When you get a book which you never knew existed till the moment you set your eyes on it, which turns out to be a treasure, is a boon to every book worm.
Such was my state when my quest for some interesting books in Vijaya Publication House, Coimbatore turned up the novel Yali (Tamil) by Mani Thanigai Kumar, published by Karpaga Industries, Kanyakumari Disrict.
The cover drew my attention. It depicted an ancient beast by name of Yali depicted in all our Tamil Nadu temples , in all its splendor, towering over an elephant. As a small boy, I have often wondered at this mythical beast statue in the temples I visited-Thanjavur, Iravatheeswara temple, Sri Rangam , et al.For the cover of the book, please visit http://nvsvivek.wordpress.com/my-uncles-yali-book/
That some one could fashion out a story on this mythical beast, with a background of Indo-British connection with a twist along the plot was an enticing one. The novel is in Tamil, with the original short story in English at the end of the book.
The plot revolves around the mythical beast called Yali with a lion’s face, elephant’s tusk. What happens if a beast, 4 times bigger than an elephant and being the predecessor to the dinosaurs was alive even today? This inquisitive thought leads Beckman, a design architect in London and Saravana Kumar, an Indian working in London to team up together and begin a search for the Yali.
It would have been a mere search had not for the excellent information the writer gives you about the various temple architechture of Tamil Nadu through out the book. Via Beckman’s words, he makes the reader aware of the immense potential and cultural value of our temples and the need to preserve them.
As Beckman researches each temple in search of the Yali, Saravana Kumar has a transforming experience trying to explain to him the significance of the temples and the habits and customs. As he explains them, Saravana Kumar undergoes a transformation from a skeptical person to one who resolves to protect the knowledge and heritage of his country. Such is the effect that the writing produces that we, the reader is left amazed at the wealth of informastion and knowledge that lies hidden in our temples. It is not for time pass that our elders asked us to visit temples. Any one who reads the history of our country, particularly Tamil Nadu will understand the point easily. Even easier for a person who has actually visited these temples and observed them.
This is a must read book and worthy of collection. For only through book of this genre that we come to know our own value as there is none left to tell us.
All is there for us to find out ourselves. We only have to go and see for ourselves.
Some more Yali pictures for you:
Yali in Vittala temple