Trusting a person with an idea is one thing, but travelling with them not just as a publisher but through our mad creative journey is a whole nother thing. In a world where concepts and ideas are created for so many benefits, to have patiently chartered this course and took us on and gave us the freedom to explore and staying true to the journey, puts Jayashrree – friend, compiler and publisher in a different gamut.

“When we met Jayashrree, it started as a small idea in early 2013, within Jayashrree S Mani, she decided to self publish this series with the aim of recording this religious, artistic and musical journey for generations to benefit and take inspiration from.

We decided to capture every bit of passion with which Jayashrree had first told us about the idea. So what started as a simple book that will have a few pages of songs and scholarly articles became a coffee table book that will be in a sense to time capture history, culture, art, music and all that went in that period of time till today” says Anita Pradeep and Vanita Vasudevan who have taken part time off to work for two years leading up to the book published today.

We tried out 6 different looks, worked meticulously, finding the pictures of all the temples and deities, pictures of history, pictures of singers, and treated them in water colour through specialized artists and then finished them digitally. Among the 8 Art directors we trial ran the concept with we finally chose and worked with Nakul Talgeri, a young, dynamic and award winning art director, who was on a sabbatical between jobs and was willing to work on a concept which was alien to him. But Nakul represented our target audience – young and ambitious, had no time for temples and culture. What inspires and interests him, is what we believed will inspire hundreds and thousands of young Indians, young Tamilians around the world. The book today looks timeless, it will appeal to a person today and it will still do decades after.

We knew the responsibility on our shoulders was huge since the success is not just producing a book, but crafting an art piece that should be the best that could have been made for a unique concept such as Kshetra Sangeetam. And Thanjavur just made it so mind blowing and creatively satisfying for all of us.

The Duo, decided to go back to the roots of it, one thing was clear, as folks from advertising they had a sense of how Art should take a leap in communicating the grandeur of the Kshetra and transport the reader to the Kshetra itself. As they are going through the subject, coupled with the idea of the Album with lyrics available for the reader, it’s a divine experience one can have access to in their living rooms whether in the US or the north pole or in any corner of the world.

“When we actually presented the concept to Jayashrree she jumped up in joy and later when we presented the first visual form of the idea to both Chitra Mahesh and Dr Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam, they could not believe how the small idea of ‘a few pages of a A5 size document’ looked beautiful and exceeded their expectations. We immediately knew that we had a great output at hand and our journey began for the next one year with the book, says Vanita Vasudevan.

The book manages to capture not just the core subject Kshetram and the Sangeetam that revolves around it, but also the mystique of the architecture, the aspects that enthrall a person on ground, beautifully captured to keep it engaging for the younger generation. The book talks to the young at heart, the curious fascinated history seekers, the music lover and the religiously inclined. Unlike anything like this in this genre, the hope of the publisher is to ensure that book reaches a wider audience and explains the aspects of the rich spiritual culture and philosophy around it in an almost personal and relatable manner.

When asked about the effort, Jayashrree’s answer is simple “The two years we spent as a team on the creative aspects of charting the course, of what went into this work of passion, cannot be explained. It has to be felt, an experience I would re-live as many times as possible”.

Compiler and Publisher

Jayashrree S Mani
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