Showing posts with label Jainism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jainism. Show all posts

MP Diaries - Prologue

 "MP Diaries" is a chronicle of our recent road trip to the magnificent state of Madhya Pradesh. Our journey in and across MP felt like home. We owe our sincere thanks to the  people of Madhya Pradesh. Until the evening of 23rd  December 2016, the plan was uncertain. Almost every day in December, we planned/ unplanned for this trip due to various reasons. Looking back, we know we made the right decision. As we had lost our camera along with all its accessories during our Chikmagalur trip long back, we went ahead to buy another DSLR on 24th of December for our upcoming MP trip. This apart, the car was not even serviced owing to the dilemma of our trip, although the much needed engine oil change and coolant top up was done on the morning of 25th December just before we hit the highway.
Our Best Friend in MP
During our return journey to Bangalore, our vehicle (Xylo) which had behaved well through out the trip developed fuel leakage about 150 km away from home. We realised about the leakage only after the smell of the fuel intensified.  Being a Sunday noon, the chances of finding of a service center were meager. My wife kept an eye for any operational garage as we drove and we found one in Devanahalli. Thanks to the heroics of this mechanic, the leakage which was manageable priorly, only increased as we drove although he had convinced us that we could drive till home safely.  At about 12 km  to home, we observed fumes coming out of our vehicle's engine, which rang an alarm bell to stop immediately. We had to park our vehicle and book a cab to reach home, thus ending our wonderful journey.
Madhya Pradesh Route Map (click here)
Two other important aspects for planning our trip were our 20 month old kid and demonetisation. Though our little one enjoys traveling, the next fifteen days would be a testing time for him as well as us with regards to food, drinking water and sleep. We three, together, managed it quite well.  Though he caught cold due to the extreme cold in Gwalior, the hotel staff were cooperative in setting up a heater at the middle of night, without which the situation would have only worsened. Thanks again to the staff at hotel Ambassador, Gwalior who were helpful and responsive with the heater, it was a savior!. This apart, he enjoyed well through out our journey. Demonetisation made most of us go cashless, hence we had to be prepared for overcoming this. As we decided late about our journey, we had little time to go the bank and draw money. We had to be dependent on undependable ATM's for the rest of our journey in addition to not being sure  about how far plastic currency/wallet would be accepted. Most of the fuel stations accepted cards/e-wallets, except for one in Andhra state. Almost all toll booths accepted cards/ e-wallets payments. Most of the budget hotels we stayed in were quite hesitant to accept any form of digital pay mode and preferred cash invariably. Many ATM's across the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were operational and issued money, Maharashtra being an exception where long queues in front of banks were a common sight. On the whole, the effect of demonetisation on our journey was nil.
 Madhya Pradesh like all other states in India is blessed with rich natural, cultural and historical heritage. Driving across Madhya Pradesh was a pleasant experience as described in our previous post. While researching on  places to visit in MP, we realised that finalizing our itinerary was a tough job. Since it was a road trip, we had the freedom to go around as we wished (which we always enjoy) and explore the lesser known places. We made a list of places we  wanted to visit. We also made sure to be prepared for the harsh winters of North India during December. A major disadvantage to us while traveling during winter was that the days are shorter and we had to manage our timings accordingly. Gwalior in the Northern part was the coldest place during this trip and we had to use a heater, both in our room as well as our vehicle during travel (rarity for us). Driving from Orchha to Khajuraho was a challenge in itself owing to the zero visibility due to smog. To add to our misery, my wife realised at the right time (being quite sarcastic!) that I  hadn't collected my ID from the hotel we checked out last. Thinking wise, we drove back to get the ID rather than getting it couriered to our residential address. We will surely remember this drive for long and will always cherish it. 
List of the Places we planned to visit 
1) Pilgrimage - Omkareshwar and Ujjain
3) Architectural, Buddhism/Jainism - Sanchi, Udayagiri, Badoh Pathari, Budhi Chanderi 
4) Architectural, Islamic - Mandu, Asirgarh, Dhar, Burhanpur, Chanderi  
5) Prehistoric - Bhimbetka 
6) Natural Wonders - Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls
7) Wildlife - Bandhavgarh, Panna and Chambal 
Unfortunately, Bandhavgarh and Panna didn't happen since the online safari booking was full. We thought it wasn't feasible to travel to Bandhavgarh/ Panna and try on the spot safari  booking. Also, the prices of guaranteed safari via resorts was way too high. We didn't make it also to Ujjain due to paucity of time.
Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh - The Heart of Incredible India (Click on the image for Enlarged View) 
Our companions of the trip
1) Information partner - “Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent " by Takeo Kamiya, India - Eyewitness Travel of DK, books we bought locally during our journeys across MP and a  few details collected from various websites/ blogs
2) Clicking partners – Nikon D3300, Lenovo K5 Note
3) GPS partner - Eicher Road Atlas (wonderful road atlas) and Google Maps
4) Music partner -  iPad Mini with 16GB songs
5) Telecom partners - Airtel and Idea - Connectivity was very good which ensured we kept in touch with all our loved ones
6) A travel diary for writing down details of places visited, etc., including expenditure (unfortunately we didn’t use it as usual!).
Our Travel Oath
1) Not to exceed a speed limit of 100 kmph (Result: Roads were too good to keep a tab on speed limit)
2) No night driving beyond 10 pm. (Result: Had to break this oath on two nights only to keep pace with time)
3) Calling home every day (Result: Did not dare to break this one, if not this, the reverse surely happened!)
Total Cost: Under Rs.65,000/- per couple +child. Fuel expense (Rs.24 K) and Accommodation (Rs.17 K) being the major contributors, toll fee too significantly contributed to the expense
Road Conditions:  Do we need to speak about this again? Although most of the roads were good to  drive, there were many stretches of NH which were under repair or in a bad shape. Sadly, the caution/diversion boards too were not clearly visible. Two such stretches were from Mandu to Indore via Dhar (we hated this stretch!) and Shivpuri to Gwalior
Total km: 5243
Number of Days: 14,  (25 December 2016, 9:15 am to 08 January 2017 6:30 pm)
Total No. of photos taken: 10162 clicks 
Team G Cube in MP 

