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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Hampi, Karnataka - a World Heritage Site : Part 1 of 3

Hampi is situated on the south bank of the river Tungbhadra approx 350 Km from Bangalore. Nearest railway station is 15 km away in Hospet in Bellary district of Karnataka. The river was earlier known as Pampa which became Hampe in Kannada & got anglicised to Hampi.

This village Hampi is situated in erstwhile capital city of Vijaynagar Empire which covered vast tracts of southern India. The Empire was established by two brothers Harihara ( or commonly known as Hakka ) & Bukka Raya in 1363 under guidance of their guru Madhava Vidyarnya. The mighty Empire in its peak time extended from river Krishna to Kanyakumari and from Goa to Odisha.

In ancient times the area was known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishikindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra. Later it has also been mentioned as Virupakshpura as Virupaksha was the patron deity of Vijaynagara Kings. 

The Empire suffered a major defeat in the year 1565 at the hands of confederation of Deccan sultanates. Thereafter the Empire weakened considerably & collapsed by 1646.   

Hampi is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. It is a charismatic capital town even in ruins. Large boulders strewn across the landscape, in valleys & on surrounding hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique. Spread around are hundreds of small & large monuments. These include magnificent temples, palaces, pavilions, ancient markets, army quarters, aqua-ducts & water tanks. The list is of monuments in Hampi is endless. This may be called an open museum of a large prosperous capital city which saw glorious days for two centuries from 1363 AD to 1565 AD. 

Trade with foreign countries had increased considerably at the time via Calicut port. Many traders & visitors have recorded about the wealth, culture, architecture, food & life style prevalent at the time in Vijaynagara Empire. Some of them are Abdul Rezzak from Herat who visited in 1443, Nicolo Conti of Italy who visited during 1420, Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes who stayed in the Empire during 1520-22, Portuguese horse trader Fernao Nuniz who was here in 1536-37, Cesare Frederici of Italy who visited in 1567 and Colonel Colin Mackenzie of Scotland who visited in 1799.  

If you love history & have strong legs as they say locally, you can spend weeks in Hampi. The ruined Capital is spread over hilly terrain of 26 sq. km. Bicycles, motorbikes, tonga, golf carts etc are also available in the town on rental basis for excursions. Every turn of the way & every hill holds a surprise for you. 
Some photos:


Monolith statue of Lakshmi Narsimha 6.7m in height built in 1528. This is fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu sitting on the coils of Adishesha Nag with its seven faced hood as canopy. Seated figure of Lakshmi on left lap has since been lost

Huge 3 m high monolith linga - Badavailinga

Carved pillars of Prassana Virupaksha Temple. Such pillars are found in all buildings of Hampi.

Entrance of Prassana Virupaksha (underground Siva) Temple

Side view of the Siva temple

Small & large statues kept in open in office complex of Archaeological Survey of India, Hampi

Massive stone doors to the Royal Enclosure lie damaged. These were moved with the help of elephants.

Mahanavami Dibba on the top of which sat King & his family 
8m high, 35 sq m at the top, Mahanavami Dibba is part of Royal Enclosure. Upon the Dibba sat the kings & royal families & watched the proceedings on festivals like Ramanavami

One of the many water storage tanks

Network of water supply channels ensured perennial supply

These stone plates were used to serve food to the wrestlers during festival shows 
Step well in Royal Enclosure used by royal family


Layout with wide pathways & open spaces for the elite

Up to ceiling level the temples were of stone & above that mortar & bricks were used 
Wide pathways & temples everywhere

View from the another platform in Royal Enclosure

Kuduregombe Mandapa

Pushkarni. A small temple in the water tank

Battery operated vehicles are available at some spots

Talarighatta Gate in rear view mirror
      


  

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

ट्रेनिंग

सरकारी नौकरी का अपना ही मज़ा है. एक ही दफ़्तर में एक ही कुर्सी टेबल पर १० बजे से ५ बजे तक फ़ाइलें उलट पलट करते रहिये. बीच बीच में टी ब्रेक, लंच ब्रेक, गप्प ब्रेक, तफरी ब्रेक और बॉस-सेवा ब्रेक करते रहिये. बॉस की तबीयत बहली रहेगी तो उसी ऑफिस में कुर्सी बनी रहेगी. वैसे भी तबादला कौन चाहता है ?

