Monday, February 13, 2012

Poetry in Stone - 9

This is ninth in the series on the rich cultural heritage of ancient temples in India. Today we will see how the elephants have been carved from stone in various temples through the centuries.

At the 12th century Chennakesava Temple of Belur there are intricate sculptures and friezes. They include elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics. What interested me is the chain of elephants at the base of the temple.


Watch them carefully and you can see two elephants as if they are interacting with each other. The elephant in the front is turning back and questioning "Why are you pushing me so hard?" See it for yourself below.


In contrast to the red color of 16th century Aghoreshwara Temple of Ikkeri there are two small black stone elephant sculptures at the entrance. Around its neck is a there is intricately carved chain of stone bells.

There are two beautifully carved stone elephants on either side of the entrance of the 9th century Ranganathswamy Temple at Srirangapattana. The carvings on the body of elephant are awesome. 


At the ancient white marble Jain Temple, Ranakpur one can see huge elephant carved in white marble.



In Mahablaipuram at the site of Panch Rathas one can see life-size rock cut elephant. There are many more such beautiful carvings in each of the ancient heritage sites which always mesmerize us.

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63 comments:

Pamela Gordon said...

These carvings are beautiful. I often wonder at the beauty of the architecture of the eastern countries. Have a great week.

Snap said...

Elephants are one of my favorite animals so I loved this post!

Sridharan said...

Super..!

kavita said...

Wonderful !I remember mentioning it before and saying it again that Akshardhan Temple of Delhi is so much inspired by our ancient temples.Many elephants there too , it's a shame that they don't allow cameras .

sangeetsomakumar said...

Hi, I too had observed the intricacies in the sculputes at the Chennakesava temple, Belur, however I must admit, I did overlook the 'whispering elephants'. Thanks for this. :)

aativas said...

The dancing elephants are beautiful!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, the life size elephants are really cool. Awesome photos, Rajesh!

Jeevan said...

Wonderful capture on the elephant sculptures and its details. The conversation between the two elephants is cute and funny! :)

Zuzana said...

Elephants will forever mesmerize me as they do not live wild here in Europe.;))
Love that elephant turning his head.;))
xoxo

Lowell said...

Wow! I wouldn't have noticed the "interaction" if you hadn't pointed it out! Cute. Someone had a sense of humor!

Amazing carvings and sculptures!

DeeBee L. said...

Can i bring one home? :)

Pietro said...

Really interesting carvings. Yes, those two elephants seem to interact with each other, it's amazing.

Carver said...

It is poetry in the stone. Remarkable works of art.

Gary said...

Wow They are all well done. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Ebie said...

This is so interesting. The statues of the elephants even tell a story.

I would love to visit India someday.

Sallie (FullTime-Life.com said...

Amazing that they got that elephant's personality carved in stone way back then -- it sure does look like he's telling the one behind him to quit shoving! I love this post. And I believe that real elephants do share many personality traits with people!

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love the elephants, Rajesh! And what a beautiful place! Superb captures as always. I had trouble accessing your blog earlier -- Blogger has not been very helpful the past few days! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

Indrani said...

Interesting details.

anney said...

Wonderful looking temple! I love the chain of elephants!
Happy RT2 and Happy Valentine's day!

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Genie said...

These are beautiful sculptures of the elephants and the carvings on the building behind are awesome. All of your posts are so amazing. You are really teaching all of us about your wonderful homeplace. genie

chubskulit said...

That's perfect for ABC Wednesday this week. Beautiful captures.

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R Sudhir Kumar said...

Truly Poetry in stone!!

Pieces of Sunshine said...

The carvings are intricate and beautiful.

alicesg said...

Lovely photos of the elephants. My friend's daugther loves collecting anything that's associated with elephants.

LadyFi said...

Those elephants are just lovely!

Stewart M said...

I remember see lots of statues like this when I visited India - thanks for the reminder!

Stewart M - Australia

Leovi said...

Eleantes beautiful sculptures.

Life Ramblings said...

the elephants are so wonderfully carved. thanks for sharing the beauty.

Carver said...

Wonderful sculptures in the stone. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team

anthonynorth said...

More excellent pics. I like that elephant.

Roger Owen Green said...

the elephants are SO cool.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

aka Penelope said...

I like the chain of elephants sculpture a lot. So much nicer to see natural chains instead of the ones humans sometimes put on these wonderful creatures.

photowannabe said...

Amazing master craftsmen.
I like the humor of the two elephants in the frieze.

Liz said...

Beautiful elephants!

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Ash said...

Simply amazing!

Annie said...

I love elephants. They are such majestic creatures and these sculptures do them justice. Your photos are wonderful.

Babooshka JH said...

Definitely nothing like we get here, so beautifully crafted.

Joy said...

Beautiful elephant sculptures especially the chain frieze, its like a connection through time when the craftsman puts something quirky in like that. Love it.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Skill and patience were needed to carve these exquisite beasts!

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Kate said...

A terrific medley of elephants, which is perfect for today. Great carvings.

Al said...

This is amazing, I'm glad you pointed out those two elephants. I can't imagine carving stone like this.

George said...

All of these carvings are beautiful. I like the interacting elephants of your first two pictures.

Eden said...

Beautiful photos. The carvings are amazing.

janaki nagaraj said...

I am from Bangalore myself. Am proud of the heritage and art...lovely pictures.

joshi daniel said...

very nice!

wifetoalineman02 said...

beautiful wall pictures and the elephants too :-) Visiting from RT2, hope that you can return the visit too.

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Regina said...

Fantastic!
Thank you for sharing.

Rajesh said...

Thank you all for appreciating the wonderful craftsmanship of ancient era.

Suzy said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Nisha said...

wow im drooling on ths ganesha array....

Shobha said...

Beautiful historic pictures..

AmitAag said...

Awesome sculpture! Nicely captured!
A great post again! Thank you Rajesh:)

D.Nambiar said...

The Chennakesava temple elephants are so adorable. And the two having a little conversation makes the whole thing a whole lot cuter. It's not very often that we get to see an odd (but super cute) figure like that.

Nice post.

Akshay Kumar G said...

Poetry in stone, indeed. Beautiful architecture and so is your photography. :)

umashankar said...

Beautiful post, but, my dear sir, you have forgotten the elephants of Mayawati! They are as much part of our history as the elephants centuries old!

Chirag Joshi said...

beautiful pictures and description is also good
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Archetypes India said...

We have a saying: Architecture is frozen music. The elephants move as if carrying the temple as if a chariot!!

Ranjana's craft blog said...

Loved this post...the first sculpture is very cute...and your interpretation also...

Arti said...

Amazing. I love the sculptures, the conversing elephants made me smile. Very beautifully chronicled indeed, very beautiful post.

Ashwini said...

Wonderful carvings!!

Ghazala Hossain said...

The flirting elephants are so cute :)

Panchali said...

So rich and beautiful...this is India! Wow....

Rajesh said...

Thank you all for appreciating the craftsmanship.