Sunday, December 23, 2012



Family photograph on top of Chamundi Hills - 
the spread of  Mysore city in the background.

A photo album published by my friend Kanad  Sanyal  during Durga Puja ,2011 had a very interesting subject - he took photos of photographers in Durga Puja pavilions. The photographers were seen mostly using mobile phones - outstretched hands  holding their mobile phones  in front of the eyes, raised a bit to have a good image of the the deity made a good study by Kanad.

Kanad's collection motivated me to capture photos of fellow-photographers in Puja pavilions in 2011 - what I  got were  not very presentable ! This year, I tried once more and met with partial satisfaction. But, most interesting ones were taken during visit to places of tourist interest.

 Patient photographer,awaits the umbrella to move away.
Udayan Sangha, Naktala.Puja - 2012.

During February,12 visit to Konarak, I was waiting  to take a photo of  the chlorite door frame of 'Jagmohan' without any tourist in the frame. Another person was seriously engaged in doing the same, except for that he was keen to have only his companion in the picture frame . I waited patiently for him to get a photo-frame of his choice and move away.  Dissatisfied with his clicks, he kept on trying ! Slightly irritated because of waiting , I pointed my camera to capture the scene, which is here. If by any chance, these photos come to the notice of either of the persons mentioned in this anecdote, let me assure them - no offense meant.

  Waiting for a crowd-free frame to capture his friend against 
Door-frame, Jagmohan, Konarak.

During  my visit to Belur/Halebid/Mysore in November,12, I found young men very fond of clicking photos of their friend/s - often more than that of the architecture/sculpture ! But, what I notice these days that clicking has become easier and therefore 'treasures' can be  preserved for posterity ! Hope my young friends will maintain a good scrapbook to go back to.

Capturing 'legs' !! 
In front of Ravana, Chamundi hills,Mysore.

 Here is an exception :
 Kesava temple, Somnathpura.

The 'fun' element of these types of photographs can be fully obtained when the person/s in the photograph are  not conscious. I am learning the tricks of candid photography. I shall end with an anecdote on my learning curve. This February,12, when we were at Konark, I found  four young men ogling at a wall-relief in a niche , one of them was having a mobile/camera in his hand. As soon as one of this group found me  focusing my camera, two broke away. Here is a photo of the couple which the group's attention and two friends who stayed back to brave my clicking.

 I dedicate this blog to Kanad Sanyal. Look forward to many more of such candid moments.

Before closing, let me assure once more  all the persons in this blog - I intend no offense.

Friday, December 14, 2012



'Built from the wealth amassed from the sword' 
- King Vishnuvardhana, 
in context with his having built ChennaKesava temple,Belur.

To enjoy the temple art of Hoysala dynasty, homework before the trip is a MUST. There are lots of articles in Internet, giving history/timeline and photographs of the  more popular temples around Hassan and Mysore. I  even found a suggestion about a guide  of Belur temple - though  I could not locate him when we were  there during November,12.  Please search for Prof S Settar  and do not miss his interview in Frontline,April,2003.

Trikuta Kesava temple at Somnathpura.

Simply stated, Hoysala temples have a complex building plan with artistic projections aplenty, a 'scroll' of wall-reliefs of deities and other characters unfurling on the 'parikrama' , dazzling female dancers and musicians together with mythical animals staring down at you, rows of  human figures on animals and chariots fighting mythological and real battles. These temples are virtually a  gallery created to educate viewers of  Hindu Iconography and 'naba-rasa' as well as dance   plus music .

Rich wall frieze of Kedareswar temple of Halebid.

Kirat-Arjuna &  Bali-Sugriva duels, Hoysaleswara temple,Halebid.

Vishnu rests on Seshanaga - Lakshmi 'serves' at his feet, Yogamaya sitting near his head. He rests within  a pavilion, with roaring vertical waves filled with fish and tortoise - Vishnu's incarnations.
Kesava temple,Somnathpura.

Note : Interesting to watch one small part in each of the last two panels - Sugriva's right leg & Sheshnaga's tail - sneak out of the frame ! Typical Hoysala style .

And .... not-to-miss the exceptionally carefully executed  layout and 'art-work' in the  interiors of temples.Some of the secular ceiling art , round and serrated ends  of load-bearing columns, female bodies serving as brackets on  top-ends of columns almost hidden in the darkness of 'Mantapa' will not fail to mesmerise discerning viewers. Topping the list are the principal deities wherever we can view their splendour not hidden under silk robes and garlands.

Venugopala, one of the three deities of
Somnathpura temple.

Dancer on one of the four pillars within 'Garbhagriha' of 
ChennaKesava temple, Belur.

Hundreds of figures and motifs curved on famous 'Narasimha' pillar within'Garbhagriha' of 
ChennaKesava temple, Belur.
Notes :1.  It  is said  that this pillar used to revolve on its vertical axis.  
2. Comparable are stone pillars of Vitthala and Hazara Rama temples, Hampi.

Once  a person spends time among the temples built by Hoysala dynasty, it becomes clear that a martial spirit had worked in bringing these temples into being. The name  king Vishnubardhana chose for his lineage and also the symbol are result of this military spirit. We all know, 'Hoysala' means 'Kill Sala', reportedly the uttering of  a sage whose life Sala, a tribal leader and ancestor of the king , saved by slaying a pouncing lion.

My favourite 'Sala slaying the lion'. Sala is in pain , yet he pierces right ear of the beast with his long dagger, held in his left hand !
Wall-reliefs of Vishnu and Kamadeva in the background.
ChennaKesava temple, Belur.

This may be a myth,established  firmly by king Vishnubardhana , while adopting the 'Sala' symbol and sculptures of  'Sala and the lion' in the entries to ChennaKesava temple's 'Mantapa'.

While working within the limitations of 'canon', some of the artists broke ground in their efforts to stand apart among the 'many'.Collectively, the following characteristics will immediately draw attention of the viewer :
Krsna tames 'Kaliya-the-snake'. One of his wives asks for forgiveness 
on behalf of her husband.
Kedareswar temple, Halebid.
  • the decorative features of the wall-reliefs, e.g. the dresses , ornaments and other attributes are carved so meticulously that one feels s/he is viewing a wood, and not a stone-carving.
  • a toe here, a finger there overflow  the frame , just to add drama to the 'scene'.
  • the fierce manifestations of Siva and Shakti are often  not stiff, but in smooth postures of dance.
I end here with ten. nos of photos . More will follow.