Short COurse


A beginner's course

Religion is considered the major influence that has inspired the course and progress of the Arts and Architecture in India. It is said the products of Art are not merely aesthetic expressions but means by which the transcendent is brought into the range of human understanding. While the origins of Indian art were nourished by endogenous religious feelings and thought, its subsequent course incorporated Greco-Roman influences, not to mention such as that of Islam and more recently Christianity.

Many religions in India have coexisted and flourished. Their art incorporates sculpture, painting, and objects used in religious services. These are primarily for veneration either in places of worship or in homes. If on display ostensibly for decorative purposes outside the sanctums, the underlying objective is still religious.
Write your awesome label here.
May 12th - Jul 7th 2022

THURSDAYS: 7.30 PM - 9.00 PM


This a new course which follows the influence on the Arts of the many religions in India. The content of this course is new and would suit learners who have attended previous Art and Architecture courses at The Bhavan or complete beginners.

The course will consist of 8 weekly lectures to be held on Thursday evenings starting at 7-30pm. The lectures will be for one hour followed by time for discussion.

The course will be extensively illustrated with slides (many of which kindly loaned by Padmashree Dr. John Marr and his late wife Mrs Wendy Marr who established the course). Handouts and reading lists will be provided.

Optional essay work is also available to those intersted.
Write your awesome label here.

Early Indian Art - Possible Harappan Origins?

We will explore the origins of Indian Art. Here is a statuette that should stimulate discussion about how it might have all started.
On being shown the above Greystone statuette excavated from Harappa, the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1925, Sir John Marshall exclaimed:
"It is the figure of a dancer standing on his right leg, with the body from the waist upwards bent well round to the left, both arms thrown out in the same direction, and the left leg raised high in front. . .I conjecture that he may represent the youthful Siva Nataraja."

Was Marshall, right? Also, were the cylindrical stone objects excavated, Lingams? Was the Indus religion the origin of Hinduism?


The earilerst of the religios which had a palbable impact on Indian artistic developments was buddhism. We will explore how the three most important types of Buddhist architecture the Stupa, Vihara, and the Caitya evolved, and their respective functions. We will study views relating to the change in the representation of Buddha, was it from aniconic to iconic? How, When, and Why did this happen? 


One of the best illustrations of Buddhist Art is found in Cave 1 at Ajanta, easily the most magnificently painted in India. Although devoid of inscriptions, authorities believe it can be assigned to the first half of the sixth century. Just to the left of the entrance of the antechamber, one finds the exquisite painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani, the bearer of the lotus.
Write your awesome label here.
Write your awesome label here.

Jaina Art

Jaina tradition refers to 24 Tirthankaras. They are the ones who conquered karmic worldly deeds by austerities and penances.
We will study some of the Tirthankaras and their depictions in Art – their iconographical attributes and animal representations, shown below their seats.

This is a composite Jain sculpture of four Tirthankaras facing four directions. Let us as an example look at the four Tirthankaras in this sandstone Chaumuka sculpture and their distinguishing features.
Write your awesome label here.

Islamic Art and Architecture

Although there is evidence of Arab visitors to India even before the prophet Mohammed, there is hardly any evidence of its impact on Indian art. It was in the 16th-17th centuries that the Mughal emperors conquered and unified most of Northern India and parts of the Deccan.

We will discuss their legacy and see how Hindu motifs blended with Islamic ones in perfect unity. We will also see the impact of iconoclasm in later years.

Christian Art

India has an estimated Christian population of about 2 to 2.5 million Christians and is mostly in the South, in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is not certain when exactly Christianity arrived in India but there is a strong tradition that it was Thomas who reached the shores of India around 52 AD. He is believed to have established the first churches in Kerala and then travelled to the Coromandel coast, Tamil Nadu, and died twenty years later. He is buried in the San Thome Basilica which is a popular centre visited by hundreds of Christians and Non-Christians. 

Francis Xavier, who came to be known as the “Apostle of Asia”, arrived in Goa in 1542 where he established educational institutions and Churches.  There are also what are described as ‘intriguing artistic exchanges’ between Christianity and Islamic art in early modern history during the time of the Mogul emperor Akbar (1556-1605).  We wil explore some examples. 
Write your awesome label here.

Is this course for me?

  • This course is ideal for anyone wanting an introduction to the richness of Indian Architecture. No prior knowledge is required.  
  • This course will be presented in English.

Times and Dates

This course will take place via ZOOM on Thursday evenings:

Wk. 1: 12 May 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 2: 19 May 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 3:  26 May 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
HM Queen's Jubilee Bank Holiday
Wk. 4: 9 June 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 5: 16 June 2022- 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 6: 23 June 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 7: 30 June 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 8: 7 July 2022 - 19:30 (UK Time)

Sign up Now

Places are limited to 12 participants, so please sign up now to secure your place
Meet the instructor

Dr. Kandiah Sivakumar MBBS, FRCPsych, MA (SOAS), PhD (University of Thanjavur)

Dr. Kandiah Sivakumar has had a lifelong interest in the Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent and has visited many sites that show the richness Indian Art and Architecture.

Siva qualified as a medical practitioner in Sri Lanka and emigrated to the UK in 1977. He worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for over 30 years and served as an Associate Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Pari passu
he continued his interest in the Art 
and Archaeology of the Indian Sub-continent under the guidance of Padmashree Dr. John and Mrs. Wendy Marr. He obtained the Certificate in Art and Archaeology at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London and Completed an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology (South and South East Asia) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

later became a visiting Research Associate at the Department of Sculpture, Tamil University of Thanjavur, India and completed a PhD there. His Thesis was on The Architecture and Iconography of Tiruvarur Tyagrajaswamy Temple Gopuras and he has a series of publications related to his interests.

He has been keenly involved in Temple restorations including Gopuras in the North of Sri Lanka. In the UK he has a keen interest in and has been a supporter of Cultural events such as Bharatanatyam and Karnatic music recitals and has been a compere for many such programmes. Siva is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK).
Patrick Jones - Course author