Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mysore Zoo - Ducks

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 ducks, lot of them.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Shimoga

In Shimoga there are many important tourist places. One of them is Sacred Heart Cathedral located few kilometers away from the ancient Shivappa Nayak Palace.

This imposing structure, built in the Roman and Gothic styles of architecture. The 18000 sq.ft church renovated and supposed to be the second largest church in India. It has beautiful stained glass panels.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kailash Temple, Ellora

Kailash Temple at Ellora is one of the most famous temple among the 34 monasteries and temples here. This temple designated as Cave No. 16 is a true architecture marvel dug of a high basalt cliff. This rock-cut temple in Dravidian architecture with elaborate craftsmanship is a art gallery with sculptural ornamentation.

Designed to resemble Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva is built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I. The temple was planned and begun under the Rashtrakuta King Dantidurga and major work went on in the reign of King Krishna I.

A two-storeyed gateway opens into a huge courtyard. The sculptural extravaganza on the interiors is a total contrast to the relatively plain exterior. The courtyard is edged by a columned arcade three stories high. This temple complex, with all essential elements of temple, including main shrine, Nandi shrine, gateway, surrounding cloisters and subsidiary shrines.

Most prominent feature about how this monolithic structure is built is its vertical excavation where the temple is carved out of the rock starting at the top and then moving downwards. It is believed that temple is built over a period of 200 years by scooping 400,000 tons of rock all through from outside to inside to give it a remarkable shape that we see and admire today.

The temple is richly carved with niches, pilasters, windows and cornices. The whole temple is decorated with gigantic images of deities, freezes of epic scenes along with fauna, floral, and geometrical designs. We will discover more of this temple in more detail in subsequent posts:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mysore Zoo - Black Bear

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 bear.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Veeranarayna Temple, Belur

Within the Channakeshva Temple complex at Belur there are more than a score of structures of varying importance. There are important sub shrines which have been carved beautifully.

Veeranarayna Temple is towards east of main temple. The temple is built in 1117 A.D on a platform. Even though temple is a small, it is definitely a Hoysala structure of considerable artistic importance.

On the outer walls of the temple there are a number of beautiful images, some of which are really fine condition. There is a carving of a warrior fighting with another warrior on the elephant. Each part of the sculpture is carved intricately.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cave No. 2, Ajanta

This is the second cave that we come across in Ajanta on the Eastern side of horse shoe shaped structure. This cave was built sometime in the 7th century A.D. It consists of verandah, a hypostylar hall, an antechamber, sanctum with two sub shrines, chapels and a group of cells.

Lord Buddha is enshrined in the sanctum flanked by celestial nymphs and Bhodhsattavas. The massive pillars and door-frames are elaborately carved with designs and decorated with paintings.

Extensively painted, it is famous for its ceiling painting in the hall, antechamber, verandah and chapels. The paintings contain some of the finest circles drawn in contrasting colors, which still retain their brightness and luster.

Even though most of the paintings in the cave are life of Buddha. Apart from this there is also a beautiful painting of Thousand Buddhas motif, seen on the left wall and shrine antechamber walls.

In the cave there are beautifully carved pillars well supporting the painted ceiling. On the pillars beautiful flower motifs and celestial figures in the brackets.

This cave has one of the best craftsmanship and best preserved paintings at Ajanta. The paintings on the halls of the cave are illustrations of the former births of Lord Buddha known as Jataka Tales.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Birds of Hebbal Lake - 1, 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.

The habitat is favored by many species of birds like Spot-billed Pelican, Eurasian Spoonbill, Shoveller, Sunbird, Pintail, Garganey, Little Grebe, Coot, Cormorant etc.,Here are few snaps of Cormorant that I spotted in one of my visit to the lake on the early morning hours.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

St. Philomena's Church, Mysore

St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is located in the north of the city, on Cathedral Road. It was built in the honor of St. Philomena, a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. The church is relatively new as it was constructed in the year 1956. Prior to this church in this place there existed a small church that was built by the then Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.

