Thursday, December 25, 2014



Ranganayaki temple @ Belur. 
100th photo at this temple complex when 
battery of 1000D  rang the 1st alarm-bell !

Photography in India's temple sites has so many problems -  I recount here some of the problems I have come across personally . Trustees do not allow photography at several temples . Example - Jagganatha temple ,Puri, Lingaraj temple complex,Bhubaneshwar . The idols @ Srinathji temple , Nathadwara and Jagdish temple ,Udaipur  are so exquisite ! But, photography is strictly prohibited at Nathdwara . Deity's photograph at Jagdish temple also cannot be clicked. I visited Ranakpur 2nd time after 2009 in November,2014. The core area of Chaturmukha/Adinath temple was out-of-bounds for photographers, thus robbing the photographers from clicking  best of the wall-reliefs!  Well - the Trustees here has not yet been as restrictive as those of Jain temple of Mount Abu. Such restrictions take away the joy of being among architectural wonder like Chaturmukha/Adinath temple or Lingaraj temple complex,Bhubaneshwar

  Rich engraving   on pillars - total 1444 nos* -
of Chaturmukha/Adinath temple, Ranakpur.
The double-line chord is there to restrict photographers ! 

@ Belur, Halebid and  Ranakpur , I have faced major glitches  To-day, I can look back with  some amusement  and a lot of regrets. I might have avoided these problems with better planning which have left big gaps in my collection of photographs. It may be interesting to write a few lines on each of the incidents  as a part of my travel diary .

Panel of Kedareshwar temple Halebid.
Last shot before battery of 1000D went  to sleep !

 Batteries of  my Canon 1000 D and Ruby's s3is almost simultaneously reached 'zero' level within 10 minutes   of  our reaching the temple site.Both the cameras faced 'Low Battery' situation with freshly charged ones - indicating  drained out batteries  s3is needed 4 pencil batteries which could be easily obtained  from a local shop just across the temple. But, Canon's LP-E5, that started malfunctioning after only 5000+ shots, continued to trouble me till I  could purchase a new battery at Mysore day after next , i.e, after we covered both Belur and Halebid.While at Belur, I managed  370 shots with 3/4 intermediate charging @ slightly far away Hotel room and from the temple-adjacent shop from where I purchased pencil batteries in the morning.

My sincere thanks to this shop-keeper 
( Opp. to Belur temple)

@ Halebid, I could manage 150 shots through 3 re-charges. Thank goodness - Canon s3is continued to function smoothly. So, we could leave with photos of all that caught our eyes.

But, at Ranakpur, both in 2009 and 2014, we were not so lucky. We reached Ranakpur after 4pm in 2009. By the time we booked our accommodation , bought tickets and entered the  Chaturmukha/ Adinath temple, it was 4.25 pm. We found out, after 5 pm, the authorities do not allow photography inside this temple ! Bad 'cops' were after my camera from 5.05pm - but a good 'cop' allowed me to click a few more photos till it was 5.15pm . Outside , in three other temples, we could continue till sunset, but, I still have regret for not having reached the location by 3 pm ! That was when I thought I should return here to click without tension.

From  Chaturmukha/Adinath temple 
- image-size only 1.03 MB !

This year in November,2014, we were @ Ranakpur again. Reaching there by  11 am to find we cannot take photographs inside the temple till 12 noon. So, we had an early lunch and covered the smaller temples After completing photography @  Suryanarayan temple, I realised  I had an incorrect camera setting.I corrected the same, shot some more  photos  ,but,  during the re-setting, mixed up the sizing. After reaching Jodhpur in the evening, I realised that the photo size selected was  'SMALL' !!

 This Bhairava-like deity'photo was taken 1n 2009. 
Would have loved to visit him in 2914 too !

My regret compounded when I realised  I completely missed one of the smaller temples - Parsvanath temple - which has exquisite examples of Hindu/Jain Iconography. This was covered no doubt  by Ruby, but not 100% .Some of the wall-reliefs I wanted to click were not there !

  Ravana emerging from Lanka  - 
painting @ Raghunatha temple, Mandawa. 
Needed heavy dose of PS to bring out clarity.

The last of the glitch was at Mandawa when , for no apparent reason,  stitch on left side shoulder  of my relatively new shirt, tailored by Raymond's gave away. The  stitch was repaired by a tailor opposite to Raghunatha temple.I stayed put in the car as I felt shy about walking around with a camera in a vest. Therefore, Ruby went ahead with her canon s3is  - but, later I found , the temple was adorned  with excellent paintings of stories from Ramayana & KrsnaLeela, but, lighting was poor. Canon 1000D was indeed needed.

* Note - Reference taken from :

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 and physique, postures and expressions, ornaments and clothing, composites and symbols - everything measure upto a very high standard og artistry.

  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 other small temples are located. At the top, idol of Sachchiyamata has been placed at the centre of a cluster of temples, with one temple attached with the central one having 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  imageries of flow of life
 have lost sharpness, thus a part of their appeal.

Closer observation will charm the visitors. We find Vishnu, his Avataras, 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.