Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Three Temples and an Asthma Attack

Last Saturday, I went on an adventure. Five of us headed off to Beluru in a tourist vehicle. It took us about three hours to get there.
We fought through typical Indian traffic, but there was also pretty countryside.

Here is the Chennakeshava Temple, dedicated to handsome Vishnu (really). It's about 900 years old or so and still in service. 

I'm usually not a tour group person because I don't like being ferried around and told what to do, but I know very little about Hindu iconography and symbols, so I joined a group already in session (okay, I eavesdropped in what I thought was a subtle manner and then the guide invited me and another woman to join in). 

I learned some interesting facts about the temple. For instance, the roof is held up by 48 pillars, all decorated in different ways. This one's the fanciest (by fanciest, I mean most holy. It is also, obviously the fanciest):
Note the blank space:
The guide said the artist left it blank on purpose to signify the possible continuation of the temple: the work's not done yet! Also, it nullifies the artist's ego. I wanted to add a little something something but they frown on that.

In the centre of the temple is a raised stage where the Queen danced for Vishnu as an offering. I couldn't take a picture of Vishnu (they frown on that, too). This statue, hanging above the stage, represents a dancer. Look at the weird thing she's doing with her left foot.
Close to the stage is this statue:

It's Vishnu as a female avatar. This statue has perfect proportions: the head is 1/7th the height of the body, the nose is 1/3rd the length of the face. Sexy Vishnu Female Avatar distracted demons. Her feet look like lotus flowers (they don't, really, but that's part of her charm) but I forgot to photograph them. 

Outside, I took a picture of this animal guy killing someone (I probably should have taken notes):

This is a Lion/Tiger - head of a lion, body of a tiger. Wait...a liger!

Y. wanted to take yoga photos so I took a bunch of photos of her and then she returned the favour. This isn't a yoga photo, it's a photo of me flustered, trying to decide on a suitable yoga pose:
Then we headed to Halebidu and the Hoysaleswara Temple:
They must use a lot of water on this lawn - it was super dry everywhere else. 
Here's a side door:

 This temple is dedicated to Shiva. Here's the Shiva Lingam:

The Shiva Lingam is basically a big phallus. I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the lingam, but it happened. 
Apparently, it's only a Shiva temple if Nandi the Giant Bull is waiting outside. Here he is:

Then we sped off to our final destination, Shravanabelagola, a Jain Temple. 
We climbed over 600 steps to see this guy, Bahubali or Gomateshwara:

This is a major Jain pilgrimage site. 

 It's also where I had an asthma attack!

View from close to the top. 

Little statue at his feet. It's actually not that little. His feet are massive.

I normally don't get winded walking, but I was feeling a little sick that day anyway, and well...Ahem. Anyway, after I broke out the inhaler, all was good. 

See? It was steep.

The sun set on the way home:

 But not before we saw this amazingness:
Those are coconuts.

We got home safe and exhausted. 


Nishitha KM said...

hi friends..well written post.keep blogging.planning a trip to br hills resort and also near by place bandipur resorts..its really an awesome place.their sevices and Wildlife Safari really really awesome....do visit once in your life tome..

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