Thursday, March 31, 2011



Ruby, me and Aihole. 
The entrance of DurgaGudi with
Aihole Museum's outdoors's displays in the background.

During this February,'11 trip to the land of Saivites, I have  taken just a few photos of people and landscape.What I have in my HDD  to-day are mostly related to Iconography.Looking back, this is a lost opportunity for me.After a few years, I  shall not be having much of a scrapbook from this visit to refer back ! I should have been more conscious about this aspect while moving around.Fortunately, Ruby  has been more methodical and her album  fill in  some of the gaps.

 Sea-shore @ BandarwaniPeta near SriKakulam. Fishermen's boats near the horizon.The stone formation bang on the shore is nice for photography from a distance, specially when waves break into the same.Unfortunately, it is an open-air toilet for the villagers! 
Had to stay quite a distance away from the same.

Catch of fish, lying on sand at the sea-coast.

 These children were playing on the coast - requested me for clicking a photo 
as we were returning to our car.

SriKakulam has a  sea-shore at BandarwaniPeta - accessible by car and bus -  which is very different from the normal   tourist destination. It has a strong presence of fishermen - the seacoast is full of boats and fishing gears like nets. We could see several boats on the prowl in the sea. It is obvious that the main activities take place during the night. The neighbouring  LightHouse/Watchtower was out-of camera's range. The confluence of river Bansadhara and the sea may be a spot where one can sit down and relax - but, the coast where we stood for a while and took photos had an unpleasant stench of fish and open-air toilet around a big mound of stone which was getting splashed by waves at regular intervals !

 The untiring doorman -'DwarPal' - @ Badami caves. 
Looking after thr gods' abode since 534 AD !

Shadow & light - street photography @ Badami

Badami offers two magnificent views to those who care to move around with binocular and/or camera. Once on the top level of the caves  temple, we find the small town around, its sky-line with two near-by mosques from the AdilShahi era of Bijapur, Agastaya Teertha with  sprawling 'ghat' around, Bhoothanatha temple complex  cradled here, a hillock on the other side of Agastaya Teertha with Malegitti  Sivalaya on its top. From the other side of Agastaya Teertha, we can see the hillock with Badami caves and a fort on its top . To serious photographers, 'ghat' is an important subject.But, when I reached a reached Agastaya Teertha's 'ghat' , it was well-past noon, bathers have left for lunch and afternoon siesta.

 Skyline of Badami - photograph taken from platform in front of the caves.

View of  AgastyaTeertha from Badami caves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Damaged sculpture of 'Vishnu reclining on Ananta'. Lots of details attract our notice. Vishnu is exquisitely built, ornaments on his limbs, torso neck and head are beautiful.His consort is bare-breasted, with a locket and a sacred thread running through her torso intact, Her left leg is bent while only thefingerss of right leg have survived. Look at the Makara and conch ,wheel ("Chakra'), mace of Vishnu depicted on the base - lotus lost to ravages of time.
Sculpture at Museum of Lakundi.

Lakundi is a village near Karnataka's big town Gadag - approximately 20 km from it.Mr Deshmukh, the soft-spoken and knowledgeable Manager of Hotel Mayur Bhubaneswari, Hampi guided us into visiting Lakundi - he suggested that we avoid the direct Hospet - Badami bus route as a stretch of that was not in good shape.He suggested a slight detour - he advised us to proceed to Badami via Gadag
and have a stop-over at Lakundi. Lakundi has a bus-stop , a small shed for local passengers , but, not a big place for tourists.We landed there with our small baggage during the village's lunch-break hours  of a bright day in February,2011. The only auto-rickshaw driver's greed for a kill was tamed by a middle-aged man and we savoured a wonderful  treat of Chalukya architecture of 10th Century AD for next few hours.

A few hundred meters on the right hand side of the highway to Gadag stands Manikeshwara temple and an attached  Pushkarini with 3 very well laid-out staircases leading down to it.On the left hand side of this highway, we visited the local Museum, adjacent Jain temples - Brahma Jinalaya and Naganatha temples which share the same compound, Naneswara temple and lastly the Kashi Vishwanatha and Surya temples complex which share the same compound and are connected by a common platform too.