तबादला तो दूर की बात है प्रमोशन भी नहीं चाहिए. वरना एक तरफ जिम्मेवारी बढ़ेगी और दूसरी तरफ बाहर पोस्टिंग पर जाना पडेगा. और प्रमोशन की किसे परवाह है - अपना मकान है, सुविधाजनक दूरी पर दफ़्तर है, बीबी कमाऊ है और दोनों बेटियों का ख़्याल रखने के लिये घर में दादा दादी हैं.

बस इसी तरह की बाबूगिरी में कुन्दरा जी की ज़िन्दगी आराम से गुज़र रही थी. १५ साल हो चले थे एक ही डिपार्टमेंट में. सुबह बड़े ही सलीक़े से तैय्यार होकर अपने दुपहिया से दफ़्तर आते. हैलमेट को स्कूटर में लॉक करते और जेब से कंघी निकाल कर बालों को क़रीने से माथे पर सजा देते. फिर अपने तीन डिब्बे वाला टिफ़िन लेकर दाएं बाएं देखते हुए अपने डिपार्टमेंट की ओर चल देते. कुन्दरा जी थे तो ४५ साल के पर अपने आप को २५ साला नौजवान समझते थे. नज़रें बहुत पैनी थी डिपार्टमेंट के दरवाज़े से ही हाल का पूरा मुआयना कर लेते थे. 

अंदर पहुँच कर टिफ़िन के दो डिब्बे हाट-केस में रखते और दही वाला डिब्बा ए.सी. के सामने सजा देते. टेबल व कुर्सी पर हल्का सा कपड़ा फेरते और रोज चपरासी शंकर को ठीक से काम करने की नसीहत जरूर देते. दाहिनी तरफ़ रखी कैबिनेट से १०-१२ फ़ाइलें निकाल कर टेबल की बांई ओर सजा देते. सुन्दर सा पैन स्टेंड, पेपर वेट और पानी का गिलास टेबल पर क़रीने से सज जाता तो कहते,
- चलो जी आज की हाजरी तो लग गई !

दाएं बाएँ हाल मे नज़रें घुमाकर मुआयना करते. कौन आया कौन नहीं. किसने कैसी साड़ी पहनी है और किसकी शर्ट नई है. दिन की शुरुआत महिलाओं से बात करके हो तो दिन अच्छा गुज़रता है. सो श्रीमति मलिक को नमस्ते करके बोले ,
- होर जी मलिक साब दा की हाल है ?
श्रीमती मलिक कुर्सी पर पैर समेटे बैठी हुई थी और मैडम दुआ के साथ पराँठे अचार का आनंद ले रही थी. तपाक से बोली,
- मलिक साब नू की होणा है ? ना मलिक साब कोई कम करदे नें ना कुड़ियां कुछ कर दीयां ने.
कुन्दरा जी ने तुरंत श्रीमती मलिक को सलाह दी,
- कुड़ियां कोलो कम कराया करो. लड़कियों ने दूसरे घर नहीं जाना है ?
- ओ जी अस्सां ते टोर देणियां ने आप्पे निबेड़न गे ससुराल वाले ( हमने तो विदा कर देनी हैं ससुराल वाले अपने आप निपटते रहेंगे )! कह कर श्रीमती मलिक कुछ मुस्कुरा दी.
कुन्दरा जी ने फिर श्रीमती दुआ की तरफ रूख किया और हाल चाल पूछा,
- दुआ मैडम जी कोई लड़का मिला ? कुड़ी वास्ते किधरे गल बनी ?
- हंजी ईक मुन्डा वैख्या ते है गल बात चलदी पई है. कुड़ी त्यार हो गई है.
- अच्छा है जी आजकल कुड़ियां जल्दी नहीं तैयार होती. बस जल्दी मुहं मिठ्ठा कराओ जी.

कैंटीन वाला १२ बजे की चाय कुन्दरा जी की टेबल पर रख गया. कुन्दरा जी चाय और समोसे का आनन्द ले ही रहे थे कि चपरासी शंकर के साथ एक २३ -२४ साल की महिला को अपनी ओर आते देखा. फटाफट कंघी निकाली और बाल सैट किए. क़मीज़ के कालर की नोक ठीक की फिर आस्तीनों की क्रीज़ बिठाई. इस दौरान नज़रें महिला पर टिकी रहीं. शंकर ने महिला का परिचय  कराया,
- ये मिस मालती है. ये ट्रेनिंग लेने आई हैं. साहब ने आपके पास ट्रेनिंग के लिए भेजा है.

