Thursday, July 29, 2010

WHERE STONES CAST A SPELL !


Belur is a quaint little hamlet located 38 kilometres from Hassan, 16 kilometres from Halebid and 222 kilometers from Bangalore, located on the banks of river Yagachi.

It was once the capital of the Hoysala empire, made unforgettable for its exquisite temples. The ancient city was also called Velapuri or Velur. It is also known as Dakshina Benaras.
From Bangalore we took the KSTDC one day tour to Halebid, Belur, and Sravanabelagola. As these places are difficult to reach by public transportation, this tour was a good way to see these remotely located marvels in one day, especially as we had very few days for holidaying !

It is here that the enchanting star – shaped Chennakeshava temple with hand lathe-turned filigreed pillars and sculptures, resides, in Belur ! One of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture, and it took 103 years to complete this temple !
It is the only Hoysala temple still in active worship. The Hoysalas used soft soapstone for their structures as they were found suitable for intricate carvings and was built in 1116 AD to celebrate King Visbhnuvardhana’s victory of Talakadu over the Cholas.

The winged figure of Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s carrier, stands at the entrance facing the temple.

The temple is built on a Jagati (platform), which provides the devotee the allowance to do a Pradakshina (circumambulation) around the temple, before entering it.

The main temple is surrounded by other small temples.
The fa├žade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes – with no portion left blank. Awe – inspiring in their intricate workmanship. There are beautiful carved elephants 644 in number each in a different pose. It is surmounted by simhalalatas or lion heads on horizontal friezes.

The pillars inside the hall are another attraction and the most popular one is the Narasimha pillar which at one time, is said could revolve on its ball bearings. There is a rich diversity about the styles of pillars here. While all the 48 pillars and the ceilings are well decorated, nothing surpasses the finish of the four central pillars and the ceiling they support. All of the four pillars in the main hall bear Madanikas * (Salabhanjika, Shilabalika – celestial damsels or Bracket figures) and there are 42 of them, 4 inside the hall and the rest outside, between the eaves on the outer walls of the hall.
These epitomize the ideal female form and are depicted in various forms, such as dancers, musicians and drummers etc.

Other important sculptures here are the Narasimha (half man and half lion form of Vishnu), Shiva –Gajasure (Lord Shiva slaying a demon in the form of an elephant), the winged Garuda, dancing Kali, the seated Ganesha, etc.

Equally impressive are the temples of Chennigaraya, Viranarayana, Sridevi and Bhoodevi, housed in the same complex.

One can only configure why such a long time was taken to complete this temple upon paying a visit to this awesome architectural marvel ! Whilst admiring this beautiful temple, I wished that time would freeze, but had to face reality and move on …….

Note: * The 48 different Madanikas will be described in detail my next blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lots to write, but paucity of time !

Dear Readers,
Please bear up with me, many of my upcoming blogs will deal with more travelogues. Sorry for not posting these in time. Like my visit to Hampi, Lisbon, Ulm (Germany) etc.

Till then Be Happy !

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ethereal Expressions in Stone - Hoysaleshwara Temple



The opulent Hoysaleshwara temple is justly described by some as the supreme climax of Indian architecture and is located in Halebeedu.
Halebeedu means ‘old house’ or ‘old ruins’which is located at a distance of 218 kilometres from Bangalore, was once known as Dwarasamudra, named after the lake beside which the city was established. It was the 12th century capital of the Hoysalas, a dynasty that ruled over much of South India for over 200 years.

The temple, built with Chloritic chist (soapstone), enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala.
It was commissioned in 1120 AD by two wealthy Halebeedu's merchants, Ketamalla and Kesarasetti. As against the usual six , its base consists of eight rows of breathtaking friezes, beginning with sturdy elephants, lordly lions, ingeniously executed floral scrolls and horsemen, which together symbolize stability, courage, beauty and speed, the four essential qualities of a good king. Amazingly, no two animals in the 200 metre long frieze are alike.

The whole temple complex is elevated on a Jagati (platform) The exterior of the temple looks mesmerizing because of the introduction of many projections and recesses in the walls.

