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Mutilated murtis and broken temples of Khajuraho

This is not a detailed or a large post - but a short photo essay on the later, and smaller and not much visited temples of Khajuraho. A photograph I saw this morning of Chaturbhuj haunted me, to think of all those mutilated murtis and broken parts of such beautiful temples. These temples were built much after the grand Lakshmana and the Kandariya Mahadev Temples, pinnacles of north Indian style of temples called as Nagara. These are photos from my phone, and I do not have a good exterior picture of the Duladev Temple. But, this post is about the later temples Vamana, Javari, Chaturbhuj and Duladev. They are beautiful, different and in fact the last one is the only temple that does not have any erotic sculptures and houses a very unique Vishnu Murti in the Garbhagriha. Duladev is a Shiva temple, the names is a later local legend, but the temple houses a Shiva Linga and locals come and pray here even today. The beautiful Javari temple, considered a Vishnu temple but the murti inside ha…
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Vishnuchitta goes to Madurai, Villiputhur becomes Thirvaipadi

“This joyful practitioner of yoga, Spends all his lawful earnings In providing food for the devotees of Vishnu Who travel between the Himalaya and the Malaya Mountains!” (Amuktamalyada – translation Srinivas Sistla) This is how the mighty emperor Krishnadeva Raya describes our Vishnuchitta. He is hailed as Periyalvar, for his mighty deed of going to the Pandya Sri Vallaba’s court to establishe the Paratva and having a divine vision of Garudaruda Vishnu and singing ‘Pallandu’ (hail! live long) to him. This great feat earned not only the title of Periyalvar (Periya = big), but his Prabandham as described by many became the gateway for the divine 4000 verse compilation, ‘Nalayira Diva Prabandham’. In the order of contents in the 4000, 'Tirupallandu' and 'Periyalvar Tirumozhi' are the first prabandhams, followed by 'Tiruppavai' and 'Nachiyar Tirumozhi' of his foster daughter Andal. But, to know him first as Vishnuchitta is very endearing, taking us through t…

Fading glory of an exquisite fabric called khun

“Iska bavishya nahin hai” Siddharamappa Malagi said in a way that both us who were struggling to make a conversation in Hindi could understand. He is very clear that with his generation khun weaving tradition in his family would end and a slow end overall to the tradition of weaving a special choli or blouse fabric in Guleddgud, small town in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, 22 km from the famous Chalukyan capital of Badami. Malagi’s less than modest home in one of the bylanes of the village hosts four pit looms, though only one was running during much of weavers’ siesta that afternoon. The threads on the loom were vibrant green, magenta, yellow, bright and shining unlike the dull fa├žade of the village or the drab, ordinary clothes the weavers themselves wore.  But, Malagi proudly talked about the beauty of the fabric he weaves, the purity of its silk and cotton used, and the natural indigo he used for the base blue that runs in the fabric even as other colours bring the waves, stars,…

Bharat of Kalidasa

This is part of a small, juvenile exercise I had done on understanding ancient Indian culture from Kalidasa. Since I can in no way better the two books on the idea of India, Bhagwat Saran Upadhyaya's 'India in Kalidasa' and C.Rajendran's 'Narrating the Nation', I will leave you with just an inspiration to read both the books. Both are available online to read, and provide such fascinating insights into what sights Kalidasa saw, the idea of Bharata and this is especially for those who have never formally studied Kalidasa.
Scholars kindly excuse.
Bharat of Kalidasa
“Looking at the chart of India as furnished by Kalidasa, we can see the country divided into three main parts, namely the great mountain wall of the Himalayas, the great low lying plane of the midland, formed by the valleys of three main rivers, Sindhu, Ganga and Brahmaputra, and the great plateau of peninsular India”

Why is geography important, and geographical references in Kalidasa an important sour…

Many more Ramayanas, not the irreverent variety

I wrote this in 2008 after a solo trip across Indonesia via Malaysia, and the edited version was published in the Hindustan Times. Never before I had taken leave for so long, and also a trip that extended to nine days. That was triggered by a new boss, and looking back I am thankful to him for being what he was in our first interaction. The trip to Indonesia holds a special place in my travels, the one I started on an impulse, regretting at times the money I was spending and at times feeling guilty about not taking the family along. My friend, Anu was as usual my partner in crime, arranging all that I needed to complete the tour and engaging in long distance conversation from China, when I felt little unsafe at Jogja. I have added a lot more photos here from Prambanan than what I could have in the print article. It was written 12 years ago, didn't want to go back and recreate a new write up today, but though I will just preserve the old one as it hasn't been available on the n…

Bhoramdeo

The Emerald Road, Less Traveled

It may sound like an oxymoron, but Bhoramdev or Bhoramdeo fits the definition of being a place that is remote, yet accessible. Situated close to the Kanha national park, surrounded by hills and now having its own notified wildlife sanctuary, it is cool, green and absolutely stunning landscape. Hidden in that greenery is this gem of a temple, well proportioned, nagara style dedicated to Shiva as Bhoramdeo. Not much details are available beyond what the couple of inscriptions at the temple have to say about the date of the temple and a probable name of the king who could have built it. There is also speculation if it was a Vishnu temple, or of a local Gond king, or a local deity. 


We decided to travel to Chhattisgarh, as it was one of the states not explored, and also because we wanted to go to Bastar. There was no guide at that time to take us to Bastar, and we ladies developed cold feet. Being interested in history and wildlife, we contended picking up a …