Pepita Seth: Recipient of Padma Shri

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 6/2/2020 11:10:19 AM

Pepita Seth is a British born writer and photographer, known for her accounts of the temple arts and rituals of Kerala and her photographs of the widely celebrated captive elephant, Guruvayur Keshavan. She was honored in 2012, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award, Padma Shri for her services to the field of art and culture. Pepita Seth was born in Suffolk, England, in a family of farmers. Pepita's maternal great grandfather was a soldier who served in the army in the British India. As was the custom during those days Pepita being a girl, did not have any formal education. She chooses a career in films studied, film editing and got opportunities to work under film directors like Ted Kotcheff and Stanley Donen. However, Pepita's life took a turn when she chanced upon the diary of her grandfather and decided to trace his trails with the British Army and document the movements and landed in Kolkata, in 1970.The journey from Kolkata ended in Guruvayur where she became fascinated by the temple arts and rituals of Kerala. For the next nine years, she visited Kerala several times and in 1979, she found a home and settled in Guruvayur. Though, at first, she was denied entry to the Guruvayur Temple, her persistence made the Guruvayur Devaswom Board to relent and she remains the only foreigner to be granted entry to the Temple. Pepita Seth has extensively covered the rituals and temples of Kerala through her photographs. Her photographs of the elephant, Guruvayur Keshavan have been published in many magazines and journals including the New York Times and the Guardian. It is generally considered that Pepita's photographs of the rituals and temple arts of Kerala have helped promote the image of Kerala as a tourist destination. Pepita Seth has authored two books on Kerala, with accounts and photographs. Heaven on Earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple is a research study on the Guruvayur Temple and the life, traditions, beliefs, myths and rituals associated with the place. It also covers the elephants fostered by the temple, especially Guruvayur Keshavan, widely regarded as the most famous of them all. The book follows an account with photographs style and has represented the information gathered from various sources.


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