The outer walls of these temples contain an intricate array of stone sculptures., rows of elegant swans, floral motifs, scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and episodes from Lord Krishna’s life. No other temple in the country captures the epics as effectively and elegantly as this temple.

Above the basement friezes is the temples most outstanding feature – a panorama depicting the entire Hindu pantheon and various legends associated with them. Incarnations of Vishnu, Nataraja doing his cosmic dance in unalloyed bliss, the dancing elephant god Ganesha, Shiva vanquishing a demon elephant, they are all there. All the 240 figures are rich in exquisite and astonishingly intricate detail.

An exceptional feature of Hoysala temples is that many sculptures bear labels recording the names of the artists who executed them. The most notable features are the highly polished lathe-turned pillars of the temple.
This temple is now being proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Largest importer of gold !


India is the world's largest gold consumer with an annual demand of around 800 tons ! Gold prices have been surging, lately.
For quite some time gold has been stealing the headlines !

What makes this yellow metal so special and in demand ?

In many Asian countries, such as India, Thailand, and China, gold is important for religious ceremonies and social occasions, such as the Hindu marriages in India and the Chinese New Year. Gold is still regarded throughout much of the world as a store of financial value, particularly in many developing countries.
Gold jewelry is universally popular, loved for its lustrous yellow color and untarnishing character. The chemical symbol for gold is AU.

Here are some 10 quick facts about this precious metal:

1. Gold is primarily a monetary asset and partly a commodity.
2. Gold is the only metal that is impervious to rust. It has an excellent chemical stability with a high resistance to corrosion and oxidation.
3. Gold is one of the most recycled materials in the world.
4. Gold is so pliable that it can be made into sewing thread. An ounce of gold can be stretched over 50 miles.
5. The melting point of gold is 1064.43 centigrade.
6. Gold is chemically inert, which also explains why it does not cause skin irritation.
7. Due to its high electrical conductivity, gold is a vital component of many electrical devices, including computers. Most cell phones, computers, calculators, television, and other electronic items contain gold.
8. China is the world's largest gold producer followed by Australia, USA and South Africa (Year 2009)
9. Because it is non-toxic and biologically benign, gold is perfect for many medical applications.
10. The purity of gold is measured in carat weight. The term “carat” comes from “carob seed,” which was standard for weighing small quantities in the Middle East. Carats were the fruit of the leguminous carob tree, every single pod of which weighs 1/5 of a gram (200 mg) Carat weight can be 10, 12, 14, 18, 22, or The higher the number, the greater the purity.
And finally, it is believed that almost 80 % of the earth's gold is still buried underground !

So Goodluck in Goldmining !

Note: The gold price today is Rs.1836/gm.

Color wonders !


Nature — the smartest painter of us all ! and I am really intrigued by the play of colors and would like to share some information with you all.

Do you know from where flamingos ger their color ?They get their colour from their food. They love algae, which are
rich in carotenoid pigments. This is deposited in the feathers, and creates the hue.

The colour wheel created by Newton is a logically arranged sequence of pure hues. This traditional colour wheel uses the three primary colours – red, yellow and blue.
There are three secondary colours formed by mixing the primary colours.
Red + Yellow = Orange
Blue + Yellow = Green
Red + Blue = Purple

Mixing primary and secondary colours produces tertiary colours like magenta and cyan.

May your life be colorful forever !

Source: www.gobartimes.org

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What is Happiness ?

Yesterday, while reading the Times of India (05/07/10), I came across a nice article about Happiness. It said that in attempt to measure happiness, a study was conducted and this was the result:

FAMILY + FOOD = HAPPINESS

Family was associated with relationships, family members and friends.
I very much liked this and was infact surprised to know that money superseded this formula and once again reverting my focus on food, how essential it is for living and being happy in life. I strongly feel that starvation due to hunger amongst the poor should be abolished. Please visit http://www.thehungersite.com, and help feed the hungry with a simple click.


Wishing All Happiness Galore !