஜசுப்ரமணியன் S said...

The narration is good and i felt as if i was accompanying you both. photos speak for themselves. i think i have not yet understood the concept of focussing the distant sun and then shooting the temple in the fore ground.If the camera has auto focus, will it not adjust its focus once u change the object?

i will be thankful if you could clarify. i have a sony cyber shot camera with 8.1 mega pixels. i am only an enthusiast and amateur.

Srini said...

@ ராஜசுப்ரமணியன் Sir,

While you click ur camera,
u should be pressing it to the full
while u do so, your camera does two functions
firstly it focuses the object
secondly the shutter clicks to capture the image of the object

the silhouetting technique
press the camera button half way, u will be able to see a green rectangle appearing, this is the indication that the camera has focussed the object.
at this point u need to hold the the button at that half way position,
now it needs to be turned a little to make the gopuram come to the centre.

then pressing the button further will click the shutter to capture the image

VAMANAN said...

I liked being with you thru your comments and pictures. Gud. Keep it up. And thanks

Srini said...

@vamanan Sir

Great to know that u enjoyed my article.
Thank you.

kanakadandi kalyan Chakravarthy said...

very nice narration actually ive moved to nallur 3 months before and i adore ur narration quite impressed....i felt as if i was in temple...

Srini said...

@ Kanakadandi kalyan Chakravarthy Sir
Thanks for your comment

Six years has gone since this article was posted, but nallur has something big to still make this article getting visibility to the noble eyes like you.

thanks once again sir...

Siva kumar said...

Srini Sir, I happened to chance upon your blog while reading about Tiruvennainallur temple. Superb photos. But I would like to point out a few mistakes. In the narration of some photos of the temple, instead of sundarar, sambanthar has been mentioned. Pl. correct it.

N.C. Sivakumar
email: getsivam@yahoo.co.in