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Glimpses of Erotic Sculptures at Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Khajuraho Group of Monuments is located in Madhya Pradesh, India. These groups of monuments are the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples which are basically famous all around the world for their erotic sculptures. The temples were built during the Chandella Dynasty that reached its peak point between 950 and 1050 AD.

Khajuraho Temple

Kandariya Mahadev Temple in Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Image by John Ubinger on flickr.com

Total area of the complex is enclosed by a wall with eight originates and each of them bordered by two golden palm trees. Originally, there were 85 temples but now only 25 temples remain that falls into three distinct groups namely eastern, western & southern and follows Hinduism and Jainism styles. They scattered in an area of over 20 square kms. A perfect balance displays between the architecture and sculpture of the temples.

Sculptures at Khajuraho Temple

One of the many erotic sculptures at Khajuraho Temple
Image by GrandecapoEstiCazzi on flickr.com

The whole complex of Khajuraho illustrates a unique artistic creation, surprising quality, variety of scenes of amusements, sculpted decor of mythological repertory or amusements. All the temples are elegantly decorated on the outside. These temples are world famous for their exceptional art due to which they have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Devi_Jagadambi_Temple-Khajuraho

Devi Jagadambi Temple

Some of the temples like Visvanatha, Parsvanatha and Vaidyanatha belong to the period of King Dhanga, who was the successor of Yasovarman. The Jagadambi, Chitragupta, are the most remarkable among the western group of temples of Khajuraho. Other temples are Vamana, Adinatha, Javari, Chaturbhuj and Duladeo, are the smaller temples but designed elegantly.

Lakshmana_temple-Khajuraho

Lakshmana Temple

The Khajuraho group of monuments and temples are esteemed for soaring terraces and functionally effective plans. The sculptural adornments include besides the clan images of parivara, avarana devatas, dikpalas, apsaras and sura-sundaris and all win universal applause for their exquisite, adolescent female forms of enchanting beauty. The apparel and embellishments embrace the winsome elegance and charisma.

Ercotic Sculptures at Khajuraho Temple

Ercotic sculptures of women
Image by east med wanderer on flickr.com

These temples serve as finest example of Indian architecture that have gained popularity mainly due to their precise depiction of sexual life during medieval time period. These erotic sculptures can be easily locate by anyone on Kandariya Mahadev Temple. The sexual art is located outside the temple or even near the deities. It has been said by many people that the erotic art suggests Tantric practices. Many sculptures, i.e. around 10% display the sexual activities between people rather than among deities. The rest of the sculptures depict the everyday life of the people including women putting on makeup, potters, musicians, farmers, etc.

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Sculptures on outside walls of one of the temples

The temple complex also offers an evening light and sound show. The show covers the history, philosophy and the art of sculpting of these temples and so enjoyed by most of the people. Two languages are preferred in the show, i.e. English and Hindi. One can choose according to their comfort and understanding of the language. Thus, nobody forgets any moment spent in Khajuraho temples for their whole life.

 

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The Outlandish Grace of the Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple is located in the Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu state, India. It is a Hindu temple which is a part of Great Living Chola Temples that are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It was built during the 9th century and completely dedicated to the Shiva. The linga of the temple was brought from the river Narmada and said by many that when it was brought, the water of the river kept increasing day by day and so the name Brihadeeswarar was given to this temple. It is one of the largest temple in India and also most prized one only due to its architectural designs.

Brihadeeswara_temple_Thanjavur

Brihadeeswarar Temple in Tamil Nadu

The temple majestically stands amidst the fortified walls that were added in the 16th century. It has the tower or Vimana of the gopuram which is 216 ft high. This Vimana is among the tallest of its kind in the entire world. The Kalasha of the temple is intricately carved out of a single stone and weighs around 80 tons. A big statue of Nandi is amazingly carved out of a single rock and measures about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. This shows that it is a distinctive example of architecture inside the temple.

Nandi-Brihadeeswarar_Temple

Nandi(Bull)
Image by ashok_sridhar on flickr.com

This glamorous temple is the world’s first fully granite temple. Most of the inscriptions on the walls depict the Bharatanatyam which is a popular classical dance of southern India. One of the interesting parts of this temple is the shadow of the gopuram (pyramidal tower which usually stands over the gateway of the temple) never falls on the ground at noon. This served as a great example of the South Asian style of architecture.