कुन्दरा जी ने मिस मालती को ऊपर से नीचे देखा तो मिस मालती सावंले रंग की छरहरे बदन की आकर्षक महिला लगी. बड़े अच्छे तरीके से टेबल की दूसरी ओर अपने सामने बिठा लिया. पानी मँगवाया और मिस मालती का इन्टरव्यू लेने लगे - कहाँ रहती हो, पहले नौकरी कहाँ की है, शादी का क्या स्टेटस है. ख़ास सवाल ये था कि मिस मालती कितने दिन उनके पास ट्रेनिंग लेगी. जवाब मिला कि एक सप्ताह उनके साथ काम सीखेंगी.

कुन्दरा जी का अगला हफ्ता बड़ा व्यस्त गुज़रा पर शानदार गुज़रा. पूरे हफ्ते खुश नज़र आए. पर ट्रेनिंग देते देते कुन्दरा जी का खर्चा बढ़ गया - एक परफ्यूम की शीशी , एक डिब्बा नया पाउडर, एक बोतल हेयर कलर, जूता पोलिश वगैरा लेनी पड़ गई. धोबी का बिल बढ़ गया. हेलमेट और स्कूटर धुलवा के पोलिश करवाया शायद मिस मालती को बिठाने का चांस मिल जाए ! कैंटीन वाले को चुपके से कह दिया कि एक हफ्ते तक मीठी चाय पिलाए कमबख्त शुगर बढ़ती है तो बढ़े. निकम्मे दोस्तों ने भी कई बार चुस्की ली और बदले में चाय समोसे गटक गए.

गाड़ी तैयार है 

कुन्दरा जी मन ही मन सोच रहे थे कि ट्रेनिंग तो अब ख़तम हो जाएगी. कॉफ़ी हाउस चलने को कहता हूँ मानेगी या नहीं ? मान जाएगी ? हाँ ? ना ? अगर कहेगी कि लेट हो जाउंगी तो कहूँगा स्कूटर किस लिए है. फिर हिम्मत कर के कह दिया,
- ट्रेनिंग तो अब ख़तम हो रही है मिस मालती. तो फिर हमारी पार्टी भी तो होनी चाहिए ?
- हाँ हाँ क्यूँ नहीं. अभी कैंटीन में इण्टरकॉम करती हूँ.
- ना जी ना मिस मालती यहाँ की चाय थोड़ी पीनी है. हम तो कनाट प्लेस में कहीं बैठेंगे.
- हाँ हाँ कल चलिए ऑफिस के बाद.

कुन्दरा जी मुस्कराए भई कमाल कर दिया मिस मालती ने. उम्मीद तो नहीं थी ! पुरानी नसों में नया खून दौड़ने लग गया . मन में गुदगुदी होने लगी. अगला दिन कितना लम्बा हो गया ? पांच ही नहीं बज रहे थे कमबख्त. किसी तरह से ऑफिस का समय समाप्त हुआ और कुन्दरा जी ने चैन की साँस ली. हाथ मुंह धोया. बाल सेट किये, पर्स में पैसे चेक किये और मिस मालती के साथ ऑफिस के बाहर आ गए. पार्किंग से स्कूटर निकालने लगे तो मिस मालती ने रुकने का इशारा किया.
- जी क्या हुआ ?
- एक मिनट रुकिए.
सामने से फटफटिया आकर रुकी. सवार ने हेलमेट उतारा तो मिस मालती ने परिचय कराया,
- ये हरेंदर सिंह हैं मेरे मंगेतर और आप हैं कुन्दरा साब.

कुन्दरा जी के मन के गुब्बारे में सुई चुभ गई और सारी हवा निकल गई. मुंह का स्वाद कसैल गया. मन की गुदगुदी खुजली में तब्दील हो गई. भारी मन से बोले,
- मुझे कुछ सामान ले जाना था एक्चुली, आप लोग एन्जॉय करो.
कुन्दरा जी को मन ही मन मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब का शेर याद आ गया :

' हैरां हूँ दिल को रोऊँ कि पीटूं जिगर को मैं,
  मक्दूर हो तो साथ रखूं नौहागर को मैं !'