Blackstone Brahma in Jain temples complex.

Brahma,Siva-Parvati and Vishnu on the lintel of Naneswara temple.
Intricate work on black stone is a speciality of the temples of Lakundi.

Some of these temples have numbers of  green- and black-stone pillars, with delicately polished surfaces . A couple of them, when wet, act as concave mirrors ! Lots of delicate work - carvings and and forms - hold the viewers spellbound ! On the outside walls of the two temples mentioned last , one can see Hindu deities and scenes from mythology, a few of which are not very common. The divine and human figures showcase dance postures which made my task of photo-editing and uploading a pleasure.

 Musicians in classical dance postures. Work on black stone.
Naneswara temple, Lakundi.

KashiViswanatha temple (near)  and Surya temple (far) share the same compound and have a common platform connecting the two.

The most unusual wall relief shows Siva dancing on skeletal Andhakasura, his top two hands hold  torn skin of Gajasura and in  notable similarity with RavanPhadi cave of Aihole, accompanied by Ganesha and Devi on his left and Yogeswari (?) on his right . There are several celestial figures in the frame , all in various dance postures, now broken beyond recognition.The posture of Siva is unique - we can see his rear side as he is dancing away from us - then in an extra-ordinary dance posture, he has turned hsis face towards us. Comparable is Nataraja of Muvar temple, Koddumbalur(TN) and a MahisuraMardimi Murty created by late Jiten Pal in 22nd Palli DurgaPuja in early 1960s.

Awesome combination of AndhakasuraMardan and GajasuraSanhara Murty Siva has eight hands, his face lost all the features, but typically, he has two different earrings ! 
KashiViswanatha Temple, Lakundi

A conventional depiction of Siva's Andhakasura Mardana.He is pierced by Siva's trident and held up .
The frame is balanced by a figure on Siva's left - either Parvati or Yogeswari.
KashiViswanatha Temple, Lakundi

NB - All the photos above have been taken   either by my wife or me.

Reference documents :
1. Siva in Dance,Myth and Iconography by Anne-Marie Gaston.

Friday, March 18, 2011



 A view of the road-side wall-paintings along the route to Hampi from Hospet. A bullock cart crawls into my camera's frame as I try to capture Krishna Debaraya II offering prayer to Narayana in his temple.

Gopuram of Virupaksha temple - any visit to the wonders of Hampi starts from this temple !

'I enjoyed our trip to Hampi very much' will be such an understatement , it will not express the level of satisfaction I had during this trip to Hampi in February,2011.Nor the excitement I feel during recapitulation.

Immediately after spending two days at Hampi, Ruby and I proceeded to Badami from the near-by town Hospet, stopping at Lakundi in between to visit the not-so-well-known temples and museum there and then landed in the epicentre of Hindu Iconography ! Overwhelmed we were and now, when I go through the photographs we took during our trip, I wonder - shall I ever be able to write blogs to represent the 'joy' of visiting Hampi and Badami !

 Three headed Nandi  and a calf attracting salutation of devotees at Virupaksha temple.

Hampi's attractions have many dimensions. Westerners visit this place , drawn by its beauty and its status as a World heritage site . It has wonderful topography, excellent sunrise and sunset points, rich historical background. It has temples and palaces built in grand style, offering an oeuvre of Hindu Iconography.One can walk miles among ruins and hillocks made of strange-shaped stones or float in the cool blue water of the Tungabhadra river in boats made by bamboo.

A few photos with brief descriptions  are here to share our joy of  Hampi visit - more will follow.

