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Friday, 28 October 2016

Hoysala Expedition Part 47: Kedareshwara Temple, Balligave

Well, a Hoysala Temple Write-Up after a long time, and not entirely "Hoysala" for that matter too. This is a long pending blog post about the temple that stands as testimony to "the handing over of the baton", so to speak, from the Kalyani Chalukya Architecture to the Hoysala Architecture - The Kedareshwara Temple in Balligave, Shikaripura Taluk in Shivamogga.


The town of Balligave must be celebrated as one of the most important centers of art and architecture in the history of Karnataka. After all, this is the birth place of Shantala Devi, a great exponent of the traditional Indian dance forms, a devout Jain, and the Queen of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. This is where the best of the sculptors of the later Kalyani Chalukya era and the initial Hoysala era hailed from - Dasoja, Malloja, Maniyoja, Siddoja, Nadoja and more. This is where they got their hands on a huge mine of soapstone (Chlorite Schist) that took the beauty and the possibilities of intricacies in Indian sculptures a few notches higher than ever before.


The Kedareshwara Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva, dedicates the name of Dakshina Kedara (Kedareshwar of the South) to Balligave. The temple was initially constructed by the Western Chalukya regime, and then around 1060 AD, Hoysala King Vinayaditya is known to have given enormous amounts of donation and has added the typical Hoysala emblem of Sala slaying the lion on top of the Shikharas of two of the three sanctums. The temple is a Trikuta shrine, with Kedareshwara Linga in the main sanctum, a Brahma Linga in another, and a statue of Janardana form of Vishnu in the third. The temple sanctums also house statues of Suryanarayana and Bhairava.



All around the temple, the transition from Chalukya Architecture to Hoysala is very clearly noticeable. The temple is maintained in great shape, has one of the most beautiful Nandi statues you will come across all over Karnataka, and seems to have been the primary inspiration for many of the following Hoysala temples of the next 100 years, including the famous ones at Belur and Halebidu.

Here is a video:


Friday, 7 October 2016

ಮಂಜಿನ ಸಂಜೆಯ ಅರಣ್ಯವಾಸ್ತವ್ಯ - Kannada Translation of "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost


An old attempt at translation of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" to Kannada:

ಮಂಜಿನ ಸಂಜೆಯ ಅರಣ್ಯವಾಸ್ತವ್ಯ

ಅಡವಿಯಿದು ಯಾರದೆಂದಿದೆಯೆನಗೆ ಅರಿವು
ಹಳ್ಳಿಮನೆಯೊಳಗುಂಟು ಇದರೊಡೆಯನಿರವು
ನಾನಿಲ್ಲಿ ತಂಗಿದ್ದನವ ತಿಳಿಯಲಾರ
- ನೋಡುತ್ತ ಅವನಡವಿಯ ಮಂಜು ಮುಸುಕಿದ ಹರವು

ವಿಚಿತ್ರವೆನಿಸಬಹುದೆನ್ನ ತೇಜಿಗೀ ವ್ಯವಹಾರ
ಹೊಲಮನೆಯಂಗಳವಿಲ್ಲದೆಡೆ ಬಿಡಾರ
ಹೆಪ್ಪುಗಟ್ಟಿದ ಹಳ್ಳ ಅಡವಿಗಳ ನಡುವೆ
ಅತಿಕರಾಳ ಸಂಜೆಯಂದು ತಳೆದ ಈ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ

ರಿಂಗಣಿಸಿದೆ ಹೂಡುಗಂಟೆ ಮೈಯನೊಮ್ಮೆ ಕೊಡವೆ
ತಪ್ಪಾಗಿದೆಯೇನೊ, ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನೋಡೆಂಬ ಗೊಡವೆ
ಸುತ್ತಲಿನ ಪರಿಸರ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಪ್ರಸನ್ನ
ಹಗುರ ಹವೆ ಹಿಮಪಾತ, ಉಳಿದಂತೆ ಜಡವೆ

