Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kanchipuram;this temple city is a must visit if you like temple architecture, Part II

Varadharaja Vishnu temple Kanchipuram
In continuation to my earlier post on Kanchipuram, the temple city of Tamil Nadu, India, here are the fourth and fifth temples (out of the five beautiful temples that depict the time periods and sects).These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha: 

4) Varadharaja Perumal Vishnu Temple- This temple was built during the Chola regime and later the Vijaynagar kings added the magnificent 100 pillared hall. The hall has sculptures depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. This temple is one of the masterpieces of the Vijayanagara architecture.

Varadharaja sculptures on the walls of the temple
Stone chain at the Varadharaja temple

5) Thiruparruthikundram Jain temple: The Trilokyanathar Jain Temple was built in 1387. This temple is known for its beautiful paintings. These paintings were done much later... in the 17th century.

Varadharaja Perumal temple sacred tank
Thiruparruthikundram Jain temple

Paintings at the Trilokyanathar Jain Temple 
Paintings at the Trilokyanathar Jain Temple 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kanchipuram;this temple city is a must visit if you like temple architecture

Kailasanatha temple Kanchipuram
Located in Tamil Nadu, India, Kanchipuram town is around 72 km from Chennai. It used to be the imperial capital of the Pallavas for over five hundred years from the 4th to 9th centuries. Thereafter, the city came under the rule of Cholas from the 10th to 13th century; and of the Vijayanagar kings from 14th to 17th century.The temples in Kanchipuram are divided into sections called Siva-Kanchi, Vishnu-Kanchi, and the third-Jaina-Kanchi.

Because of its glorious history one can easily trace the evolution of temple construction in south India through these five beautiful temples that depict the time periods and sects.These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha:

 1) Kailasanatha temple Kanchipuram- This oldest temple Pallava Temple was built between 690-720 AD by Pallava king Rajasimha. Shiva is portrayed in different moods and forms and shown as a family man with his wife Uma and their children.
Kailasanatha Shiva-Parvati
Remnant of murals showing shiva leela at Kailasanatha

2) Vaikuntha Perumal - This Vishnu Temple in Kanchipuram was built during the reign of Nandivarman 11 of Pallava Dynasty between 720-796 A.D. Three sanctuaries have the images of Vishnu in different postures - seated (ground floor), lying (first floor; accessible to devotees only on certain days) and standing (second floor; not accessible to devotees).This temple also has several historical sculptures that are quite unique and are rarely seen in any other temples. One can learn a lot about the history of the entire Pallava dynasty up to the reign of Nandivarman Pallavamalla, the builder of this temple, from these sculptures.
Vaikuntha Perumal 
Vaikuntha Perumal-lion pillared cloister

Vaikuntha Perumal Vishnu-temple
    Ekambareswarar Temple

3) Eambereshwar Shiva Temple- This temple is the largest temple in the town of Kanchipuram. Eambereshwar is located in the northern part of the city. The temple gopuram is around 59m tall, and is perhaps the tallest gopurams in India. This was originally a Pallava temple, but was brought down and rebuilt by the Cholas, and the present structure is of the Chola dynasty.

    Ekambareswarar  shiva temple- Raja gopuram-main gateway-59 mtrs
    Ekambareswarar -unusual sculpture

To be continued in the next post...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Pangot in Nainital is a wonderful place to visit

 Kafal House, Pangot
In continuation to my earlier post on Pangot, even if bird watching is not one of your favourite passions, Pangot is still a wonderful place to visit.

The scenic beauty is awesome since the drive from Nainital to Pangot is through the forested area of Cheena Peak Range. Five years back Pangot used to be a location with barely 4-5 places to stay but now a number of hotels have come up, some of them real eye-sores as they are loud in their get up and pay no attention to merging with the environment.

Pangot starts getting quieter when you go towards Vinayak or Timplapani village road. Kafal House is a lovely place to spend a few days in. Even non-birders will return with a deep interest in birds.

These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha.

Rufous-bellied woodpecker

Rusty-cheeked scimitar babbler
Spot-winged Grosbeak

Streaked, rufous Sibia

Vinayak: Home to the rare cheer pheasantsts
Pangot, Nainital