Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trayambakeshwar Temple, Rishikesh

Trayambakeshwar Temple at the foothills of the mountains in Rishikesh is a important landmark. It is located on east bank of Ganges near Lakshman Jhoola. 

This is a 13-story tall unique temple. In the temple there are murtis of various gods and goddesses.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poerty in Stone - 15

This is fifteenth 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.

The Brihadeswara Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram built in 1020-1029 AD has magnificent carvings on their external walls. One of the sculpture shown above is the true masterpiece. Here Lord Shiva seated on a throne with Uma Parameswari by his side. Lord in his four arms carries axe and antelope in his upper arms; towards the bottom the Lord is seen crowning Chandesa with a garland of flowers. Chandesa is none other than King Rajendra Chola is the embodiment of devotion and piety and the place he attained is considered the highest, a devotee of Siva is privileged with. 

The Airavateswarar Temple at Darasuram, which abounds in architectural and rare sculptural specimens of workmanship. Here is one of the walls of the temple which is beautifully carved.

The Ranganathswamy Temple at Srirangam is beautifully done. The Kalayanmantap with pillars with warriors is exceptionally carved.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mysore Zoo - Spotted Deer

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 spotted deer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chennakesava Temple, Belur

The Chennakesava Temple at Belur is the main shrine in the temple complex. I have been to this temple several times and still there is so much to discover new here every time I visit this place.

This temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Empire in 1117 AD. Within the complex, this temple is at the center  facing east, and is flanked by other sub-shrines in the sides. The pillar facing the main temple, the Garuda sthambha was erected in the Vijayanagar period while the pillar on the right, the Deepa sthambha dates from the Hoysala period. 

The temple is built on a platform using soapstone i.e., five feet high, which runs around the temple closely following its contour. The sanctum has beautifully designed star shape, while the hall is like a cross. This plan gives temple tastefully broken font-ages  The outer walls of the navaranga consisting of basement, railing and pierced screens are ornamented with numerous freezes of sculptures.

Each of the basement friezes has its own artistic merit. The lowest contains hundreds of elephants on the march in various moods and postures. There are ornamental scroll bands running around the temple. There are bands of gods, men and animals in various poses; dancers, hunters, musicians and others are carved on a miniature scale.

The temple has three entrances and their doorways have beautifully crafted with various sculptures and are guarded by decorated sculptures called dvarapalaka on either side. 

There are various sculptures all around the temple of various sizes and shapes. The temple is known for the temple plan and exceptional craftsmanship. We will see more of this temple in other post as one post will not do the justice.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flora Fountain, Mumbai

The magnificent Flora Fountain is located at the Fort area in South Mumbai at one end of Dadabhai Naoroji Road. This is very close to other historic monuments like High Court, Victroa Terminus. 

This beautiful fountain was designed by R. Norman Shaw. This architectural marvel was sculpted by James Forsythe in 1864. It was built in the honor of Sir Bartle Frère, the Governor of Bombay. 

This Neo Classical and Gothic architectural fountain has been carved elegantly using portland stone.

This is a fusion of water, architecture and sculpture, and depicts the Roman goddess Flora which is the ‘Goddess of Abundance’.

Even though if do not get to see the water jetting out of the fountain, it is still a delight for architects and photographers.

I had been to this place by strolling down the road from Church Gate another historic monument. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pelican at Hebbal Lake, Bangalore

Hebbal Lake in north Bangalore is favorite spot for joggers, photography enthusiasts and birds. occupies around 150 acres and has beautiful garden on one side of the lake.

On one of  our early morning outings at the lake we spotted the Pelican. Here are few snaps of the bird. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Statue of Ferdinand Kittel

Ferdinand Kittel was a priest in a church at Southern India. As a missionary he arrived in India in 1853.

He undertook exhaustive studies learning the Kannada language, customs and local music. He is the author of  the first ever Kannada-English dictionary of about 70,000 words released in 1894. He also composed numerous Kannada poems. He also wrote a book on Kannada grammar.

At Bangalore, a  statue on the Mahatma Gandhi road commemorates him.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cave No. 17, Ellora

The Cave No. 17 at Ellora is a Hindu Cave that is constructed between 6th and 8th century during the period of Kalchuri dynasty. 

The cave appears to have two parts because of it's centrally located steps. Though the cave is incomplete, the sculptural work in this cave is marvelous. 

The entrance to the cave with feminine figures on the the pillars is noteworthy.

The interior space is filled with eight huge pillars, disposed in two equally spaced groups of four on either side of a widened central space leading to the shrine. 

Shiva's consort Durga sits to the right of the main mandapa, triumphing over the buffalo demon. She holds the trident, the sword, and the chakra.

Ganesha is on the left of the main mandapa with a cobra around his waist and holding his axe, a rosary, and a flower, while consuming laddus. Below Ganesa are music-making dwarfs, that at the right with a stringed instrument, while the other, painfully constricted, playing cymbals.

Emphasis on female figures in the cave is most obvious from the female brackets. These figures, with their attendants, both standing and flying, line the axis of the cave. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Big Birds of Mysore Zoo - 4

Mysore Zoo is the most popular zoo at Mysore in India. There are various wild animals and birds at the zoo. One of the birds are below:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cave No. 4, Ajanta

This 6th century A.D. cave No. 4 carved out from the mountains at Ajanta is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but never was finished. There is an inscription in the cave, that mentions it was a gift of a person named Mathura.

It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The hall has one main entrance and two-side doors. The decoration on the main door is very grand. 

The outermost frame of door is sculptured with standing couples, flying pairs and sala-bhajanikas. The lintel is carved with seated figures of Lord Buddha. At the upper corners of the door frame are the bracket figures of horses with riders.

The hall has 28 pillars arranged in a square. A few of the columns in the back row are carved. 

That sanctum houses a colossal image of Lord Buddha in preaching pose flanked by Bodhisattvas, and celestial nymphs hovering above. In front of the seat is a congregation of devotees and monks. 

The walls of the sanctum and antechamber are decorated with  six gigantic figures of Lord Buddha with left hand holding hem of the garment. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cannons of Daulatabad Fort

In India, cannons were used effectively for the first time in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. Since then, cannons have become an important component in the battles. The earliest cannons were made of bronze. The range of these cannons varied from 1 to 3.5 kms. 

These cannons were either mounted them on bastions or wooden carriages, with four or two wheels and drawn to the battlefields. 

A large number of cannons are found at Daulatabad Fort 15 kms from Aurangabad, some in their original places like bastions on fort walls and circular towers while others were collected from various locations. Now they have been displayed in the courtyard near the entrance gate.

The cannons range from large to heavy guns. These cannons are made of either bronze or iron - both wrought and cast. Other noteworthy cannons here are Durga cannon, Ram Cannon which is the largest artillery in this fort.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bannerghatta Park - Lion Cub

Bannerghatta Zoo is part of  Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore. The zoo has wide variety of animals and birds. One among them is lion cub.