Thursday, April 26, 2012



 Our 1st visit for Iconography of terra cotta temples - 
Shyama Raya temple,Bishnupur. December, 2007.

My  efforts in 'studying' Iconography have taken me to so many temples in the last few years a fraction of  which I did not cover during  previous 60 years of my life ! As I was  looking back to these 4-5 years of  visits to  numerous villages and hamlets of West Bengal as well as  tourist spots of other States of India, I  spent some time on  memories and photos of other sides  of these visits.  Here is an attempt to reconstruct a 'journal'  without dates.

  During our early-morning boat-journey along the Ganges to 
Baronagar, Murshidabad. A real-life Hemen Majumdar !
February, 2010.

I did miss a lot of details as I often drove to many villages in WB in our own car. Focusing on driving  used to be uppermost in my  mind.  Over-all, bus-journey through the somewhat barren scenery of north Karnataka while going from Hospet to Badami,  driving round the small range of hillock  at Aihole and the sun-flower dotted agricultural land,  road-bumps scratching my car's exhaust pipe on our way to Sribati, driving through scary road surface from Bishnupur to Bankura in a dark night and a great boat journey along the Ganges from a 'ghat' near Hazarduary Palace to Baronagar in a cold morning have stayed and will stay in my memory for long. Impressive were the tranquility of Ranakpur, mist hovering on the Jagomahana of Konark temple , sunset at Hampi and lit-up Sun temple at Konark.

Painting on a cottage wall -near Sri Sri Madan Jiu's temple, Gaur.

I have found people at these small places I visited quite helpful. In some of the  places, I have benefited by the kindness of people associated with the ASI sites beyond expectation. The priests have , however, been indifferent and rude, except at Ranakpur.

Peacock @ Ranakpur temple's backyard.
At Ranakpur's main temple , restrictions are many. Photography for a fee - quite small though - is allowed inside only upto 5 pm, while light condition is good upto 6.30 pm during the summer. In the evening, no electric light is lit - therefore , one can see little in the darkness. We arrived late and were  shooed out by 5.15 pm . I returned after 7 pm - after 'arati' was over when a young priest and a Security guard showed me around with a torch and a candle and also shared  quite a few 'stories'.

  Details of  ornamentation of a Queen's swing. Junagarh Fort, Bikaner.

The other person who was very patient  with us and enriched our experience at Bikaner was the young student who works as an official guide too at the Palace. He was sober ,well-informed, did not over-dramatise at any juncture, took us to rooms and points where we could take  interesting photos and when finished , we left with a pleasant memory of this visit . We met with such a person at Lakundi too.

  Our young Guide at Junagarh Fort,Bikaner.

And ... here is our young Guide at Lakundi,Karnataka.
 Unpleasant was the priest at Megheswar temple of Bhubaneswar, an young man during train-journey from Hospet to Howrah last year who would not allow me sit down on his lower-berth during day-time though I was allotted the upper one and an auto-rickshaw driver at Bhubaneswar  who delayed us considerably due a broken clutch-wire ,yet  argued with us claiming payment for 3 clutch-wires he purchased and his delay !

  God, King and a bullock-cart-load of cane.

 There were moments when I felt miserable . For example, I felt miserable  at not being able to photograph rare pieces of sculpture at Museum of Badami - I was so upset that I skipped the Museum visit  at Aihole. I felt miserable after repeatedly taking  lousy shots at well lit-up Konark temple, at 'Nandi' stopping a good photo of the ceiling art  at Huchchimalli temple complex, at not being allowed to capture the excellent  work of Lingaraj and Jagannatha temples. Topping everything else was the feeling of being l-o-s-t when I discovered during taking photographs at Papanatha  temple of  Pattadakal that I left my bag containing my new telescopic lens at  Nandi's shrine in front of Virupaksha's temple ! I  almost ran back and found the priest had kept it secured. Not too many negatives !!

  Looking amazed !
Three-headed 'Nandi', a calf and the child !!
It can be anywhere in India. Any time ......

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