ಕತ್ತಲಿದೆ ಗಹನವಿದೆ ಅಡವಿಯಿರಬಹುದು ಚೆನ್ನ
ನಡೆಸುವುದಿದೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಹಲವು ಮಾತುಗಳನ್ನ
ಮೈಲುಗಳ ಪಯಣವಿದೆ ಕಣ್ಣ ಮುಚ್ಚುವ ಮುನ್ನ
ಮೈಲುಗಳ ಪಯಣವಿದೆ ಕಣ್ಣ ಮುಚ್ಚುವ ಮುನ್ನ...

-ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ




The original from Robert Frost:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

- Robert Frost

Saturday, 1 October 2016

ಎತ್ತ ಹೋಯಿತೆನ್ನ ಬಾಲ್ಯ

A very old poem in Kannada that I had written over 15 years ago...

ಎತ್ತ ಹೋಯಿತೆನ್ನ ಬಾಲ್ಯ

ಎಳೆಯ ಹೊಂಬಿಸಿಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ
ಹೊಳೆಯ ದಂಡೆಗುಂಟ ಓಡಿ
ಮಳೆಬಿಲ್ಲಿನ ಮಾದಕತೆಯ
ಹೊಳೆವ ಕಂಗಳಲ್ಲೆ ಹಿಡಿದ
ಎಳೆಯತನದ ದಿನಗಳೆಲ್ಲ
ಕಳೆದುಹೋದುವೆಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದು?

ಗುಬ್ಬಿಗಳ ಕಲರವಕ್ಕೆ
ಹಬ್ಬಗಳ ಸಡಗರಕ್ಕೆ
ಕಬ್ಬು ಮಾವು ಸಜ್ಜಿಗೆಗೆ
ಹುಬ್ಬೇರಿಸಿ ಕಣ್ಣರಳಿಸಿ
ಸಭ್ಯರಾಗಿ ಕಾಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದ
ಹೆಬ್ಬಯಕೆಯ ಆ ಕ್ಷಣಗಳೆಲ್ಲಿ?

ಅಕ್ಕ ತಮ್ಮರೊಡನೆ ಕೂಡಿ
ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಮರಳ ಗುಡ್ಡೆ ಹತ್ತಿ
ಹೆಕ್ಕಿ ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಚಿಪ್ಪು ತೆಗೆದು
ಲೆಕ್ಕ ಮಾಡಿ ನಲಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದ
ದುಃಖದುಮ್ಮಾನವಿರದ
ಮಕ್ಕಳಾಟದ ಆ ದಿನಗಳೆಲ್ಲಿ?

ಹಚ್ಚಹಸಿರು ಸೀಬೆಯನ್ನು
ಕಚ್ಚಿ ಕಾಗೆ ಎಂಜಲೆನುತ
ರಚ್ಚೆ ಹಿಡಿದು ಜಗಳವಾಡಿ
ಹಂಚಿ ತಿಂದು ಖುಷಿಯ ಪಟ್ಟ
ಮುಚ್ಚು ಮರೆಯ ಅರಿಯದಂಥ
ಅಚ್ಚರಿಯ ಆ ಸ್ನೇಹವೆಲ್ಲಿ?

ಸುತ್ತಲಿರುವ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯನ್ನು
ಮತ್ತೆ ತಿರುಗಿ ನೋಡದಂತೆ
ಹತ್ತು ಹಲವು ಚಿಂತೆಗಳನು
ಹೊತ್ತು ತಿರುಗುತ್ತಿರುವೆನಲ್ಲ!
ಎತ್ತ ಹೋಯಿತೆನ್ನ ಬಾಲ್ಯ
ಅತ್ತು ಕರೆದರೂ ಬಾರದಲ್ಲ...

- ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ

Friday, 9 September 2016

ಗುಟ್ಟು - Kannada Translation of "The Secret Sits" by Robert Frost

An old attempt at translation of Robert Frost's poem "The Secret Sits" to Kannada:


ಗುಟ್ಟು

ಸುತ್ತಾಗಿ ಕುಣಿಯುತ್ತ ಊಹಿಪೆವು ನಾವು,
ನಡುವೆ ಕುಳಿತಿಹ ಗುಟ್ಟು ಅರಿತಿಹುದು ತಾನು.

-ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ


Original poem by Robert Frost:
The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.



Saturday, 3 September 2016

ಹೊನ್ನು ಶಾಶ್ವತವಲ್ಲ - Kannada Translation of "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost

Here is an old attempt to translate Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" to Kannada:

ಹೊನ್ನು ಶಾಶ್ವತವಲ್ಲ

ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಮಾತೆಯ ಮೊದಲ ಹಸಿರಿನದು ಹೊಂಬಣ್ಣ,
ಹೆಚ್ಚು ದಿನ ಹಿಡಿದಿಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗದ ಬಣ್ಣ.
ಅವಳ ಹೊಸ ಚಿಗುರೆಲೆಗೆ ಹೂವಿನದೆ ಅಂದ,
ತಾಸು ಕಳೆಯುವುದರೊಳಗಾಗುವುದು ಮಂದ.
ಎಲೆಯುದುರಿ ಮುಂದಿನೆಲೆಗವಕಾಶ ನೀಡುವುದು.
ಆನಂದವನದೊಳೂ ದುಃಖ ಮಡುಗಟ್ಟುವುದು.
ಉದಯರವಿ ದಿನವ ಮುಂದೂಡಲೇಬೇಕಲ್ಲ;
ಹೊನ್ನು ಎಂದೆಂದಿಗೂ ಶಾಶ್ವತವಲ್ಲ.

- ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ


The original poem by Robert Frost:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

- Robert Frost


This picture I took at Lalbagh a few years ago just fits this poem's theme so well...


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

ಹಾಡು ಹಕ್ಕಿ - Kannada Translation of "A Minor Bird" by Robert Frost

Here is an old attempt to translate Robert Frost's poem "A Minor Bird" to Kannada:

ಹಾಡು ಹಕ್ಕಿ

ಹಕ್ಕಿಯೊಂದು ಮನೆಯ ಸನಿಹ ದಿನವೂ ಹಾಡಿ ನಲಿಯುವಾಗ
ದೂರ ಹಾರಿ ಹೋಗಲೆಂದು ನಾನು ಆಶಿಸಿದ್ದಿದೆ;

ಮನೆಯ ಬಾಗಿಲಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತು ಕೈಯ ತಟ್ಟಿ ಕೂಗು ಹಾಕಿ
ತಾಳಲಾರೆನಿನ್ನು ಎಂದು ಗೊತ್ತು ಮಾಡಿಸಿದ್ದಿದೆ.

ಕೆಲ ಮಟ್ಟಿನ ಕುಂದುಕೊರತೆ ಇರಲು ಸಾಕು ನನ್ನೊಳಗೂ
ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಶಾರೀರವನ್ನೇ ಹಳಿವುದೆಂದೂ ಸಲ್ಲದು.

ಗಾನ ಯಾವುದಾದರೇನು ಮೌನಗೊಳಿಸುವಿಚ್ಛೆಯಿರುವ
ಖಚಿತ ದೋಷವದೇನೆಂದು ಮನವೇ ಬಲ್ಲದು.

-ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ

A Minor Bird

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.



