What if, you are in the middle of a gathering of 10 lakh (million) people all moving in the same direction with 45 feet tall chariots in-between them. Maybe wake up from your surrealistic dream and go about your day? But for some, it is a passionate journey towards being closer to their beliefs. And passion has always excited me. It is a customary journey for the God’s to their maternal uncle’s home once a year in the Jagannath Temple of Puri, a growing seaside town of Orrisa. In this divine union of humanity, even the Gods comply and have been making the journey year after year for more than a 1000 years. The day itself is mesmerizing, but the journey towards it is even more unbelievable. Every year three 45 feet tall functional chariots are created and deconstructed. And let me tell you it’s not just a technical masterpiece that’s created, it’s an art piece in itself. As a part of habit, a designers mind questions as to how, and the answer is simple, the genius lies in the Design of the system of function.
The creation of the moving art pieces is a multi-disciplinary collaboration done annually with religious precision and discipline of huge proportions involving artists, craftsmen, structural engineers, managers, and many others. And this is a practice which in various forms of cultural celebrations, paintings, sculptures, religious constructions and sustainable objects of daily use has been visible through time and regions across Indian Subcontinent. The idea of a Unified Concept of Co-Creation is a part our identity and a part of our Indian school of thought and a valuable contribution to humanity.
The concept of a unified creative process has been an integral part of the culture in the Indian Subcontinent, and as mentioned in the book, Design The Indian Context by H Kumar Vyas, the present day distinction between art and craft in the Indian subcontinent was conceived as a single process of creation till about 200 years ago when the western system of categorization had its influence in the field of
Kala, meaning: “to perceive in order to understand and accomplish”.
The passion in Spirituality and culture has been responsible for preserving our heritage of the genius in sustainable co-creation with artistic beauty. As responsible designers, we should respect our brilliant and inspiring culture as well as a call out to collaborate with fellow designers, artists, craftsmen, historians, architects, across borders in thought and action to discover celebrate and be inspired by the masterpieces of systems and objects from various cultures that have been an integral truth and part of India.