Inscriptions-Brihadeeswarar_Temple

Inscriptions on the wall
Image by ashok_sridhar on flickr.com

The square sanctuary of the temple is surrounded by a narrow passageway and adjoins an antechamber. The double storey plastered walls of the sanctuary are located on a raised basement. Projections of the wall have niches that occupied by fully model images of Shiva. Some finest figures that intricately carved on the walls of the temple include Bikshatanamurti, dancing Shiva, Harihara and Ardhanarishvara.

Architecture-Brihadeeswarar_Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple Entrance

Another interesting thing to see is an Archaeological Museum which showcases the ancient ruins. It surely gives you the chance to look back into the history of the Chola Empire. 107 paragraphs long inscription can also found on the walls of the Vimana which reads the contribution of the Chola King Rajaraja and his sister Kundavai.

Rajarajesvaram_Temple

Murals and Shiva Lingams in the temple

This popular temple turned 1000 years old on September 2010 and the day was celebrated with great pomp and show. State government celebrated this birthday of the temple with great excitement. Many cultural events were held there during this wonderful occasion. People travel to this place in a large number only to glare or participate in the cultural activities.

On 26th September 2010, which was the fifth day of the millennium celebrations, Indian post released 5 special postage stamps featuring the 216-ft tall giant Raja Gopuram. Also, the Reserve Bank of India commemorated this special event by releasing the 5 coins embossed with the model of the big temple. A 1000 rupee coin was also released to commemorate the same picture as on the Rs. 5 coins. The temple is visited by a large number of pilgrims and tourists from across the globe. It is one of the important heritage sites in Tamil Nadu.

 

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Intricate Inscriptions on Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Sanchi is a village in Madhya Pradesh, India. Basically, it is known in India for its popular Buddhist Stupa and its monuments. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Many monasteries, temples and pillars are located around the famous Sanchi stupa. The intricate carvings on the stupa illustrate the events from the life of Buddha. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site in India.

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa 1 or the Great Stupa
Image source: wikipedia.org

The great stupa is the oldest stone structure in India and was commissioned by the emperor Ashoka. There are a number of monuments at this place namely Stupa 1, Stupa 3, Pillar 10, Temple 18, Temple 17, Eastern Area Temple, Southern Area Temple, Western Area Monastery, Chetiyagiri Vihara and Archaeological Museum. They are the unrivaled masterpiece of early Buddhist Art. Also, there are ruins of about 50 monuments. Among the ruined monuments, 3 are large stupas, temples, a monastery and monolithic pillars.

Sanchi Pillar

Pillar at the northern gate of Stupa 1
Image source: wikipedia.org

Stupa no. 1 is the Great or Principal monument of the place. It has many porticos with stone railings. Decorative work or Torana on the four gateways give it a stunning look. The illustrations located in the decorative work depict the former lives of Buddha. Numerous themes are illustrated there that taken from legends and history. The wonderfully carved inscriptions of plants, animals and humans show the unrivaled skills and art of the earlier times of Buddha.

Buddhist Monastery-Sanchi

Buddhist Monastery in Sanchi
Image source: wikipedia.org

All the stupas are crowned with a chhatra. Chhatra is a parasol type structure that symbolizing high rank, peace and honour to the relics of Buddha. Also, temple 17 & 45 and monastery 51 are among the most sojourning structures.

Temple_17-Sanchi

Temple 17 (front) and Temple 18 (behind)
Image source: wikipedia.org

So, the monuments of Sanchi are the worth visiting site and have great historical importance. Emperor Ashoka built many Buddhist monasteries and stupas all over India to spread Buddhism. Many pilgrimage sites are there that correlates with Buddhism and a large number of pilgrims visit them throughout the year.

Shalabhanjika

Shalabhanjika – The most well-known sculpture of Sanchi Complex
Image by jamyang190 on flickr.com

 

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Konark Sun Temple –The Black Pagoda

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Konark Sun Temple in Odisha

The Konark Sun Temple located in Konark town of Orissa (Odisha) is a popular tourist attraction that is in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in India. This temple was built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1250. Most of the part of the temple is in ruins now. It is called the Sun Temple because it is dedicated to the Sun God Surya. The shape of the temple is of a gigantic chariot which has carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels and is pulled by seven pairs of horses. It was once mentioned as the Black Pagoda by the European sailors.