Sunday, 21 August 2016

ಸ್ವೀಕಾರ - Kannada Translation of "Acceptance" by Robert Frost

Here is an old attempt to translate Robert Frost's poem "Acceptance" to Kannada:

ಸ್ವೀಕಾರ 

ಮುಗಿದ ಸೂರ್ಯ ತನ್ನ ಸುಡುವ ಕಿರಣಗಳ ಕೆಮ್ಮುಗಿಲಿನತ್ತ ಹರಿಸಿ
ಕೆಂಡ ಕಾರುತ್ತ ಮುಳುಗಿ ಹೋಗುವನು ಕಡಲ ತಡಿಯೊಂದನರಸಿ.
ಜಗದ ಜೀವಿಗಳು ಜರುಗಿದೀ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಗೆ ಜೋರು ದನಿಯನೇನೆತ್ತವು,
ಕಡೆಯ ಪಕ್ಷ ಬಾನಾಡಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಆಗಿರಲೇಬೇಕು ಇದರರ್ಥವು -
ಆಗಸದ ಬೆಳಕ ಕತ್ತಲಾಗಿಸುವ ಸಮಯವಾಯಿತೀಗೆಂದು.
ನಿಶ್ಶಬ್ದವಾಗಿ ಮನದಾಳದಲ್ಲೇ ಗೊಣಗುತ್ತ ಗುಬ್ಬಿಯೊಂದು
ತೂಕಡಿಕೆ ಬಂದ ಕಣ್ಣೆವೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಲಾರಂಭಿಸುವುದು.
ಗೂಡಿನಿಂದ ಬಲು ದೂರ ಹೋದ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಮರೆತ ಹಕ್ಕಿ
ಪೊದೆಗಳೆತ್ತರವೆ ಹಾರುತ್ತಲಿರುವುದು ಮರಳಿ ಬರುವಾಸೆಯುಕ್ಕಿ;
ಧಾವಂತದಿಂದ ನೆನಪಿಟ್ಟ ಮರವ ತಲುಪಿ ಸಮಯದೊಳಗೆ,
ಏದುಸಿರು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಚಿಂತಿಸುವುದಿಂತು ಮೆಲ್ಲನೆ ಮನದೊಳಗೆ -
`ರಕ್ಷಿತನು ನಾನು, ಇನ್ನಿಂದು ರಾತ್ರಿ ಕತ್ತಲೆಯು ಆವರಿಸಲಿ,
ಈ ರಾತ್ರಿಯಿನ್ನು ಕಗ್ಗತ್ತಲಾಗಿ ನನಗೇನೂ ಕಾಣದಿರಲಿ.
ಮುಂದೇನು ಎಂದು ಕಾಣುವುದೇ ಬೇಡ; ಆಗುವುದು ಆಗುತಿರಲಿ'.

- ವೆಂಕಟೇಶಪ್ರಸನ್ನ


Original poem by Robert Frost:

Acceptance

When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud
And goes down burning into the gulf below,
No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud
At what has happened. Birds, at least must know
It is the change to darkness in the sky.
Murmuring something quiet in her breast,
One bird begins to close a faded eye;
Or overtaken too far from his nest,
Hurrying low above the grove, some waif
Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.
At most he thinks or twitters softly, 'Safe!
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night bee too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.'



Saturday, 28 May 2016

History and Architecture in and around Nashik

English translation of the Kannada article I had written last year for Taranga, the Kannada weekly - Prior to the Kumbh Mela at Nashik:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Come July this year, all roads lead to Nashik, as it is the turn of this ancient city to host the Maha Kumbh Mela again, after a gap of twelve years. The city is already gearing up for its tryst with the devotees, with roads being widened and re-laid all around, while temporary and long term investments are being made with the construction of lodges and guest houses inside the city and on its outskirts.

Nashik is one of the four places where the holy Kumbh happens, Haridwar, Prayag and Ujjain being the other three cities. Nashik has had a central role to play in Ramayana too. Rama, exiled for 14 years from Ayodhya, spent most of his time in the forests of Panchavati on the banks of river Godavari. Panchavati today is a part of the city of Nashik. Nashik itself is said to derive its name from the incident of Lakshmana cutting off the nose of Shurpanakha, sister of Ravana. Nasika is Sanskrit, of course, means nose. The Aranya Kanda of Ramayana, is hence, set in and around Nashik.

