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Posts Tagged ‘Vishnu’

Magnificent Belur – Poetry in soapstone

Posted by Admin on May 20, 2012

Magnificent Belur – Poetry in soapstone

Belur, 40 km from Hassan city and 220 km from Bangalore, is in Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. The Chennakeshava temple was built by the Hoysalas under the rule of King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE. The deity of this temple is lord Vishnu and the word ‘Chennakeshava’ literally translates to ‘Handsome Vishnu’. Within the temple complex, the Chennakeshava temple is in the centre, facing east, flanked by Kappe Channigaraya temple on its right, and a small Sowmyanayaki temple set slightly back. On its left, set slightly back is the Ranganayaki temple. Two main Sthambhas (pillar) exist here. The pillar facing the main temple, the Garuda sthambha was erected in the Vijayanagara period while the pillar on the right, the Deepasthambha, dates from the Hoysala period.


ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: ANANTH V RAO is an engineer by profession and a hobbyist photographer with a passion for picturing architectural grandeur as well as nature and wildlife. He was born and brought up in Hassan, Karnataka, a place known for its culture and heritage. He lives in Bangalore.

Note from the Admin : – Yet another glorious tribute to the timeless splendour and enchanting beauty of my beloved Motherland.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The Hoysala emblem at the Chennakeshava temple in Belur depicts the fight between the mythical Sala and a tiger, the emblem of the Cholas. Historians and scholars believe it represents King Vishnuvardhana’s victory over the Cholas at Talakad.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The main entrance to the complex is crowned by a Rajagopura built during the days of Vijayanagara empire. The Rajagopura is a five-storey structure comprising idols of Lord Vishnu in different incarnations, as well as erotic idols.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

A view of the temple with the flag mast in the foreground.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The Chennakeshava temple is built on a 4.5 feet plinth. The temple, including the plinth, is in the shape of Sri Chakra (star shape), a characteristic feature of Hoysala architecture. Sri Chakra is considered most auspicious in Hindu religion.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Another view of the temple.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

A pillared corridor inside the temple complex.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Tourists at the Chennakeshava temple precincts.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Another view of the temple complex.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Lord Garuda, the sacred steed of Vishnu, greets devotees at the portals of the temple.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Note the intricate carving of the sculpture of Garuda, and its harmony with the temple in the background.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The main temple consists of three bottom friezes. The lower frieze depicts charging elephants, which symbolize strength and stability. The middle frieze depicts lions, which symbolize courage and valor. The upper frieze depicts horses, which symbolize speed. No two elephants, lions and horses are alike.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

A priest in the temple precincts. Belur is among the few Hoysala temples where regular worship services are held.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Darpana Sundari (lady with mirror) is one of the main attractions in the temple. The intricate carvings include the mirror frame, the tendrils around the lady, and her jewelry. A maid on her right is feeding grapes to a pet monkey.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Shukhabhashini depicts a woman in conversation with a parrot.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The scene is called Gajasura Samhara.Lord Shiva, in one of his furious forms- Gajasura Mardana, is dancing on the head of Gajasura, the elephant demon, and ripping off his skin. Observe the ripped skin above Shiva’s head.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

In Hindu mythology, Bhasmasura was an asura or demon who was granted the power that anyone whose head he touched with his hand should burn up and immediately turn into ashes (bhasma). The asura was tricked by the god Vishnu’s only female avatar, the enchantress Mohini to turn himself into ashes. The specialty of this sculpture is that a drop of water from the tip of her right hand would fall on the left breast, then on the tip of the left hand and then on the thumb of the left leg. Such was the brilliance of Hoysala architecture.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Here, a monkey is teasing the lady by pulling her sari. The lady is trying to shoo the monkey off by holding a tendril in her hand.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Tribhangi pose is considered to be humanly impossible in Indian dance forms. Tribhangi consists of three bends in the body; at the neck, waist and knee. The body is oppositely curved at waist and neck which gives it a gentle “S” shape.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

The Hoysalas carved the sculptures incorporating the finest of details. In this photo, one can see the care taken and effort put to carve the fingernails to perfection. Their talent for detail and ability to match imagination to sculpture were matchless.

Belur Chennakeshava Temple

This is a scene from the Mahabharata. Here, Arjuna is piercing the eye of a rotating fish with his bow and arrow by looking at the reflection of the fish in a bowl of oil. He does so to win the hand of Draupadi. Some people say that the bow in this sculpture, which has been destroyed now, would twang when struck.


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The beautiful temples of Bali

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012–the-beautiful-temples-of-bali.html?page=all

The Indonesian island of Bali is home to the majority of the country’s Hindus. Balinese Hinduism is characterized by the worship of the supreme god Acintya, along with the trinity in Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The art and ritual of the Balinese Hindus trace back to influences from the 4th century when Hinduism reached the island’s shores. Balinese temples are ornate, beautiful and situated in visually stunning locales. LAKSHMI SHARATH traipses through Bali and returns with these breathtaking picture postcards.

By Lakshmi Sharath | Yahoo Lifestyle Entertainment – Tue 24 Jan, 2012 2:16 PM IST

A roadside temple in Bali
Roadside Temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH
If you think India has many shrines, think again. In Bali, Indonesia’s Hindu island, there are temples everywhere – in streets, atop mountains, clinging to cliffs, on the seashore, and in the courtyard of every home.

Devotees at the Mother Besakih temple
Balinese Hindus at the Mother Besakih Temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

The Mother Besakih temple is one of the most important temples in Bali. It is located atop Mount Agung. It is not just one shrine but a cluster of 20 temples overlooking the villages and the green slopes of the mountain. Balinese believe that the good spirits along with their deities reside here and the shrines resemble houses built for them.

Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Goa, I learned, is pronounced “Guha” as in many Indian languages. It refers to a 1,000-year-old cave excavated here that houses the Hindu trinity of gods and Ganesha, whom the Balinese know as “Gajah” (as in elephant). The 11th century site, called Lwa Gajah, was not discovered until the 1950s and was believed to be a sanctuary of a Buddhist monk. Carved images of the Buddha and smaller shrines and a step-well dot the green landscape here.

Pura Uluwatu is one of Bali’s most spectacular temples © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Bali’s shrines are often located in the most exotic landscapes. This is Pura Uluwatu right atop the cliff. The scenery is breathtaking as you climb uphill through a small forested area patrolled by boisterous monkeys.

Bali’s royal shrine
Royal shrine in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Pura Taman Ayun, literally “beautiful garden”, is the shrine of the royalty in Bali. Built in the 17th century, this temple in Mengwi, south Bali, is believed to house the ancestors of the royal dynasty and their family deities.

Puppets galore
Puppets in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

The sounds of performances fill the air as you walk into any of these temples. Wayang or shadow puppetry, the Kecak or fire-dance, and various other local dances like Barong, Legong and Pendet are some of the art forms to experience while you visit these shrines.

Sunset at Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

No trip is complete without a glimpse of the spectacular sunset in Tanah Lot temple, a tourist magnet located on a rocky oceanic island. The 15th century shrine, dedicated to the sea spirits, was built under the direction of a priest and is believed to be guarded by snakes.

Lakshmi Sharath is a media professional, traveler, travel-writer, photographer and blogger.

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