Monday, April 30, 2012

Poetry in Stone - 10

This is tenth in the series on the rich cultural heritage of ancient temples in India. Today we will see sculptures on the external walls or pillars of the temple. In Gwalior at Gwalior Fort, the 9th century Teli Ka Mandir has some nice carvings at the entrance of the temple. They are distorted now, but they could have been wonderful when intact.

The 16th century Veerabadhra Temple of Lepakshi has excellent carvings. The pillars of the temple are beautifully carved. Some of the pillars have musicians playing musical instruments carved on them.

The Brihadeswara Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram built in 1020-1029 AD has magnificent carvings on their external walls. There are carvings of various forms of Lord on the external surface of the temple. We will see two of these sculptures here. First one is that of Lord Harihara.

The second one is that of Ardhanareeshwar, i.e., half form is of male and other half is female.

The left half is Lord Shiva and the right half is Goddess Parvati. This can be clearly seen from the face, body and dress.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lalbagh Flower Show - Orchids - 12

At flower show in Lalbagh Gardens at Bangalore on January 2011 there were exclusive collection of Orchids on display. The colors were amazing. Below is one of the orchids on display:

There were stalls selling the Orchids plants outside the flower show. The price ranged from Rupees 600 to 1200 depending on the variety.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mariamman Teppakulam, Madurai

Mariamman Teppakulam in Madurai is the biggest temple tank in Southern India. This is 5 kms east of the famous Meenakshi Temple and it is here annual float festival is organized.

The tank measuring 1100 ft by 950 ft is built by King Tirumalai Nayak in 17th century and is fed by water from Vagai river through an ingenious system of underground Channels.

At the center of the tank is a shrine of Lord Vinayaka.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Orissa Calling

A trip to Orissa state has been in the waiting for a long time now. And finally it happened over the last week. The week long tour of the state with the family is a memorable experience. We started from Bangalore on a Friday morning by flight to Bhubaneshwar the state capital.

On our landing at the new place, hot weather welcomed us. But when we stepped out of restaurant after lunch we were greeted by rain. So the entire trip we had a climate which was hot at times and rainy or cloudy otherwise. On day one, we visited Udaygiri and Khandgiri Jain heritage and then moved to Puri.

At Puri on day two, we visited famous Jaganath Temple among other places. The visit to the beach was enjoyed by the kids most. The we proceeded to biggest lake in India, Chilka Lake. We spent more than 3 hours in the lake which is known for migratory birds.

On day three we visited World famous Konark Temple. The Ancient World Heritage Site is beauty. Every corner of the temple speaks volumes. From Konark we moved to little known places such as Buddhist Site Kurma and ancient temple at Chaurasi.

On day four, we left Puri to Bhubaneshwar via Buddhist site Dahuli. At Bhuwaneshwar we visited world famous Lingaraj Temple and many other ancient temples. The old area of the city has many of these temples.

On day five, we left this city to Kendrapara our next destination which is close to Bhuddist triangle Udaygiri, Ratangiri and Lalitgiri. It was pretty late in the day, but we still managed to see all the places here.

On day six, we visited wildlife sanctuary Bhitarkanika. The place is famous for salt water crocodiles and migratory birds. We were lucky to spot at least few of them even in the off season. From this place we traveled back to Cuttack.

On day seven, we did the local site seeing at Cuttack covering temples, museum, fort. Then on our way back to Bhubaneshwar we visited the Nadankanan zoo.

On day eight, we were on train back to Bangalore. Thus the short trip of Orissa with family was memorable for all as it had something for everyone like heritage monuments, museum, temples, wildlife, lake, beaches, birds.

We shall soon explore these places in more detail.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Diwan-i-khas, Fathepur Sikri

Diwan-i-khas or Hall of Private Audience is located in the northeast corner of the royal complex, Fathepur Sikri.

It is a red sand stone square symmetrical building measuring 13.18 m on each side. The building has minimal decorations on the exterior with windows filled with a perforated stone screen. At the top there are four beautiful chatris one at each corner. They are octagonal in shape and have a circular dome with an inverted lotus on the top.

But, the central pillar of the building is very ornamental with intricate carvings on it. The pillar has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs.

The pillar has thirty-six serpentine brackets that support a circular platform at the top and it is connected to each corner of the building, by four stone walkways. There are various designs even on the stone pathways.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Madurai, City of Jasmine

This city situated on the banks of river Vaigai is one of the ancient city. Megasthenes had been here in the 3rd century BC, and he had then referred to this city as "Methora" in his works. As it is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and glorious traditions, Madurai is included in the group of antique cities present in India. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities.

During Later it was ruled by Cholas and then Nayaks. The city is home fo r literary wealth. The rulers of the city were great warriors, poets and connoisseurs of art. The city has been a center for learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. It is even called ‘The Athens of the East’. The fragrance of Jasmine flowers of the city are unique, and hence it is called "City of Jasmine".

The places of interest in the city that I have seen are:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mysore Zoo - Black Swan

Mysore Zoo is the most popular zoo at Mysore in India. There are various wild animals and birds at the zoo. One among them is black swans.

This is a nice place for the kids to get know about the various animals in the wild.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Devrayan Durga

What going to unfold here is just not an interesting story, but a roller-coaster ride. It was some time since we went on an outing other than regular shopping on weekends. So we decided to go out for family lunch on Sunday. But after discussion with couple of family friends the lunch changed into picnic cum site seeing to Devrayan Durga 65 kms from Bangalore

It was uneven path all the way to the top through the bushes, trees and over the steep boulders. But, it was a exciting adventure of hiking to the top and for the kids first of its kind.

The path is so narrow at some places people can move only in one direction while people in the opposite direction have to wait for you to pass by. Finally we made it to the the top and the cool breeze at the top even in the summer rejuvenates all.View from the top is awesome and the temple at the base of the hillock looks great from top. 

After refreshing for some time we started to move back from the summit. While on our way back we were more confident and wanted to do it on our own without support of others. At one of the place a member of our team slipped and fell down and had to sit their for few seconds before starting again.

We have given the exact spot name of the person as "The XXXX Drop" One will surely not miss this spot as that is the only route to the top. All said, this was one trip we will not forget for our lifetime. It was fun, excitement, adventurous and kids truly loved it.

There are two temples in this area located at different levels which are worth a visit:

Monday, April 2, 2012


Lepakshi in Andra Pradesh state is at a distance of 130 kms away from  Bangalore. The place is famous for its silk saris with artificial zari borders. It is also popular for wood carvings.

As per mythology this was the place Lord Rama when searching for his abducted wife Sita, he found fallen bird Jatayu here. He commanded the bird to rise by saying, “Le Pakshi” which over time became Lepakshi.

For lovers of heritage here are:
Even though one can reach the place by either bus or train, the convenient mode of transport is by car. Start early to this place as it gets hotter later in the day.