As you get to hear more and more about this city over the course of the year and ponder about visiting the banks of Godavari, you must keep track of the places to visit in and around Nashik. There are quite a few historically and architecturally important destinations, and this article makes an attempt to introduce those.

The Godavari Ghats and the Surrounding Temples

The main ghats within the city is Ramkund, which separates the Panchavati area from the rest of the city. The calm Godavari River makes its way slowly through the city, via these ghats.


Picture 1: A view of the Ramkund Godavari Ghats on a calm evening

Ramkund is surrounded by many temples, small and big, but the architecturally important ones strike you right away as you look around. Most of these temples were constructed in late 17th century and in early parts of the 18th century, by the mighty Peshwas and the Holkars of Indore. Right opposite to the main ghat of Ramkund is what locals refer to as the Gora Nandi Temple – an 18th century Shiva Temple that has a relatively newly placed marble statue of Nandi, leading to its popular name. The temple, like many others in the region and of that time, has 3 shrines one behind the other – a smaller outermost open hall that hosts the Nandi with a dome shaped shrine on top, a middle larger closed hall, and the main sanctum that hosts the Shiva Linga, covered by the elongated Nagara style shrine.


Picture 2: The Gora Nandi Temple at Ramkund

Not far away from this temple is the famous Naroshankara Temple, another huge Shiva temple built on top of a pedestal with intricate carvings on the outer walls. Naroshankar Temple also has three shrines with the innermost one being the sanctum, and has three additional horizontal shrines on the outside entrance, and the one at the centre houses the famous “Naroshankar Bell”, in memory of the victory over the Portuguese. The temple, dedicated to Rameshwara was built in 1747 by Naroshankar Rajebahaddur. While the Nagara style main shrine oozes symmetry and perfection, the large middle shrine is equally impressive with carvings of elephants and lions. The outer walls contain detailed carvings of Dattatreya, Ganesha, Kala Bhairava, meditating saints and more.


Picture 3: A look at the shrines of the Naroshankara Temple from the Godavari Ghats


Picture 4: The grand main shrine of the Naroshankara Temple

Right opposite the Naroshankar Temple on the other side of the ghats is the Nilakantheshwara Temple constructed by the Peshwas. The architecture is similar to the other two temples, while the stones used for construction appear to be of a darker shade. The inner sanctum hosts a marble Shiva Linga and opposite to it is another Nandi carved out of marble.


Picture 5: Nilakantheshwara Temple, Ramkund at Nashik

Crossing the road and going to the opposite side of the Ramkund takes you to the other architectural spectacle of this place, the Sundar Narayan Temple. In this temple, the Sundaranarayana form of Vishnu is worshipped, along with his consorts Lakshmi and Vrunda. Inside the temple, you can also find rare sculptures of “Standing Ganesha (Marathi: Ubha Ganapati)” and “Sitting Hanuman (Marathi: Baslela Maruti)” among others.


Picture 6: A side view of the grand Sundar Narayan Temple, Nashik

There are more temples within the radius of a couple of kilometres of Ramkund, including the Ganga Godavari Mandir, the Sita Gumpha, the five Banyan Trees indicating Panchavati, The huge sculptures of Dutondya Maruti, the grand Kalaram Mandir constructed by Sardar Odhekar of the Peshwas where Dr. Ambedkar fought to achieve entry for everyone, and more.

Triambakeshwar Jyotirlinga and Kushavarta

The Triambakeshwar Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas across India, is about 28 kms away from the Nashik city. Brahmagiri Hill, which provides a great backdrop for the temple, is where River Godavari takes birth. According to a popular belief, Sage Gowtama performed penance on top of the hill to please Shiva and get River Ganga to flow at Triambakeshwar, to wash off his sin of accidentally killing a cow. Ganga came, in the form of Godavari, but was tough to find and contain as she flew down the hill and through the hermitage of Gowtama. He covered up a section of the land with long grass and succeeded in containing the flow of the river there and took bath to ward off his sins. This area is known as Kushavarta (Kusha means grass in Sanskrit and hence Kushavarta means surrounded with grass), a kund treated extremely holy by the pilgrims flocking to Triambakeshwar.