Belagavi Fort

The Fort Entrance 
The fort of Belgaum is an old fort built in the Chalukyan era which subsequently underwent modifications during the Bahmani rule. Though it seems like the fortification remains intact, the overgrown creepers and plants on the fort walls make it obscure. Sadly, most of the portions of the fort have least or no maintenance. There are many monuments inside the fort area such as the Kamal Basti, Old Jaina Temple, Shiva Temple, Military Durgadevi Temple, the Jamia Masjid and so on.
The Mighty Fort Wall 
The High Fort Wall
On the opposite side of the Kamal Basti is another ruined Jaina temple facing south. Based on the inscriptions, the temple can be dated to have been built roughly around the 10th century. While the garbagriha and sukhanasi have completely disappeared, the ruined temple now survives only with a navaranga and mukhamantapa. They are built on a low elevated Jagati (platform). The navaranga entrance door is intricately carved with various geometrical patterns and floral designs. The pillars of the navaranga are huge, unusually tall and mostly plain with varying cross-sectional shapes and beaded carvings on its circular portions. The mukhamantapa has a kakhshasana (stone bench) and four pillars in its front. The parapet of the kakhshasana (stone bench) in the mukhamantapa exhibits on its external side, rows of artistic geometrical motifs at the base and impressive statuettes of musicians, drummers and dancers at the top portions with bands of floral designs and miniature pillars in between them. It proves to be a great piece of art-work. The outer walls of the temple are plain having horizontal mouldings and projections with koshtas or niches on the eastern and western walls.
The grand Entrance of Mukhamantapa
Pillars of the Navaranga
Musicians, Drummers and Dancers at the Top Row
Artistic Motifs at the Parapet Base
Intricately Carved Door-Jamb
The fort area also houses a ruined Shiva temple facing east and built during the 12th century. Originally this temple is believed to have been built as a trikutachala with three garbagrihas.  Devoid of any shikaras, the only remains of the temple now is the navaranga with four doorways and four pillars. The pillars have engravings of floral designs and geometrical patterns. The entrance doorway is grand with multiple door jambs and fine carvings along with an image of Lord Ganapathy at the center of the lintel. The architrave on the doorway of the navaranga is adorned with sculptures of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara in the accompaniment of drummers and musicians and other gods. They have pierced windows decorated with floral carvings.  The outer walls are plain with a few partly damaged sculptures of madanikas in various poses. A few meters away from the ruined Shiva temple is the Jamia Masjid which unfortunately looks completely abandoned.
Side-View of Old Jinalaya
Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara on the Architrave
Pierced Window with Floral Design
Outer Wall with Partly Damaged Madanikas

PS: A new page has been added to our blog, which has a collection of our Vlogs. Click here to view.

Belagavi - Kamal Basadi

Belgaum also known as Belagavi, the largest district of Karnataka houses many monuments of historical importance. Amongst them, a few of  which have survived the tests of time and now included in the ASI’s protected monuments list  include the Kamal Basti/Kamala Basadi or Ratta Jinalaya, an old Jain temple inside the fort area of Belgaum. Built in the later Chalukyan style in 1204 A.D. by Bichana, a minister of Kartavirya IV of Ratta dynasty, Kamal Basti catches one’s eye for its neat geometrics that are meticulously executed.
Places to visit in Belgaum
The Grand Entrance
The Kamal Basti has a garbagriha, sukhanasi/antarala (vestibule/ante-chamber), navaranga and mukhamantapas. The garbagriha facing north is star shaped and houses an idol of Bhagwan Neminatha, the 22nd thirthankara, replacing the original image of Shanthinatha, is seated in the Dhyana (mediation) posture and carved in black stone. The prabhavali behind the idol is quite artistic with floral designs and makara toranas. The garbagriha entrance has intricate carvings on its door jambs.
The Majestic Door Frame
The antarala in front of the garbagriha has perforated window screens at its entrance with carvings of makaras and image of seated Jaina figure on its lintel.The lathe turned pillars of the navaranga have floral designs and geometrical engravings. Idols of a few thirthankaras can be seen inside and in the wall niches.The mukhamantapa has three entrances with stone benches on its periphery. The ceiling of the mukhamantapa is decorated with a profuse carving of a huge lotus, because of which over a period of time the Basti also came to be known as Kamal (lotus) Basti. On the ceiling can also be seen the projected idols of ashtadikpalakas in the eight cardinal directions (two seem missing) and comparatively smaller images of jaina thirthankaras in between them. The glossy lathe turned pillars of the mukhamantapa though mostly plain with minimal carvings are very skillfully executed.
The Beautiful Lathe Turned Pillars 
Beautiful Central Ceiling 
The lovely shikaras atop the garbagriha and mukhamantapa are of Kadambanagara style (stepped pyramidal type). The central ceiling of the mukhamantapa bears resemblance to Tarakeshwara temple of Hanagal (Haveri district). The external walls are plain with horizontal mouldings/bands and exhibit various patterns of geometry. It surely is a visual treat to the eyes and only intrigues us with the kind of techniques and methods used and the skill possessed by men of those times for such brilliant execution. This temple is maintained by the ASI with the help of local caretakers. Well maintained gardens around the temple only add to the temple’s beauty.
The Majestic Mukhamantapas 
Kamal Basadi, Belagavi
Kamal Basadi, Belagavi 

PS: A new page has been added to our blog, which has a collection of our Vlogs. Click here to view.

The Hoysala Temples of Udri, Shimoga

      The village of Udri is located on the border of Soraba taluk of Shimoga district. Also known by various names such as Uddhura, Uddhare and Uddharapura in the inscriptions found here, Udri is described in the inscriptions as the principal defense and treasure house of the chiefs of Jiddulige-Nadu, one of the territorial divisions of Banavasi province of the Hoysala period. Udri houses a few temples belonging to that period.

Dwarapalaks Hoysala
Life Size Dwarapalaka
Udri Shimoga
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy Temple
     The first temple we visited was dedicated to the couple god Lakshmi Narashima. Though the temple was simple in architecture, the idol  of the deities were quite intricate resembling Hoysala style of artwork. The other temple dedicated to Lord Ishvara had simple exteriors with a Nagari Shikara while the Vestibule housed beautifully carved Jaina figures in a sitting posture being attended to by the chamara bearers. The interiors of the temple were quite exquisite with beautiful lathe turned pillars and well carved ceilings. Interestingly, the lintel over the Sukhanasi and the entrance of the temple have carvings of seated Jaina figures, suggesting this very likely to be a Jain temple which in due course of time may have been converted into Ishvara/ Shiva temple. A number of Sati stones were found around the temple. These stones are referred to Sallekhana, one of the practices of Jainism.

Lakshmi Narashima Temple Shimoga
Lord Lakshmi Narashima Temple
Lord Lakshmi Narashima
Lord Ishvara Temple or Jain Temple
Lintel with Jaina Figures  
Inscriptions and Sati Stones
      Hereon we moved on to another Shiva temple which was almost in ruins, giving it a very rustic look. The carvings on the temple were much more intricate and detailed than the above two, suggesting that this could have been built much later. The last temple we visited was dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra and had been completely renovated. The life-size idols of Shaiva Dwarapalakas present here were truly a masterpiece of art. There were also a few unique hero stones around this temple in which the images of  heroes were similar to aliens. 

Lord Shiva Temple
Exquisitely Carved Lintel

Sati Stone
Weirdly Carved Hero Stone  

Information credit : Archaeological Survey of India