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Statue of Sun God Surya

Wheel of chariot-Konark Sun Temple

Stone Wheel of the Chariot carved on Konark Sun Temple

The architecture of the temple depicts the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. The orientation of the temple is towards the east due to which first rays of sunrise strike the main entrance. It has 128 feet tall audience hall that stands even now. Other structures that survive today are the dance hall and dining hall also known as Nata Mandira and Bhoga Mandapa. Two ruined temples have also been discovered some times ago namely Mayadevi Temple and Vaishnava deity. A Konark Archaeological Museum is also located there having a collection of all the fallen structures.

Carvings on walls - Konark Sun Temple

Carvings and Sculptures on the walls of Konark Sun Temple

Many kinds of images are sculpted on the walls of the Sun Temple. Some of them are of animals such as snakes, giraffe, elephants, etc. Religious figures are also covering the walls of the temple. Also, one can see the intricately crafted images of God Vishnu, Lord Shiva as well as Goddess Shakti. Women and men are also drawn over the walls of the temple in seductive poses of various kinds. Its fine figures that carved on the walls of the temple made it superior to other temples.

Animal carvings

Animals carved on the walls of Sun Temple

So, visiting this temple dwells anyone in its architecture, pictographic sculptures, serene environment, mythological temples, etc. After visiting that, it will remind you in your life as a nice experience. Nearby attraction of this temple is the Jagannath Puri temple. One can also visit this popular temple as it is one of the famous sightseeing in Odisha.

Simha-gaja sculpture at the entrance

 

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The Graceful Art in the Monuments at Mahabalipuram

The Graceful Art in the Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram, located in Tamil Nadu, India, is basically famous all across the globe for its famous group of monuments. The monuments and its architecture are so elegant that they are listed in the UNESCO World heritage sites. These monuments were founded by the Pallava Kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. They are popular mainly for their exotic rathas, mandapas, giant open-air reliefs and many more things. These temples are excellent examples of Pallava art.

Mahabalipuram

Panoramic view of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

The monuments of Mahabalipuram are popularly known for its rock carvings and monolithic sculptures. These monuments illustrate the intricate sculptures and carvings which are true evidence to the artisans creativity and craftsmanship. Most of the monuments at Mahabalipuram are very popular like the rock-cut rathas, sculptured scenes of open rocks like Arjuna’s penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Ahishasuramardini, and the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple.

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Rock-cut Cave in Mahabalipuram

Of the popular nine monolithic temples, the most important are the Five Rathas. It was named after the famous five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata fame. Draupadi ratha is a simple and beautiful hut like kutagara shrine while the Arjuna ratha is a dvitala vimana. Similarly, other rathas are there and each has its own significance. Ratha temples in the form of cavalcade chariots, monolithic constructions appear as if they are delightfully emerging from the sand. Other notable landmarks are Varaha Mandapa, Mahisamardini Mandapa, Paramesvara Mahavaraha Vishnugriha, etc.

Varaha-Cave-Mahabalipuram

Varaha Cave Temple

Mandapa, or rock sanctuaries modeled as rooms covered with bas-reliefs. Arjuna’s Penance which is the world’s largest bas-relief panel with over a hundred figures of men, gods and beasts are visited by a large number of people.

Arjuna's Penance

Panoramic view of Arjuna’s Penance

Rock reliefs in the open air modeled a popular story in the iconography of Siva, that of the Descent of the Ganges. Temples built from cutting the stoned, like the Temple of Rivage, which was constructed under the reign of King Rajasimha Narasimavarman II, popular for its high-stepped pyramidal tower and thousands of sculptures which are dedicated to the glory of Siva.

Pancha Rathas at Mamallapuram

Pancha Rathas at Mamallapuram

The colossal attraction of this place is the spectacular Shore Temple that is worth to be visited. It is surrounded from all sides by rows of Nandi bulls that are looking out to the sea. This temple was re-built as it was washed away by the cyclone emerged from the sea. This temple is also referred as the Seven Pagodas but out of the seven pagodas, six are submerged in the sea and only one remains now.

Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram

It is believed by many people that this area was once surely served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some of them are half finished, are giving the examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructions and practices by young students of that time. This can also be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is engraved in a different style.

The glamour of Mahabalipuram lies not only in its monumental architecture but also in its pristine sandy beach, unique architecture, handicrafts and stone carved sculptures. While exploring the different cities of Tamil Nadu, one must add this place in the itinerary of the Southern region as it is a must visit place.

 

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Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

City Palace of Jaipur has a great historical past and is located in the northeastern part in the originally designed city. It is a popular tourist spot as it is visited by a large number of tourists. The gleaming beauty of the palace attracts the travelers towards it. Once it was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur who was head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The palace was built in the 18th century means between 1729 and 1732, by the ruler of Amber – Sawai Jai Singh II. He made it with the help of popular architectures of that time period. Apart from the glorious architecture, the palace also offers a ravishing view of the Pink City.

City-Palace-Entrance

City Palace Entrance Gate

The complex of the palace comprises of the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. There are many pols (gates) to enter the palace namely Virendra Pol, Udai Pol, Tripoli Gate and Atish Pol. Courtyards are arranged in a linear series in the palace.

City-Palace-Jaipur

Inside City Palace

On the ground floor, there is a Pritam Niwas with a small audience hall in its center. The next two storeys are occupied by the marvelous Sukh Niwas. Above of this Niwas, there is the Rang Mahal also known as Sabha Niwas and then the Chhavi Niwas with blue painted interiors, Shri Niwas with the Sheesh Mahal and finally the crowning painting of Mukut Mandir. The arches, motifs, opening, balcony, all shows the Rajput tradition architecture. Compacted and Symmetrical masses were the feature of that period which is reflected in the architecture of the City Palace.

The main attractions inside the palace complex are as follows:-

Mubarak Mahal – This Mahal was built with an amalgam of Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles by Maharaja Madho Singh II as a reception center of the palace. A beautiful display of the voluminous clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I with his 108 wives attracts many visitors towards it.

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Mubarak Mahal inside City Palace,Jaipur

Chandra Mahal – Chandra Mahal is the most compelling building in the City Palace complex. It is a seven storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name like Sukh Niwas, Ranga Mandir, Chabi Niwas, Shri Niwas and Mukut Mandir. This Mahal contains a large number of unique paintings, floral decorations.

Chandra-Mahal

Chandra Mahal

Diwan-I-Khas – Earlier, it was a private audience hall of the Maharajas. On display, there are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 meters height and each with a capacity of 4000 liters and 340 Kilogram weight. These vessels are recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Diwan-I-Khas

Diwan-I-Aam – Diwan-I-Am or the Hall of Public Audience is a chamber rich in red and gold colors and decorated with ceiling paintings. It looks dynamic in nature. Now the chamber is like an art gallery, exhibits many exquisite paintings, ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmiri shawls and carpets. Many handwritten original manuscripts belonging to Hindu scriptures can be seen in this gallery. Scripts related to Bhagvad Gita are placed there. Also, visit the Golden Throne locally called as Takht-e-Rawal in the art gallery. Golden throne was the seat of the Maharaja at the time of public audience.

Diwan-I-Aam

Diwan-I-Aam (Sabha Niwas) or the Hall of Public Audience

Maharani Palace – As the name suggests itself, it was the residential place of the royal queens of historic times. Now, it has been converted into a museum where weapons used by the royal kings during war campaigns are displayed.

Maharani-Palace

Maharani Palace Interior

Govind Dev Ji Temple – This temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna and is part of the city palace complex. It is set in a garden environment outside the walls of the palace. It contains the paintings belonging to Indian art. The main thing that allures people in this temple is the ceiling which is ornamented with gold. This temple is located just before the Chandar Mahal Palace where the Maharaja resides and could able to get the direct view of the temple from his room.

Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur

Govind Dev Ji Temple

So, the palace is worth visiting site and nobody should miss it while making his/her trip of Rajasthan as it is the luminous heritage site of Rajasthan.

 
 

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The Legendary Fort of Chittorgarh

The Legendary Fort of Chittorgarh

The Chittorgarh Fort holds a great place in the Indian history. Its palaces, broken walls show the heroism of innumerable sieges. This fort is located in the Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. It is a seven mile fort with a number of palaces. This amazing fort is spread in a large area and located at a great height. It is the largest fort in India in terms of area.