Picture 7: Kushavarta Kund at Triambakeshwar

Reconstructed by Balaji Baji Rao Peshwa (Nanasaheb), the Triambakeshwar Temple looks majestic, made out of five shrines with huge and strong architecture. The inner sanctum houses the jyotirlinga that is believed to have aspects of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, and is worshipped all through the day. The serenity of the environment must be experienced to be believed.


Picture 8: The main shrine of the Traimbakeshwar Temple, with Brahmagiri as the backdrop


Pandu Lena Caves

About 8 kms to the southwest of Nashik city, a group of 24 caves capture the imagination of history buffs. Known as Pandu Lena (Lena in Marathi means cave), these are Hinayana Buddhist cave temples carved between 3rd century BC and 2nd century AD. The cave temples are situated atop the Trirashmi Hills, and can be reached after climbing about 250 steps. While monks and commoners of that era have donated considerably towards the development and maintenance of these cave temples, profuse contributions towards their construction were sanctioned by the rulers of the time, the Satavahanas, the Kshatrapas and the Abhirs. There are invaluable inscriptions from the times of Satavahana kings Gautami Putra Satakarni, Vasisthiputra Pulumavi, Krishna; Kshatrapa kings Nahapana and Usabadatta and many more on the walls of the Viharas and the Chaityas.


Picture 9: Chaitya at Pandu Lena – An architectural marvel from nearly 2000 years ago

While most of the carved caves are empty with large gathering areas, there are quite a few beautifully carved images of Buddha and Bodhisattva across them too. There is even a beautiful and rare “Reclining Buddha” carving inside the 24th cave. The main prayer hall, Chaitya, can be seen in cave 18 with perfect looking apsidal ceiling supported by two rows of octagonal pillars, and a huge cylindrical stupa at the back of the nave.


Picture 10: Calmness in stone. One of many enchanting Buddha statues in Pandu Lena caves

The caves themselves got the name Pandu Lena on the back of the word “Pundru”, indicating yellowish colour of the rocks of the hill. A beautiful scenic view of the entire Nashik city and its outskirts is another advantage the tourist gets by climbing up to Pandu Lena.

Nashik is also close to the home town of freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The place is Bhagur, 17 kms from Nashik, where his home has been converted into a memorial, with a collection of rare photographs of the life and times of the much revered soul. Nashik also has many other temples of significance and memorials, including one dedicated to Dadasaheb Phalke, considered the father of Indian cinema. So, if you plan to visit Nashik during the Kumbh Mela, don’t forget to explore its many facets.


Picture 11: State Government of Maharashtra has converted Savarkar's home at Bhagur into a memorial



Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Serenity of Galaganatha: Chalukya Splendor on the banks of Tungabhadra

Imagine this. A calm evening of the rainy season. No clouds around. Sun is just about setting. You are standing on the banks of river Tungabhadra, which is not yet at its roaring best as there haven't been enough rains in the season. There is a lone fisherman trying to get the last few scalps of the day so far away from you in the middle of the river that even his presence and his minor movements do not affect the peace that surrounds you. A few parrots fly back home overhead once in a while with their happy chirps. You are staring east. Behind you is an architectural marvel - a temple that is so unique that you can't decide whether to sit and watch the serene flow of the river forever or catch the glimpse of every nook and corner of the intricate beauty of this temple before darkness sets in. You are fighting a battle with the fading light to fill your senses up with these details, but you are also fighting a battle within yourself on whether to capture and hold the beauty of the nature in your senses or to explore this 11th century Kalyani Chalukya splendor. Welcome to Galaganatha.