Gates of  Hampi's monuments are often a photographer's delight - and that of 'students' of Iconography too. The gates of Krsna, Vitthala and Malyavanta Raghunatha temples offer  large choices. Southern face of Krsna temple, the outside face of  the main entrance of Vitthala temples are in good shape - rest are in various degrees of ruin. Picking up 'Icons' from bad/worse portions of these gates is a difficult job. Among the gates of good portions, King's march to battlefield is famous - I have found excellent 'Putana and Krsna',Durga and Nataraja among these gates !

Southern gate  of the Vitthala temple complex. Most of the details , even the heads are gone. 
Afternoon sun brightens the gloom while two parrots  rest on two headless statues !
Click for bigger view .

Lots of Westerners come here and enjoy the ambiance and Indian sculpture. I wish they had more knowledgeable guides - in Rama's temple - where walls are adorned with tales from Ramayana, I felt these visitors are somewhat lost.I asked a visitor if she could enjoy these wall-reliefs. She replied - 'Partly. My driver explained a few scenes'.We face the same situation in Europe and USA's museums. One can enjoy Vitthala temple even without understanding the tales on the wall reliefs - upto a point.Here are two photos from this temple complex  connected with Krsna.

Each of the pillars adorning this prayer hall in Vitthala temple stand out for its beauty. 
Watvh how superbly depicted the scene of Krsna  stealing away the clothes of Gopis 
who were enjoying a bath in the river Yamuna !

Krsna merged with imagery of Vishnu. Krsna has Vishnu's headgear, not his usual knotted hair - known as 'Mohanchura'. Ananta Nag spreads his hood over the god' head.He holds a flute with his lower hands , a conch and wheel ('chakra') with his upper ones. Krsna's tribhanga, cows from Vrindavana and two consorts are the other highlights of this imagery.

I found that ASI is clamping down on vandals and photographers with dishonest intentions while the interested visitors are suffering. Tripods are not allowed - poor light affects quality of shots taken by hand-held cameras. One cannot access the Musical Hall of Vitthala temple complex ! So one of the most beautiful section of this complex stay unseen. Nor a visitor can enjoy the musical pillars !

Visitors are not allowed to 'enjoy' his drumbeats !
Capturing this Drummer's photo is not an easy task anymore !

Catching a woman drying her saree after a dip in a river has become  a very a common theme these days, thanks to a few celebrity photographers. Two photographers  capture this woman in this act,
while the river Tungabhadra flows in the background.

Thursday, March 17, 2011



'Sharhabhuja Marichie'. We can see her benign left face and the beautiful lotus 
at the top left corner.Many of the features detailed below are clearly visible in this view.

We met her at the Museum of  Sailahundam Hill. This is a small museum, about 200' from the foot of the famous BouddhaStupa of Sailahundam, near SriKakulam,A.P., high on the western shore of Bansadhara river. The museum houses many sculptures  - mostly Bouddha - kept in a semicircle , in a rather dark ambiance. The most attractive sculpture is that of 'Sharhabhuja Marichi' - her imposing figure faces the visitor as s/he enters the gallery.

The caretaker of the museum told us that Marichi is the consort of Surya. Not exactly - with help of of e-friends, Satyasri Ukil and Gregory Fegel, I realised that I noted the name in my notebook incorrectly.She is not 'Harichee' - the correct spelling is 'Marichi' ! Well, nothing was written about her in the museum. A fresh internet search indicated she is the Buddhist Goddess of Dawn  .Her Iconography in Tibet and Japan are, however, different from what we found in this museum.

Marichi is 6' tall, made of sandstone ,stands on a base which has seven horses and two wheels .She has three faces - the front face is almost without any features - eyes,nose and lips gone through erosion.The other two faces have two very different expressions - like that of Siva's Trimurti - one is ferocious,fangs out, the other calm and smiling benignly.Only two of her hands are intact.The middle right hand holds a sword and the lower left hand holds a half-coiled whip.She is adorned with ornaments from head to her feet.Though she is standing on a base which is being drawn by galloping horses, her posture is not that of a woman standing still on a carriage - the right leg and angabastra near her hip depict movement.

