Kotai was a 9th-century Tamil Vaishnava poet and mystic, and the author of two poems, the Tiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumoli. Today, she is worshipped as the goddess Andal or Goda, all across southern India, and her arresting poetry finds expression in ritual, music, dance and the visual arts. Her most important temple is in Srivilliputtur, a small town in Tamil Nadu, and believed to be the place of her birth.
In Andal’s Garden takes the reader to Srivilliputtur to explore Andal’s temple, her visualization in painting, sculpture, festival ritual and performance, and the history and sacred landscape of southern Tamil Nadu under the Pandyas and later Nayakas of Madurai. In combining the architectural, literary and theological, this book offers up possibilities of new, interdisciplinary ways of seeing the temple as a living, changing and dynamic space.
Archana Venkatesan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests are in the intersection of text, image and performance in south India.
Crispin Branfoot is Senior Lecturer in South Asian art and archaeology at SOAS, University of London. His research addresses the architecture, sculpture and painting of south India, especially from the 14th to the early 20th century.