The Galageshwara Temple at Galaganatha, Haveri district of Karnataka faces east, and oversees the Tungabhadra river, a majestic construction that is to this day, unparalleled in design, highlighted by the spectacular pyramid shaped completion of the main sanctum shrine. This town, known as Palluni before, was named after the presiding deity of this temple, the huge Shiva Linga of Galageshwara. Inscriptions indicate the contributions made by the Chalukya king Vikramaditya, and mentions one Mukhari Brahmayya as a great exponent of music who had mastered 32 ragas. Here are a few visuals. Surreal experience.










Saturday, 27 February 2016

Kalyani Chalukya Splendour: Nagareshwara Temple, Bankapura

The Kalyani Chalukya temple architecture paved way for the even more intricate and beautiful Hoysala architecture. If you want to see how Kalyani Chalukyas have influenced the Hoysalas in this regard, one of the best examples out there is the Nagareshwara Temple at Bankapura, in Haveri district of northern Karnataka.



A couple of angles showing the symmetry of the Nagareshwara Temple


This temple is known to many as "aravattu kambada gudi" (temple of sixty pillars) as it has 60+ huge lathe turned pillars across its main hallway. Exotic carvings in the around the main doorway is one distinct specialty of the Kalyani Chalukyas which the Hoysalas probably did not improve upon. This temple gives you (along with the ones at Lakkundi and Dambala) one of the best visual treats around the main entrance you can witness across temples of Karnataka.


Main entrance of the Nagareshwara Temple

 

Couple of views of the exquisitely lathe-turned pillars that gives the temple its name


The temple, known to be constructed in the early parts of the 12th century by the Kalyani Chalukyas, received support from the Hoysalas as well. Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana conquered Bankapura fort, followed by the Hanagal fort to establish the Hoysala supremacy in the region that was continued by his grandson Veera Ballala II. The temple came under heavy attacks during the reign of the Bahamanis and Adil Shah, but its beauty remains in tact and is now maintained well by the ASI.


An intricately carved domical ceiling


A full view from the higher ground behind the temple


A recent addition - a stone bench carved as a bear!




Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A Tribute in Sanskrit - Lance Naik Hanumanthappa

Here's an attempt at singing praises - of Lord Hanuman, and of the Martyr Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, in two verses of Anushtup with Shleshaartha (multiple meanings for the same verses):



भूमिजायाः रक्षणार्थम् 
सह्य प्रकृतिविषमताम् ।
प्रजासञ्जीवनं कृत्वा
शैलाटः भूषणोऽभवत् ॥


शिवानुगो मृतुञ्जयः
योगिश्शत्रुनिवारकः ।
महाभक्तश्च पुण्यात्मा
हनुमन्नाम चिन्तयेत्॥


Meaning 1:
For the safety of the daughter of the earth (Sita), he endured the difficulties of nature (crossing an ocean, no less). The wanderer of the mountains (of Kishkindha) ensured that the King's family was alive (Lakshmana, through Sanjeevini) and became celebrated (worshiped). Follower of Shiva's lineage, and the one who has overcome death (Hanuman is one of the seven immortals), the Yogi is known to be the remover of all enemies. Also a venerated soul and a great devotee (of Rama), one must always think of the name of Hanuman.

Meaning 2:
For the safety of the daughter of the earth (Bharat Mata), he endured the difficulties of nature (scaling the heights of extreme and cold Siachen Glacier). The wanderer of the mountains (of the Himalayan range) ensured that the citizen of the country could stay alive (in the face of enemy attacks) and hence became celebrated. Follower of Shiva (the martyr was known to be a huge devotee of Shiva) and the one who overcame death (Hanumanthappa's miraculous cheating of death), the Yogi (he was known to practice Yoga regularly) is known to be the remover of all enemies. Also a venerated soul and a great devotee (of the country he served), one must always think of the name of Hanumanthappa.