According to Tibetan Iconography, Marichi is drawn by a cart of sow.Here, we find horses, just as in Hindu Iconography of Surya.
 Refernce -

Lots of motifs around her.
Above her left shoulder, we see a blooming lotus. A wonderful flower is that - one has to look at a close-up on a large screen ! There are two sitting and mediating Bodhisattwa on her left and right sides.The chariot is being driven by she-charioteer ,sitting in the centre of the base  in a posture which can be called Lalita Asana.She carries a fully coiled whip in her left hand, raised to the level of her shoulder. The base has , as I have mentioned earlier, seven horses and one wheel each on two sides of the base.
 A blow-up of the lower part of the sculpture.Clear view of two meditating Bodhisattwas, she-charioteer and the two whips, one each in the hands of the goddess and her charioteer  
can be viewed clearly.

I end with a photo of a MahisasuraMardini like sculpture and the nameplate of  'Sharhabhuja Marichee'. The English letters cannot be read, Telugu letters are clearer. If someone can decipher and advise me if I got the name correct or not.

        MahisasuraMardini like statue.Six-handed goddess, sitting in Lalita Asana on a lotus.      Her top right hand has a sword raised above her head.She is crushing a demon-like figure under her right foot.

If someone can read the Telugu words, please write back to me.

Friday, March 11, 2011



  Andhakasura pierced by Siva's trident and held up in the air.
Siva defeated Andhakasura after a prolonged battle,with help of SaptaMatrika.

ANDHAKAUSURA’s lineage  is not clear to me. It is said :
Siva and Parvati were enjoying a very pleasant day at Mandara  parvat.  Parvati  closed the eyes of Siva playfully and darkness descended on the universe. Parvati was perplexed and her palms were  wet with perspiration. As she removed  her hands from the eyes of Siva, the universe emerged out of darkness. Yet, from the droplets of sweat of Parvati that fell on ground, a child was born and he was blind. He was noticed by the divine couple when he roared . 
Siva gave away this blind child to Hiranyaksha, the Daitya king who was childless and was  doing tapas for a son. This child, very much unwanted among the gods, would one day rule the world as Andhakasura.

What do we learn from  the beginning of this story  ? Andhakasura was  perhaps from an unknown lineage whom Parvati did not find  worthy of her compassion and blessing. Did this child have an easy and normal childhood ? The story-tellers have not told us anything about that. We know that Andhakasura  grew to  be a competent warrior, faced jealousy in the palace and did rigorous tapas to earn  attention of Lord Brahma. He asked for a life of victories . And  a life without death. The second part was not granted. Andhakasura was to die when he would try to grab the unattainable.
Andhakasura  conquered the universe. Nothing  wrong in that. Devas were inconvenienced. So what ! The universe belongs to the hero – Devas lost their ’kingdom’  to Daityas and Asuras  on umpteen occasions.
Vishnu , who  vanquished  Andhaka’s foster father  Hiranyaksha and his brother Hiranyakashipu, was not  successful in his battle  against Andhaka. The pendulum  of success in  battle with Devas - the gods – swung in favour of this hero.

At this point, Andhaka committed the error that would ruin his life and throw him into the jaws of death. He went to Mandar with his friends and possibly a pose’ of  soldiers. He heard from his friends about a Yogi and his beautiful wife. His fate , which took Andhaka from a give-away blind child’s position to pinnacle of success, did a volute-face .Andhakasura wanted to possess the beautiful woman of Mandara  – did he know the woman he coveted was Parvati ? Who could have been his mother !
Now, Siva was drawn into a fierce battle against Andhakasura. He , according to one account, had to go for a long tapas to augment his vigour to the level required while  Brahma, Vishnu,Varahamurty, Indra, Kartikeya and Yama  held fort. Siva, on his return from his tapas, joined the battle. But he found killing Andhakasura was not possible as each drop of blood  from his body that fell on the ground gave birth to another  Andhakasura. In this battle, Andhakasura was helped by Shukracharya , the guru of the Daityas.

