Gargoyles : scary but beautiful too
- Dr Sharad Singh
In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved or formed grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between.
Sheila Kumar, writer, manuscript editor and author says in her article 'Mystique of the misshapen' that – "Gargoyles are traditionally thought to have been created during the Medieval period but examples date back to some ancient civilisations as well. They have been found on the roofs of Egyptian temples where their mouths served, of course, as a spout for water. Greek temples had their own version of gargs, often lions and other ferocious animals. The temple of Zeus originally had 102 lion-headed gargoyles or spouts, 39 of which remain. Europe, of course, is gargoyle heaven; they dot buildings in Toledo in Spain, Trondheim in Norway, Hillerod in Denmark, Vienna in Austria, Brugge and Mechelen in Belgium, Cologne in Germany, Zagreb in Croatia, and across the Netherlands and Portugal. Strangely, they are found also in Quito in Ecuador, the Forbidden City of Beijing, Ottawa in Canada, and Sydney in Australia. Closer home, a Shiva temple just outside Kollengode in Kerala and the temples of Uttarakhand come to mind, though these Indian spouts resemble your regular lion, horse and elephant. The gargs on newly-built structures usually have the mask of a raakshas or demon.
Virtually all the old Gothic churches in France sport gargs of varying monstrous proportions. The ones atop the Notre Dame in Paris have been a tourist attraction for ages, while the U.K. has its fair share atop the ancient academic buildings of Oxford, in Manchester, at Westminster Cathedral, at Winchester Cathedral, and in Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Wales, Ireland and in the many abbeys of Scotland."
But I found a big difference between western and Indian gargoyles that Indian gargoyles have rich and soft aesthetic elements by the sculpture, while western gargoyles have scary and hard elements in aestheticaly aproch. Everyone can see these differences by the photographic examples given belowe-