* मक्दूर - बस में
* नौहागर - मातम मनाने वाला

ये शेर एक ग़ज़ल का मुखड़ा है जो मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब ने लिखी थी. इस ग़ज़ल को कई कलाकारों ने गाया है जिनमें से एक हैं सी. एच. आत्मा. उनकी आवाज़ में ये ग़ज़ल यूट्यूब पर उपलब्ध है जिसका लिंक है :
https://youtu.be/B-5aQtAzExM?list=PLJeNQvgQ4Sl-8_Sck2cOqnQ0thnaLR3fs

- - - गायत्री वर्धन नई दिल्ली.



Friday, 26 August 2016

Chennakesava Temple Belur, Karnataka - 2 of 2

Chennakesava Temple is situated in a small taluka Belur in Hassan district of Karnataka. It is 220 km from Bangalore & about 40 km from city of Hassan. Nearest railway station is Chikmagalur which is 22 km away. Its average height is 3200 ft above sea level & breezy weather here is similar to that of Bangalore. Best time to visit is Oct-Mar when humidity level is low. Belur & it's surroundings are rural agricultural area & roads are in need of improvement.

Belur together with Halebidu which is 16 km away, were the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. There is a legend about the name Hoysala. It is said that Sala & his guru Sudatta Muni were performing a ritual in a temple of Vasantha Parameshwari in nearby Sosevur & a tiger attacked them. Sudatta Muni gave a call of ‘Hoye” to Sala who struck the tiger (some say it was a lion) down. Thus began Hoysala dynasty which ruled for 300 years with Sala as first ruler. The scene of fight between Sala & the tiger has been carved out of stone beautifully & it became an emblem of Hoysalas.


Sala fighting with tiger - Hoysala Emblem

Of the Hoysala kings two names are very prominent King Vishnuvardhana & his grandson King Veera Ballala II. King Vishnuvardhana was great patron of art & is said to have commissioned 1500 temples of which 100 have survived. He started building the Chennakesava temple in 1117 to commemorate victory over Cholas & his grandson king Veera Ballala II completed the task after 103 years.

The temple is dedicated to Chenna-Kesava that is handsome Kesava or Krishna another avatar of Vishnu. The walls & the pillars of the temple are full of intricate & fine engravings & sculptures. Hardly any space is left blank. Besides elephants, horses & tigers, stories from ancient Hindu scriptures have been carved with great care, intricacy of design & poetic depiction.

Soap stone has been used extensively in the temple which is easy to work for creating ornate designs. Jakanachari & his son Dankanchari were main sculptors. Others have also been mentioned in inscriptions or have signed the statues. Some of them are Ruvari Mallitamma (over 40 sculptures), Dasoja and his son Chavana (10 madanikas), Malliyanna and Nagoja (birds and animals) Chikkahampa and Malloja (other than main temple).

The temple is built on a large platform or Jagati 300 ft by 300 ft in star shape & provides for a walk-around or pradikshinapatha. The hall or mantapama is open & has three entrances while the top shikhar has been lost to elements. Ornate pillars inside the hall are a unique feature of the temple. Each of them has lots of engravings & intricate carvings which are technically brilliant. Smooth surfaces, geometrically perfect designs are magnificent. Guide informed that these heavy stone pillars were rotated with the help of elephants & while rolling they were hand-chiselled & hand polished. The result is fantastic & they look as if they have been smoothed & shined on mechanical lathes.

Another remarkable feature is delicate & beautiful bracket figures or madanika’s or Shilbalika’s at the top of pillars. They look so fine & fragile that it is difficult to imagine them to be carved out of stone.

The temple complex also has has Kappe Chennigraya temple built by queen Shantala Devi, Somyanayki(Lakshmi) temple, Ranganayaki temple & Pushkarni. 