  Siva stands in the centre of this wall-relief,surrounded by Yogeswari and SaptaMatrikas.He holds  his trident on his right shoulder.A Matrika  bends  herself to drink blood from a 'Kapala' in his left hand. Siva is ithyphallic.Gajasura is seen on  the upper right-side of this relief.Many figures crowd the relief too.
Temple at SriMukhalingam,A.P.*

* NOTE :- This wall-relief, which sets the theme of this great temple, is nearly invisible from the view of the devotees and pilgrims.It is at the centre of the principal temple, just at the merging point of the Mandapa and the Garbhagriha. One needs a binocular to view the details.I shall analyse a blow-up this wall-relief later if I can add more interesting and important details.

Siva then created a Devi by his divine power – Devi Yogeswari – who was joined by Matrikas created by the  warring seven gods. Each of these Matrikas  was identically endowed as the  god she was representing. Yogeswari and the Matrikas would drink each droplet of blood of    Andhakasura, thus stopping him from multiplying.At the same time, Siva subdued Shukracharya too.

 Sapta Matrika. Collection at Museum , Aihole, Karnataka.

Gradually, Andhakasura was cornered. He  could not multiply further and his retinue's strength started getting depleted.Siva , then, struck his final blow. He pierced Andhakasura's chest with his trident and held him up. After ‘a thousand years’ in the suspended position, Andhakasura  realised his mistake and prayed for forgiveness.  Siva blessed him to lead a  reformed life  among the Pramathas and Ganas who accompany Siva. Andhakasura  was rechristened  ‘Bhringee’ and has been depicted as a human with a skeletal form.
Siva dances with Devi on his left and Bhringee - transformed Andhakasura - on his right.Nataraja touches Devi's cheek.Skeletal Bhringee imitates dance pose of Nataraja - watch his 'Gajahasta' posture.Siva is ithyphallic, with Nandi looking upwards.
SriMukhalingam temple,A.P.

Andhakasura’s story is  the story of a tragic hero, of a very successful person of obscure lineage, of lust for unattainable , of persistence against  divine onslaught  and finally, of realisation of his misdeeds and redemption. Perhaps, in another level, the mythological tale is  reminder of darkness  within us, that multiplies to engulf our  wisdom - only a divine intervention , a big conflict brings light back to our mind and life .  Much has not been written about Andhakasura in our mythology , much less from  his view point. If I were Amish Tripathy, I would have written  about Andhaka’s rise , fall and redemption. And his life  as Bhringee – in servitude of his parents-like Siva-Parvati – one of whom he challenged and the other whom he coveted.

 A view of the gallery showing 'Dance of Nataraja' at RavanPhadi,Aihole Karnataka.Here we find three Matrkas placed at right angle of the main wall-relief. Here, we have a limited view of Ganesha,Yogeswari and right knee of Nataraja. Skeletal Bhringee in the corner strikes a pose too with his right hand in 'Gajahasta' posture.

 A lot of what I have narrated  here has come from various sources in the internet. A few questions arose in my mind :
  • Did Andhakasura, in the darkest hour of his lust, know  that Parvati was like her mother ?
  • Was his attraction for Parvati  laced with Oedipus complex ?
  • Did Andhaka have a resentment against her ?
  • If Karna and Andhaka would come face-to-face, how would  they relate to each other’s destiny, actions, beliefs and regrets ?

Sunday, March 6, 2011



 A view of  SriMukhalingam temple complex from outside.
The principal temple is @ the centre of the photograph.

It was 17/2/11. Ruby and I , accompanied by our friend Mr Netaji Rao, were standing in front of the main temple - a temple complex to be more precise - at SriMukhalingam. It is 7 months 24 days after I came face-to-face with the ithyphallic Nataraj of Ann Mary Gaston's book on Schwarzman Public Library in New York !  No doubt I felt great , somewhat overwhelmed - having made the pilgrimage planned in June/July,2010.

 Nataraj and Gajasura SanharaMurty on top of the west side (service) door
of the principal temple. These are the wall-reliefs in Mary Ann Gaston's book
which influenced my decision to visit SriMukhalingam.