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The Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh was one of the furiously contested seats of power in India. It was fortified many times but, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty-Bappa Rawal finally received the Chittor in the middle of the eighth century. This seat was the part of the last Solanki princess’s dowry. In 1330, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi fascinated by tales of the exquisite beauty of Padmini who was the Rani of Chittor. After this, he wanted to verify himself about the tales. So, he went Chittor with his army. His armies surrounded the Chittor and the sultan sent a message to Rana Ratan Singh, Padmini’s husband, to say that he would leave the city with his army only if he could able to meet his famous beautiful queen. So, at last Rana Ratan Singh compromised with the sultan to save his empire. He sent a message to the Sultan that if you came unarmed into the fort, only then you would be able to take a reflection of the Rani of Chittorgarh. After this, the Sultan decided accordingly to go up the hill and have a glimpse reflection of the beautiful Padmini standing by a lotus pool. After that Khilji decided to conquer the fort to win Rani Padmini in the battle. Many warriors of both the sides died during the battle. Rana Ratan Singh saved himself and did not want to surrender, due to all that, khilji decided to attack Rani Padmini directly. After hearing this, Rani Padmini and other women of the fort decided to perform Jauhar (self immolation of women and subsequent march of men to the battlefield to end their life with respect) to avoid capture and dishonor at the hands of Muslim invaders. So, this was the famous story behind the famous fort and the beautiful rani’s end. Thus, the fort represents the epitome of tribute to the nationalism, courage, sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia and their kinsmen, women and children.

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Chittorgarh Fort

Many other battles were taking place to conquer the fort but this was the important one in terms of sacrifice. The huge fort has many things inside it to visit. To reach the fort, one has to pass through the seven huge gates (Pol) namely, Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol and the last one is Ram Pol.

Popular places to see and visit in the fort are:-

Tower of Victory (Vijay Stambh) – It was built in 1440 AD by the famous ruler Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji. It is a nine storey tower, adorned mostly by the sculptures of Hindu deities. Around 157 narrow steps are there that leads to the terrace of the tower.

Vijay-Stambh-Chittorgarh-Fort

Vijay Stambh (Tower of Victory)

Tower of Fame (Kirti Stambh) – This tower is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain Teerthankar and adorned with the naked figures of the Digambers.

Kirti-Stambh-Chittorgarh-Fort

Kirti Stambh (Tower of Fame)

Gaumukh Reservoir – This reservoir is basically a deep tank filled by a spring coming from a “cow mouth”, located at the edge of the cliff.

Gaumukh-Reservoir-Chittorgarh-Fort

The Gaumukh Reservoir

Rana Kumbha Palace – This place is totally ruined now and is most famous as the Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar there. In spite of the ruined building, it is of great historical and architectural interest.

Rana-Kumbha-Palace-Chittorgarh-Fort

Rana Kumbha Palace Ruins

Padmini Palace – This palace is also famous there as Rani Padmini lived here. It is a distinct feminine structure that overlooks a beautiful pool. This is the palace which is responsible for the battle between Allauddin Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh.

Padmini-Palace-Chittorgarh-Fort

Padmini Palace

Meera Temple – Also known as Meerabai Temple, it was also built by the Maharana Kumbha in 1449. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.

Meera-Temple-Chittorgarh-Fort

Meera (or Meerabai) Temple

Kalika Mata Temple – This temple is also located inside the fort and simply dedicated to Goddess Kali. It was built originally as Surya or Sun Temple and after that converted to Kali temple.

Kalika-Mata-Temple-Chittorgarh-Fort

Kalika Mata Temple

Fateh Prakash Palace (Government Museum) – This palace or museum was built up by the Maharana Fateh Singh and so the name of the museum is. It is a huge palace with all modern amenities. There is a big sculpture of Lord Ganesha, a fountain and many frescoes. Now, the palace becomes a museum and has a rich collection of sculptures from temples and buildings in the Chittorgarh fort. Today, it is managed by the government of India.

So, Chittorgarh fort has many places to visit and each has its own past behind it. If anyone visits this place then, one should also visit Udaipur to know the whole past and the history behind the city’s battles and the Maharaja’s & Rani’s sacrifices towards their beloved ones.

 

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