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Potter's Trail


God first created man in his image, and now, men create Gods in their mould! Discover this time-worn tale unravels itself in the happenings of an archetypal Indian village – sunburned and sleepy. At the village potter’s workspace, watching him surrounded by dolls of all sizes, in various stages of the making and you will recall many such visits across the expanses of rural India. Yet each one has its own narrative to share. It could be related to the native clay… the water… the very sunlight, which impacts the making…giving it a slight twist to what you would find elsewhere.

Why you will love it

  • Discover the special narratives of pottery-making that are individual to the Madurai experience
  • Learn why are earthen horses, made by the velars (members of the potter community) are offered to the deity Ayyanars here?
  • Savour the magical moments when humble clay transforms into the divine under the skilled hands of the artisan

What you will experience

Join us on a visit to Tamil potters’ village, and watch mud go from the mundane to the sublime. As you enter the village precincts the first to welcome you appears to be a host of clay dolls that range from all sizes, and in various stages of making. This is when it comes home to you that this village plays host to the deities– even if it is in the form, lovingly, crafted by their own hands from the village soil.

In the artisan’s workspace watch magic created by a simple villager, who by plying his ancient craft becomes a creator; someone, who can, just by the studied movement of his hands, transform basic clay into a work of art – be it deity or a horse. Marvel at the dexterity of those hands as they gently pack hundreds of dolls into a fire to bake them; immerse yourself in the rich nuances of their skilful application of the paint brushes to bring a blush to an earthen cheek.

At the local Ayyanar temple, we discover the colourful terracotta horses, a unique tradition in these parts. These terracotta horses themselves are imbued with deep symbolism. Why you may ask are earthen horses offered to Gods here? Herein lies an interesting story. Intrinsic to the Tamil village pantheon, Ayyanar is also referred to as a ‘viran’ or a brave one, a warrior who rides horses, brandishes a trident and fights demons and protects the villagers.  Most Tamil villages have an Ayyanar shrine. Dotted all across the Tamil landscape you will discover these small statues of terracotta horses as well as more than life-sized, colourfully painted cement horses, often with warriors straddling them, as they as they are revered as the guardians of the villages. Votive offering of terracotta horses for good rainfall and a good harvest is quite the norm in rural areas here.

Stock up your memory bank with stories that run the gamut of history, mythology, tradition, and fantasy, unravelled for you by the villagers, the priests and the craftsmen …

On Request | 3 hours | Family Tours


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