metal hindu statue

Destination - Tamil Nadu, South India


Lying on the banks of the biggest river in South India, the Cauvery, Swamimalai is a center for casting statues and we will visit a local master craftsman where the age-old tradition is still alive. Statues of deities are traditionally cast using a sacred alloy of gold silver, copper, iron and zinc. Swamimalai is also the home of a famous temple to Murugan, son of Siva that commemorates a time when Murugan taught his father the meaning of the sacred syllable OM.

Gasnesha in anandham swamimalai

Casting Metal statue in swamimalai

Casting a Metal Statue

We'll spend an afternoon with master craftsman, Suri Narayanan, who will share with us all about casting a metal statue. It is a tradition that is hundreds of years old and still very much alive in Swamimalai today. Suri creates amazing statues (see black and white photo at the very top of this page) for temples and homes around the world.

Bottom left photo shows Suri displaying a wax model of a statue. The statue is then covered in clay and molten metal poured into this clay mold (photo left). The clay mold is then cooled (bottom middle photo) then the rough metal statue is worked on till a finish product is achieved (bottom right).

Metal casting in Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu

Casting a Metal Statue

Suri Narayanan shares and demonstrates the traditional process of casting a metal statue. Suri lives in Swamimalai, South India and creates amazing metal statues for temples and homes.

enjoying a traditional South Indian banana leaf meal, in Tamil Nadu.

Eating with your Hands

The art of eating with your hands is not something everyone is familiar with. On this journey you'll relearn what you knew to do when you were 3 years old, that is, to eat with your hands. The fingers are used to pick up the food then using the thumb, the meal is pushed into the mouth.

South Indian meals are served on a banana leaf that has been cleaned with warm water. Vegetables are placed on the top half of the leaf, and rice, sweets, and snacks on the other half.

Beautiful Swamimalai

Highlights of a beautiful morning in Swamimalai. First a bullock cart ride through a village, then followed by a coconut tree climbing and coco picking demo. We enjoyed drinking fresh coconut water as well! Then a deer at the beautiful Anandham Swamimalai Resort steals some bananas. Plus visiting a local sari weaver.

Visiting the home of a sari weaver, South India

Visiting the Home of a Sari Weaver

What looks like a humble village home from the outside is a little more than what meets the eye. Stepping through the low doorway, an open air courtyard reveals itself, friendly faces greet us and we've just entered the weaver's home. A traditional weaving machine made from wood, an engineering marvel in itself, takes up half the room. From this, fabulous colorful saris are intricately woven. Join us as we meet some of the finest sari weavers of southern India and learn about the art of weaving together a myriad of colors into a spellbinding strip of unstitched cloth fit to drape royalty.

Weaver's wife displays a sari they have spent 2-weeks producing Back to the top Making kollam out of rice flour in swamimalai, Tamil nadu, South India