More photos are available on the following link:

http://jogharshwardhan.blogspot.com/2016/08/visit-to-chennakesava-temple-belur.html
Chennakesava Temple, Belur, Karnataka - 1 of 2

Gopuram at the entrance

Ancient well in the foreground, Dhwaj Stambh on the right & the Temple 

Main entrance with mini Bhumija shrines on either side

Jagti or the platform of the temple also has fabulous relief sculpture 

Shilbalika inside the temple

Outer walls also have carvings

Narsimha in relief sculpture 

On one side of the temple 

On the other side of the temple 

Arjuna ready to shoot arrow

Intricate & beautiful carvings

Raja & his Darbar 



Chennakesava Temple , Belur, Karnataka - 1 of 2

There are 650 carved elephants on the platform of the temple. Each of these has a different body language & expression 















Chennakesava Temple is situated in a small taluka Belur, in Hassan district of Karnataka. It is 220 km from Bangalore & about 40 km from city of Hassan. Nearest railway station is Chikmagalur which is 22 km away. Its average height is 3200 ft above sea level & breezy weather here is similar to that of Bangalore. Best time to visit is Oct-Mar when humidity level is low. Belur & it's surroundings are rural agricultural area & roads are in need of improvement.


Deepastambha & Rayagopuram. This is said to be an addition during Vijayanagara period
Side view of the temple

Belur or Beluru in Kannada, together with Halebidu which is 16 km away were the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. There is a legend about the name Hoysala. It is said that Sala & his guru Sudatta Muni were performing a ritual in a temple of Vasantha Parameshwari in nearby Sosevur & a tiger attacked them. Sudatta Muni gave a call of ‘Hoye” to Sala who struck the tiger (some say it was a lion) down. Thus began Hoysala dynasty which ruled for 300 years with Sala as first ruler. The scene of fight between Sala & the tiger has been carved out of stone beautifully & it became an emblem of Hoysalas.


The emblem of Hoysalas on the right side of the entrance of Chennakesava Temple. Sala is fighting with tiger 

Of the Hoysala kings two names are very prominent King Vishnuvardhana & his grandson King Veera Ballala II. King Vishnuvardhana was great patron of art & is said to have commissioned 1500 temples of which 100 have survived. He started building the Chennakesava temple in 1117 to commemorate victory over Cholas & his grandson king Veera Ballala II completed the task after 103 years.

The temple is dedicated to Chenna-Kesava that is handsome Kesava or Krishna another avatar of Vishnu. The walls & the pillars of the temple are full of intricate & fine engravings & sculptures. Hardly any space is left blank. Besides elephants, horses & tigers, stories from ancient Hindu scriptures have been carved with great care, intricacy of design & poetic depiction.
 
Soap stone has been used extensively in the temple which is easy to work for creating ornate designs. Jakanachari & his son Dankanchari were main sculptors. Others have also been mentioned in inscriptions or have signed the statues. Some of them are Ruvari Mallitamma (over 40 sculptures), Dasoja and his son Chavana (10 madanikas), Malliyanna and Nagoja (birds and animals) Chikkahampa and Malloja (other than main temple).


Dwarpals at right side entrance of the temple

The temple is built on a large platform or Jagati 300 ft by 300 ft in star shape & provides for a walk-around or pradikshinapatha. The hall or mantapama is open & has three entrances while the top shikhar has been lost to elements. Ornate pillars inside the hall are a unique feature of the temple. Each of them has lots of engravings & intricate carvings which are technically brilliant. Smooth surfaces, geometrically perfect designs are magnificent. Guide informed that these heavy stone pillars were rotated with the help of elephants & while rolling they were hand-chiselled & hand polished. The result is fantastic & they look as if they have been smoothed & shined on mechanical lathes.

Another remarkable feature is delicate & beautiful bracket figures or madanika’s or Shilbalika’s at the top of pillars. They look so fine & fragile that it is difficult to imagine them to be carved out of stone.

The temple complex also has has Kappe Chennigraya temple built by queen Shantala Devi, Somyanayki(Lakshmi) temple, Ranganayaki temple & Pushkarni.



Pushkarni

Ornate entrance 'Toran' to the mantapam or the main hall

A portion of lower wall. This series of elephants representing strength, tigers representing courage & horses representing swiftness wraps around the platform of the temple.

Ranganayki Temple

Kappe Chennaswami & Lakshmi Narayana temples inside the precincts. The pillar has four sides. Three corners touch the stone platform & fourth corner has slight gap through which a newspaper can pass


Near the steps are two bhumijas - small shrines

Stone lattice & bracket figures Shilabalika


Shilabalika - a dancer 

The ceiling

Friends indeed




Understanding the intricacies