The main temple was built according to a planned theme .The gates have men in huddles, couples , soldiers, gods , 'dwarpals'  and carvings on vertical walls - quite feminine. But the temple - its architecture, the wall-reliefs framed in bulbous shapes with phallus-like shapes pointing upwards, Siva in ithyphallic-Bhairava and ithyphallic-Nataraj manifestations, Shakti killing demons relentlessly, not one Uma-Maheswar among the wall-reliefs of the main temple - the theme is that of valour, victory over the 'Enemy'. I felt - the theme is 'macho', overtly masculine -  in spite of strong presence of  'MahishasuraMardini'.

Through the second door, one can  view the main door of
the principal temple. Both are ornate with reliefs and carvings - in contrast 
to the 'style' of the principal temple.

Abstract design on the wall of the principal temple.
Is it not an artistic interpretation of SivaLinga - the divine phallus?

I would like to emphasise here that Siva in SriMukhalingam's main temple was visualised neither as ascetic nor erotic ( recall the title of the book on Siva by Wendy O'Flaherty )., but as the destroyer of the 'Enemy'.He kills Gajasura, celebrates His victory over Andhakasura in the company of Chandika and Her warring companions , dances 'tandava' . The walls here are adorned with MahishasuraMardini,Virbhadra, Kartikeya, Bhairava and Indra.Later on, as  smaller temples have sprung up - among the additions, there is a Parvati temple  and at least two wall-reliefs depicting Uma-Maheswar ( photos in Part II of this blog ).

Siva, in His fiercest form, fangs out, ithyphallic. He has vanquished Andhakasura,
who lies trampled at His feet.  Chandika and Matrika who supported Him in this battle
 are standing by His sides.The pillars on the two sides are adorned with peacock and lotus motifs.

 Siva ( depicted again as Bhairava,with His fangs out), ithyphallic, guides the Ganges into
His matted hair. Bhagirath  kneels down on His right side and 
the Ganges flow out on His left on Her 'Makara'.
Postures of the two wall reliefs placed side-by-side, very much comparable.

Strange that the priests decided to have this Ganesha clothed !

Not much is there in the web-pages about this temple. According to Wikipedia, the temple was  built by Kamarnava II of Eastern Ganga dynasty of   Kalinga in 8th century AD. Quite a temple he  got built ! The big court-yard now has several medium and small-sized temples dedicated to Siva and one  as mentioned earlier,is exclusively devoted to Parvati.

This  gesticulating  priest  is standing beside the smallest temple in this court yard.

Kartikeya , the commander-in-chief of gods,slayer of Tarakasura,
 stares on from the northern wall of the principal temple.

I did miss out a lot during our visit since I could not communicate with the priests . My friend Mr  Netaji Rao, helped me a lot. But, I did not use his services as a interpretor - may be it  was not a good decision. Like, among the wall-reliefs of the Western wall, where one finds Nataraj,Virbhadra, GajasuraSanharaMurty, one can see a Ganesha clad in clothes. I was curious - if he was ithyphallic, if approached, the priests would allow  to take a photo of the Ganesha sans the cover put on by the priests - but, I restrained myself. Such attempts are sometimes  taken as  attempt of vilification and disliked by the priests.
 'Naga sannyasi' (naked hermits) of 8th/9th century AD.

This gate is clearly very different from the principal temple.It has none of the phallus-shaped
motifs of the principal temple or masculine figures of war-gods. A very 'feminine' gate.
Many 'Mithuna' couples decorate the facade.

I plan to cover the temples  at SriMukhalingam in four parts -
  • The principal temple.
  • The satellite temples around.
  • Bheemeswara temple and
  • Someswara temple.

This means a lot of photo-editing and uploading. This task will take some time, because I intend to write on our visits to Hampi, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal.I request the readers of these blogs to leave their feed-backs in the 'Comments' section.

