stories in stone #3
The Chandela Pageant of Life

Loaded 04 March 2015.

Stories in Stone

This is the latest in a series that celebrates the intersection of human culture - great music and mighty tales told in stone.

Khajuraho???

Everyone's heard of the Taj Mahal  , but have you ever heard of the Temples of Khajuraho?  Or the Chandela kings?   No, neither had we.

As our last stop before Delhi after nearly 4 weeks in India; and seeing wave after wave of the most amazing palaces, forts and temples; and the Taj; we were not expecting great things. The Khajuraho temples were billed as having "erotic art" and that was about it.

The Master Sculptors!

But what greeted us was rank upon rank upon rank of the most exquisite high relief sculptures. Incredible expressions. Amazingly delicate features. And a veritable cornucopia of men, women and gods going about their business. Including the "so-called" erotic statues.

This video does not feature any of the erotic carvings, but load up this truly awesome 4.3MB "pageant" picture ...
... and you will see much. Your call if it has crossed over the line from eroticism to outright pornography! I know what I think.

And their presence is a deep mystery to scholars pondering the purpose of such public explicitness.

The Pageant

Some may think the pageant featured in this video is one of the lesser treasures of Khajuraho, and they are right. These sculptures are only about 50cm tall where the really exquisite work is about 1m tall; and this shows up in some more crude carving here than you'll see in a later video. But what is missing in quality is made up in the sheer diversity and ebullience of these little carvings, and the fact that this South wall alone is 45 metres of Medieval Chandelan life!

64,000 pixels wide

This is the first Story in Stone where I've known more or less that I'd be doing something at the time of photographing. So before we flew out for Delhi, I ducked back and tried my hand at getting more and better photos, including the 22 pictures that, when stitched together, show the full 45m of pageant on the Lakshmana Temple base's South wall. The stitching is not perfect. But its pretty good. You'll see only one or two flaws in what you see in the video.

Technical Snippets

As always, I ask "When will I get a project that is not problematic?"

No new software this time, thank goodness. But I did manage to corrupt the fly-in-fly-out file from SinS #2 on which I'd spent much time setting up for the next one. Ah well! Have set it all up again and done much better in the process.

Scans and pull-backs in the video editor remain rubbish so I was driven into trusty Carrara  again but got random streaks of white on my black background. This could both be worked-around in video editing and was fixed by a driver update at the suggestion of the techs.

But the BIG one was in the final earth-floating-in-space where the starfield would randomly render pure . I eventually managed a work-round for the starfield, but could never find a good work around for the beautiful interaction of the starfield and the earth's atmosphere. Acres of trying and acres of tracking down when the problem comes into the file (because early renders did not have the problem). Plenty of support from the techs in Utah, but the problem just would not show up on their equipment.

And then by pure chance, trying all sorts of desperate work arounds, I made the problem disappear, and it has not come back. Un-child the starfield from the camera (childing being the cleanest way to make the starfield appear static to the moving camera). Then re-child. For the record, I'd had this problem before and worked around it by scrapping the file and starting afresh. I did this again here but the problem re-emerged at some stage.

So please make sure you stick around for the final earth-in-space and enjoy the gorgeous light effects in the atmosphere. Even the techs in Utah thought it was "awesome", and they must see lots of good stuff.

Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy "The Chandelan Pageant of Life", exquisite sculpture from nearly 1,100 years ago!

The Lakshmana Temple is a part of the UNESCO Khajuraho Group of Monuments World Heritage Site.

The Earthmaps used for the fly-in / fly-out sequences can be found at Visible earth  specifically Blue Marble  along with a whole lot of other goodies.

Click into Gallery SIS-3 to see the images used in the video in a new tab.