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Friday, December 9, 2022

Dancing Krishna of Rameshwaram located in Indianapolis museum

Mathura is the holy place where Bhagwar Sree Krishna was born…. ~ the centre of what is fondly referred as Braj bhoomi.  Remember Lord was born in a prison cell at Mathura, the capital of Surasena kingdom ruled by Kamsa, the maternal uncle of the Lord.  

ஆடாது அசங்காது வா, கண்ணா உன்

ஆடலில் ஈரேழு புவனமும் அசைந்து அசைந்தாடு எனவே (ஆடாது)  .. ..

.. .. ..   சின்னம் சிறு பதங்கள் சிலம்பொலித்திடுமே அதை

செவிமடுத்த பிறவி மனம் களித்திடுமே

பின்னிய சடை சற்றே வகை கலைந்திடுமே – மயில்

பீலி அசைந்தசைந்து நிலைகலைந்திடுமே


A beautiful keerthana of Oothukkadu VEnkata Subba Iyer in raam Madhyamavathi

A nice voice rendition that of Amy Poster, Curator describes that :  this is dancing  Krishna, the idol is adored, worshipped and taken out in procession.

Thangachimadam is a village in Rameswaram island.  Vijaya Raghunatha Sethupathi [1711-1725] had appointed his son-in-law Dhandapani Thevar (who married both his daughters Sivagami Nachiyar and RajaLatchumi Nachiyar) as Governor of Rameshwaram and its administration. Later Sethupathi have built Chathira Madams in remembrance of his daughters known as Akkal Madam and Thangachi Madam on the respective places of their death, to serve the pilgrims with food and place for pilgrims to stay – a measure of Aram and dharmam.  

There are many temples in the island of Rameswaram. Ekantha Ramaswamy Temple is a big temple but not in great shape.  The temple by the side of national highway is located eight kilometer from Rameshwaram Jyotirlingam Temple (Ramanathaswamy Temple). Inside the temple stands handsome Sree Rama with Seethadevi nd Lakshman. By some accounts, Lord Rama held his counsel of war here while the Ram Setu was being built  In the outer verandah of this temple is the spring called Amrit Vapi - the well that confers immortality.    Abdul Kalam Memorial, is  located close by. 

The deity of Sri Ekantha Ramaswamy Temple has been eulogized by Thyagaraja in his composition.  Maharashtra Brahmin community and philanthropists of various places of India have contributed a lot since several centuries to ensure the daily religious rituals & to upkeep the structure. In 1963, a philanthropist from Kolkata, Koundhlala Bhangur, donated liberally for renovation. The temple is run as a trust & managed by Arya Maharashtra Brahmins.

Thousands of miles away, in Nov 1883,  an exhibition of 453 works by 137 artists opened at the English Hotel on the downtown Indianapolis Circle. It was the first exhibition organized by the Art Association of Indianapolis, which well-known suffragette May Wright Sewall, her husband Theodore, and a small group of art-minded citizens had formed a few months earlier. In the process, they wrote the mission statement that spelled out their intentions. The success of that exhibition, which attracted sizable crowds throughout its three-week run, established the Art Association as  viable.   In 1969, the Art Association changed its name to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is an encyclopedic art museum located at Newfields.    The entire campus and organization was previously referred to as the Indianapolis Museum of Art, but in 2017 the campus and organization were renamed "Newfields" to better reflect the breadth of offerings and venues.  The Indianapolis Museum of Art is the ninth oldest  and eighth largest encyclopedic art museum in the United States.  Indianapolis  colloquially   Indy, is the state capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County.  

Today media reports state that CID Idol Wing department has traced a Dancing Krishna idol, stolen from Ekantha Ramaswamy Temple of Thangachimadam of Ramanathapuram in 1966, to Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana, USA. Temple executive officer G Narayani submitted a petition on November 23 claiming that three or more idols, including the Krishna idol, were stolen in 1966.  As no image of the dancing Krishna idol was available in the temple records, the Idol Wing sought and obtained help from the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) and verified the photo images.

DGP, Idol Wing, K Jayanth Murali said,  Six digital images from IFP helped the wing conclude that the temple originally had 12 metal idols in 1958. It appears that  six idols had been stolen. A probe and an expert comparison report revealed that the Dancing Krishna idol was purchased by the museum.

The museum exhibit shows the beautiful idol of Lord Krishna and its  provenance reads :  Mr. and Mrs. Norris Gary Chumley, Bloomington, Indiana; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1986.

Hopefully Lord Sree Krishna is retrieved back to the rightful place of Temple and is accorded daily pujas and other rituals.  Idols are meant to be kept in temples and worshipped – certainly not in museums as exhibits.  It is sad to know that in many village Temples, the presiding idol is taken away and kept elsewhere in some other temple under the garb of security. If HR&CE cannot provide security to the main idol of the temple, what right do they have to manage !! 

In 1945, the Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, commanded by Captain Charles McVay, delivers parts of the atomic bomb that would later be used to bomb Hiroshima at the end of World War II. While patrolling in the Philippine Sea, on July 30 in 1945, the unescorted ship is torpedoed and sunk by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine I-58, taking 300 crewmen with it to the bottom of the Philippine Sea, while the rest climb out of the ship and were left stranded at sea for five days without food and water in shark-infested waters.

The foregoing is the plot line of – ‘USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage’  ( Disaster in the Philippine Sea, a 2016 American war disaster film directed by Mario Van Peebles  based largely on the true story of the loss of the ship of the same name in the closing stages of the Second World War.  

Praying to Lord Sree Krishna that HE returns back and we worship him daily.


adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar
9th Dec 2022 


  1. Ekantha Ramar temple is A Private temple
    Managed by HEREDITARY trustee of Arya Maharshtra Brahmin.