The architecture of the church is in Neo Gothic style which was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The church was designed by a Frenchman named Daly. The church has beautiful stain glass windows and twin lofty spires which are 175 feet in height.

The floor plan of the cathedral resembles a cross. The long part of the cross is congregation hall called the nave. The two arms of the cross are the transepts. The part containing the altar and the choir is the crossing.

The church can be accessed while travelling by road from Mysore to Bangalore.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Poetry in Stone - 12

This is 12th in the series on the rich cultural heritage of ancient temples in India. At Halebid, the 12th century Hoysaleswara Temple beautifully carved out of soapstone. The walls of the temple have been carved beautifully depicting the stories from various Hindu epics.

One such sculptural marvel is based on the story of a small battle between the Gods. The entire story is carved in a area of 4 X 10 ft. Once Satyabhama wife of Krishna demanded beautiful Parijata flowers which were available only in Indralok then. When Krishna and Satyabhama were about to leave after taking a branch of the celestial Parijata tree, they were accosted by Indra and a battle took place, leading to Indra losing the battle.

Here on one side the carving of Krishna and Satyabama are shown atop Garuda with a branch of Parijata flowers in their hand. The tree with flowers and fruits has been carved very intricately.

On the other side the carving of Indra atop his elephant Iravat trying to stop Krishna has been carved great detail.

These two sculptures in totality pictures the entire scene showcasing the craftsmanship even in those days. They has been carved with great detail with attention to every minute aspect.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Lalbagh Flower Show - Orchids - 16

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:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ravana ka Khai Cave, Ellora

This cave numbered 14 in Ellora has a very plain looking exterior facade when compared to splendid interiors decorated with sculptures. This cave measuring 13 X 9 m is popularly known as Ravana ka khai (Ashes of Ravana) because of the sculpture of Ravana shaking the Kailasa.

The sidewalls of the main hall are scooped into several compartments containing the sculptural compositions of Hindhu Mythology. The emphasis on female divinities is amplified in this cave by the large images of Durga at either end of the front aisle. In one such sculpture Goddess Durga is standing with her foot upon her lion.

The wall of the hall also contains a panel of seven divine mothers. The Seven Mothers, attended by Virabhadra at the left and Ganesaha with the deadly goddess Kali at his right, appear at the far end of the ambulatory passage.

The disposition of the panels show Vaishnava theme on one side and Shaiva theme on the other showing religious harmony. There is beautiful sculpture of Varha rescuing Earth in one of the wall compartments.

Varaha rescuing the Earth Goddess is pressing his foot down on the roiling underwater forces. As Nagas offer praise, she rests with ease against his snout, using one of his hands as a pedestal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Poetry in Stone - 11

This is eleventh in the series on the rich cultural heritage of ancient temples in India. Today we move to South India for exploring the sculptural marvels at two ancient temples at Belur and Halebid. On the walls of the temple the stories from Hindu epics have been carved with great detail with attention to every minute aspect.

At Belur, there is a 12th century Chennakesava Temple beautifully carved out of soapstone as various sculptures on its walls. 

At Halebid there is a 12th century Hoysaleswara Temple beautifully carved out of soapstone. 

Once upon a time in the forests there lived a king of elephants named Gajendra. One day he went to the lake with his herd to cool off in its fresh waters. Suddenly a crocodile living in the lake attacked Gajendra and caught him by the leg. Gajendra tried in vain to escape from the crocodile's clutches. When there was no hope he prays Lord Vishnu to save him, holding a lotus up in the air as an offering. This act of rescue has been carved very intricately covering all details.

There are many more sculptures all around on the walls of the temple. Some of them are shown here above. In the rightmost image one can see a man in the Western getup - dress, hairstyle.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Big Birds of Mysore Zoo - 2

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 Painted Stork is below: