Monday, December 1, 2014



View of cluster of temples  around SachchyiaMata temple.
History of these temples date back to 8th century AD.

 This cluster of temples welcomes visitors to Osian at its entrance.

 Idol of Sri Sri SachchiyaMata.
This temple was reconstructed during 12th century AD.

 I have read about  Osian temples being compared those of Khajuraho.  Did not find much details on similarity  though.  Our November,14 visit to Osian was indeed an eye-opener about the rich temple art here !  Structurally, Khajuraho and Bhubaneswar temples are much bigger - often  materials of study for students of  Hindu temple architecture. But, wall-reliefs and ornamentation of both Sachchiyamata complex and Jain temples' complexes  are aesthetically a class in themselves .The deities and the human figures are built delicately. Faces ans physique, postures and expressions, ornaments and clothing, composites and symbols - everything measure upto a very high standard.

  In the three temples @ SachchiyaMata's temple's level, we have three manifestations 
of 'Varah Avatar' of Vishnu.  Here is one where Vishnu has four hands , 
Bhudevi resting on his left upper arm.

...... and here, subjugation of  the 'Nagas'.

Salutation of the 'Nagas' - 
inner roof of temple adjacent to that of SachchiyaMata.

The Sachchiyamata complex is built atop a small mound, with stairs running from the street level, with a break in between , where a few small temples are located. At the summit, Sachchiyamata has been placed at the centre, with one temple attached which has significant relief work on its roof. Two modest-sized temples are on Sachchiyamata's right and one more on the left . Photographers' delight - somewhat obstructed by deep blue-coloured fabricated barriers .

 Art of juxtaposition - 
Gods, beauties, sages and composite animals  placed  side-by-side.

 Siva-Shakti Iconography, the traditional rows of animals  and life's flow imageries 
 have lost sharpness, thus a part of their appeal.

Closer observation will charm the visitors. We find Vishnu, his Avatars, Surya, Indra, beautiful women, sages with strange expressions and mythical animals in combat placed in deep-set alcoves. Each relief has mark of very matured and superior artistry. Faces, hair-style, dresses and poses speak high about the art of  Pratihara dynasty. Dr Asha Kalia , more than 30 years ago, wrote a book on Osian art - wish I had access to this book before my visit.

 Combat between composites & human beings adorn  the east-side wall of 
Lakshmi-Narayan temple, on LH of SachchiyaMata temple.

 Close-up of 'Slaying of  Hiranyakashipu' on the east-side wall of 
Lakshmi-Narayan temple, on LH of SachchiyaMata temple.

Two  temples @ lower level of SachchiyaMata complex. 
Well-known desert  beyond  green boundary of Osian village in far horizon.

My wife and I have captured in our camera  whatever appealed to our eyes aesthetically. For extensive details, please refer to Dr Asha Kalia's pages in the Internet, in case her book is not available in your neighbouring Library.

Monday, November 24, 2014



 This map shows the path we covered.

 The traditional way of capturing Qutb Minar's photograph.

For a fortnight since 6/11/14, Ruby and I traveled from New Delhi to various places in Rajasthan , driving partly in cars , partly in buses through   cities, villages, desert  and valleys  to visit Mandawa and Nawalgarh in Shekhawati region, Ajmer, Udaipur, Srinathjiu's temple @  Nathdwara, Ranakpur, Osian and  .Jodhpur.

 View of Fateh sagar from top of Maharana Pratap Memorial , Udaipur.

Full view of the fountain , Fateh sagar, Udaipur.

 We visited Qutb Complex and Humayun's Tomb to after decades to savour Muslim architecture, excellent sculptures' Galleries at Ajmer  and New Delhi ( National Museum), scores of temples and best of the examples of Shekhawati paintings. And... the architecture of Yashawant Thada, Jodhpur.

Pillars of  Hindu temples used widely in Quawaat-ul-Islam Mosque, Qutb Complex, New Delhi.

Varaha Incarnation of Vishnu. 10 -11th Century. DUngarpur,Rajasthan.
Akbari Fort Museum, Ajmer.

There were glitches, time over-run, misses - specially @ Ranakpur , opportunities not utilised as time slipped through a couple of lazy mornings.Worst was the ban on photography in the most important zone of the main temple.  There were unexpected rewards too - e.g. Sound&Light show @ Akabari Fort, Ajmer and the three nearly deserted temples @ entrance of Osian village with astounding iconography !

 Exterior Wall of Hotel Shekhawati, Mandwa.

View from the entrance of one of the many Havelis we covered 
@ Mandawa and near-by areas.

We came across helpful people in buses, trains - the hotel owner @ Mandawa, the guide and some of the Haveli owners @ both Mandawa and Nawalgarh, Shekhawati artist Devnarayanji, Gulabjisa - the young security guard , fashionably dressed in dhoti-kurta - shop-keepers at Udaipur and Ajmer....... Remarkable were the S- and U-curves in the bus-route between Sikar and Ajmer and the reticent car-driver who tool us from Udaipur to Jodhpur via Ranakpur !

View from interior of  Jasawant Thada, Jodhpur.

Ruby poses with 'Gulabjisa' , Security Guard-cum-guide of Jaswanat Thada, Jodhpur.

 Why people visit monuments - a sizable section visits to absorb details with aid of guides as well as  to worship if the monument is a live temple. A miniscule section  take photographs for reference and later viewing. Yet, a large section walk in for a stroll and taking their own photographs.  With   camera-equipped mobile phone in almost every palm, 'phataphat' photo sessions on the court-yards of historical monuments has become very common -- a trend very common in Durga Puja pandals or Millennium Park at the shore of the Ganges !

Ranakpur is proud of this Jain temple,with so well crafted interior & exterior.

One of the four small temples at the entrance of Osian.

 It will be my endevour to share a section of the photos and notes with my friends in this page as well as facebook page.  I end this blog thanking my friends and relatives whose hospitality enlivened this trip and Ruby who has taken gigabytes of photos to enrich my collection.

A matter of choice - Photographers engaged 
in capturing the monument as well as the moment !
( at Qutb Complex)

Silence !
Humayun's Tomb, New Delhi.

Monday, October 6, 2014



 Deities with 'different' look  @ Behala Club @ Banamali Naskar Road.
(Acknowledgement  - Website of Behala Club  * )

Both these Puja organisers have used human figures - plenty of them - to adorn their Puja pandals.  The similarity ends here. BC  has   brought in two 'Saura' artists from Odisha   and  Installation art - an ambiance which looked magnificent when lighted up in the night. The installation looked good even during daylight. Very colourful , very arty.  Tribals' life - hunting ,cultivation, domestic scenes and festivity - with abstract designs -  enliven the ambiance. The deities have been given very distinctive look. Almost human faces, little or no ornaments. A remarkable effort by BC and Rupak Bose.

The entrance of Behala Club.
 The central piece is placed in such a way 
that neither its details nor the 'Garbhagriha' is not visible.

Huge display of 'Saura' Art.
(Acknowledgement  - Website of Behala Club )

View of the same, under soft light of the rising sun.

For a few minutes,the morning sun allows the Dancers  an opportunity 
to dance  with their shadows !

Scenes  of Hunting

(*) I would like to mention to  Behala Club's Puja Committee that they could have kept the 'Garbhagriha' better illuminated during daytime as well - few details could be viewed during daytime.

The 'Torana' @ the entrance of Abasar Sarbajanin. 
It has guards with spears on the top rung, musicians on the  lower rung.
The competitors , with their instruments, line up the side walls.

Musicians traveling on carts pulled by strange-looking animals.
 The whole of right-wall has musicians - mostly drummers & flutists -
lined up to entertain and/or compete.

While Behala Club used mostly paintings  of figures to  decorate the 'Installation', Abasar Sarbajanin deployed human figures created from junk to decorate theirs. It is an arena where people were sitting on top of a huge mound to enjoy competition between two groups of musicians, standing and siting along the left and right walls. The 'torana' had musicians too along with armed guards, with their spears high up.  People were coming in strange carts, pulled by stranger animals. The cacophony  disrupted peace and birds were flying away. The cart pullers were also made of junk while birds are were made of ceiling fans and hoses.

Viewers' Gallery atop the 'Garbhagriha'.
Birds irritated by cacophony fly away !

Well, to other viewers, the interpretation of the 'Installation' may be another  'story' , but, it was  not  a  3-minutes enter-click-with-mobile-depart 'Installation'

 Duga by Gouranga Kuila - awarded 'Sharad Samman'

The deity, made with jute, was a piece of art. The 'Garbha-griha' is decorated with hanging red threads, small artifacts connected with  Hindu rituals. Very simple, very tasteful.

 Decoration of interior of  'Garbhagriha'.

Very special faces. Very special background,
made of weaving red & yellow threads.

Not much well-publicised, these two pandals stole my heart.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DURGA PUJA 2014 (Part II)

Reporting my experience of mornings of Panchami & Shashthi

Ballygunge Cultural Club

This year, Ruby and I have decided to  target pandals/pavilions which we would surely enjoy - not go by popularity. From TV reports of last three evenings, I felt if some organisers and Installation artists have overdone decoration and paid less attention on  the imagery of Durga. Revelers continue to crowd the famous Puja pandals and very little is written criticising work  of indifferent merit. I shall not go into the details of some well-known, yet  not-good-enough work at this point of time - rather share some of the photos we have shot.
 'Samajsebi' Pandal - shaped like a piano.

 'Samajsebi' has done a great thing by dedicating their show to RD Burman. Huge replicas of musical instruments RD loved to use in his music. The main pavilion is a piano-like structure. The deities' eyes are very special . The specialty will stay with you. My pleasant experience was marred by rude behaviour of one volunteer. In the past also, I have seen young men behave extremely badly with viewers, showing off the 5-days power they acquire !

Adornement  outside.

   The imagery is great, the pillars are two irritants for photographers.

 Adjacent Puja pandal od Ballygunge Cultural Club has been a great crowd puller through decades.  Traditional deities BCC display, with thoughtful decorations. This year, they have used colourful lamps and fabricated   steel structure of abstract design for adornment.of their pandal. Different from whatever we are seeing in TV.

 Lovely lighting  @ BCC !

Traditional imagery - framed within fabricated steel structure.

 Purbapally - the club in our earlier residence @ Jamir Lane - used to offer good work within shoe-string budget. This year, we found their work mediocre.  Nevertheless , the decoration

 Excellent 'shola' work @ Purbapally !

Monday, September 29, 2014

DURGA PUJA 2014 (Part I)

 The work of an unknown artist - Sharatda Mandir,Parnasree

Sharada Mandir is a small temple of Parnasree with a wide open space in its front and right by the side of a water-body. This area is in centre of activities during  Durga Puja - Kali Puja phase.

During the Pujas, hordes of revelers crowd pandals erected here. During Durga Puja, 'bhog' is served against a modest charge - very popular with the residents. In 2013, I heard grumblings about over-booking. The evenings see  'arati' as well as interesting musical programs, quite popular with residents of Parnasree who do not venture much in the crowded streets of Calcutta.

This year Indra Pal and his small team is working here , shaping up three sets of Devi and her family. Famous he is not, but, has a very good temperament. I went to his work area during the last phase of preparation and brought a good nos of photographs. A few  are posted here .

Deity getting dressed up.

Mahisasura subjugated !

Young boy has a tummy ready to compete with that of Ganesha !

Indra Pal attends to Ganesha as Lakshmi Devi stands nearly ready !

Here is another photo of the deity of Sharada Mandir getting ready - she was surely way ahead of others. Had to be - this Puja Committee has provided space to Indra Pal for others' work. Hence, he presumably keeps his present bosses happy.

On the  morning of 'triteeya'.