  Mr Netaji Rao , our friend in SriKakulam and Ruby. Mr Rao took a lot
of interest in showing us around.Our heartfelt thanks to him !

Wednesday, March 2, 2011



 One of the two 'Gajastambhas' and the Sri Kurmabatar temple.
A section has been whitewashed . Was it avoidable ? Will the visiting ASI team undo the same ?

Kurmavatar is the 2nd Avatar of Lord Vishnu. He did not fight any demon or Asura in this avatar. Mandar the hill was placed Kurmavatar's back, Vasuski the snake was used a rope while 'Daitya's i.e. demons and gods joined hands in churning the ocean to retrieve loads of  treasure from its depth - that is why ocean  is often called 'Ratnaakar'  - container of gems - in Sanskrit.This churning brought the nectar of immortality too, which gods took away, as well as poison - 'halahala' - which Siva swallowed to save the world.

Sri Kurmam temple is  13/14 km from SriKakulam, well connected by road. The temple has excellent work of art in form of wall reliefs and frescoes . The frescoes have been damaged  - what I saw in the internet earlier and what I found - are not the same.During my stay at SriKakulam, we found  a team from ASI landed in this town heading for the temple - one of the missions being restoration of the frescoes.

 One section of the best-preserved part of the frescoes. Careless white-washing
and ugly lay-out of electrical wire mar the beauty the procession in view.

A good part of the work of art centres round Vaisnavite themes including SriMadbhagavat . There are 108 pillars in this temple - 70 in the courtyard and 30 inside the temple - almost each having carving on its faces. The temple has two masts for flags - known as 'Gajastambha' -  unlike the conventional single mast in most of the temples. The temple's outer structure has been reconstructed many times since inception - the present one is 700 years old.

 A walk-around the court-yard of the Sri Kurmam temple - total nos of pillars here is seventy.

Face - human, body - lion, tail - peacock.Art of grotesque on one of the pillars.

 I met  Mr Srinivas Tulugu in this temple, where Ruby and I were clicking photos of the artwork around.Mr Tulugu is a Management Consultant - he loves this temple and work in close tandem with the Management Committee of this temple. More on that aspect later. Seeing my interest, he showed me a few special points which I would have otherwise missed. Beyond an old blue-coloured door, lie a now-closed 14 km long tunnel to a hill-top.Reportedly when Mamud of Ghajani  was approaching this temple, it was covered under earth, a small temple was constructed outside with a replica of 'Kurma' which was being worshiped. A broken 'Kurma' preserved within the 'Mandapa' bears witness to the vanadalism of 11th century. Mr Tulugu also pointed out a rectangular stone bath-tub  meant holy dip of 'Kurma' on special days.

  A relief work on the temple's wall .Four hands of Lord Vishnu hold conch shell,wheel,               mace and lotus - His face lit with smiles.
 He wears a large crown, ornaments and sacred thread.

Later he  introduced us to  the Executive Officer of the temple's Management Committee. We learnt that the collection of this temple is inadequate  for meeting the expenses . The MC is, therefore, heavily dependent on Government aid. When delayed , even wage payment becomes irregular. For maintenance, MC is totally dependent on external help.One Company has helped to repair the leaky roof. Another is helping  air-conditioning the interior... so on and so forth.

 Beyond this door lies the 14km underground tunnel to a hill top
- an escape route, now closed for safety.

 The bath tub created out of a single stone.

A dip in  adjacent 'Pushkarini believed to be as effective as that  in the Ganges  in Varanasi.

Both Mr Tulugu and the EO suggested that I mention in my blog that the readers may please feel free to contribute to the temple fund  through Andhra Bank savings a/c no 0542 1011 000131 and get in touch with :  The Executive Officer, SriKakulam Debasthanam ,SriKakulam - 532 404. Dt - A.P.
An Organisation is helping the MC to create its website -  soon one will be able to reach the EO directly. One can reach Mr Tulugu @ fax no 040 6636 1256 for further details.

The Executive Officer appeals for your encouragement and support to the temple's fund.