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24 June 2016

Srimath Anantheshwar Temple, Manjeshwar

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Srimath Anantheshwar Temple at Manjeshwar village, just outside the Karnataka-Kerala border, is a temple dedicated to Shesha or Ananta, the serpent God. This is one of the earliest temples belonging to the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins, and the history dates back to almost the 8th century. This is a tiny sleepy village, which my Grandma says, has remained largely the same as she can remember from her childhood. 

The temple is built in the typical style inherent to this part of Canara. It was renovated a few years back; best efforts were made to retain the old world charm, and they did. Why this temple intrigues me so much, is the number of stories, beliefs, and anecdotes associated with this temple. I've grown up listening to Grandma telling me stories from her childhood, how they'd go to the temple for lunch escaping from school and get caught there, how they'd wait for tasty evening snacks and paanak to be served, etc. 
The temple is situated at a lower level than the ground level, and one has to go down a slope. As kids, we'd run up and down the slope, even as elders would yell at us for doing so! The temple also has a tank attached, with ducks. There is also a serene river flowing across the road, and the view at sunset is very pretty. Sharing a few photos of the temple here.

21 June 2016

Monsoon Magic!

Monsoons bring out the best of nature. Everything around turns lush green. And on those rare days when the sun shines through the clouds, the green looks glamorous! Sharing a set of pictures taken during our last monsoon trip to Goa. This was shot by the national highway 17 between Panaji and Madgaon, when we were driving to Martin's Corner for lunch.

18 June 2016

Hoysala Art: a Mash-up!

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Epilogue
Though I thought I'd concluded the series on Hoysala temples, I realised I had too many pictures left, and some key observations to note. I realise I've waxed enough eloquent on the stone work and the intricate designs. In this post, I'd just like to point out three central themes the carvings are based on. This also gives a rough idea about the lavish lives the kings might have led. The courts would have been filled with musicians and dancers. There might have been elaborate rituals held to please the Gods- so that the kingdom flourishes and the royal coffers jingle! There might have been a lot of feuds and wars with the neighboring kingdoms, so as to conquer and lengthen the boundaries of the kingdom. One can only imagine the loud war cries of the elephants charging into the battle field, horses rushing past at full speed, with the rider trying to dislodge the neighbour from his horse, and yea, the bloodshed in the field with limbs and heads strewn about! It is with this theme, that I write this post. These pictures are from four different temples that I wrote on earlier, and here I've grouped them together based on the theme.

16 June 2016

Spirit Worship: Jumadi-Banta Kola


I had earlier written a post titled Of Daivas and Spirits, about a custom indigenous to this part of the coast- Spirit Worship. As mentioned earlier, these spirits are many, including Panjurli, Varthe, Guliga, Jumadi - Banta, Mantradevate, etc. There is a very interesting story behind these spirits, which you can read HERE.

Of the many rituals conducted to appease the spirits, the most colourful (and glamorous) is conducting a Bhoota Kola. This is a night long ceremony to invoke the spirit(s) concerned, which then occupies an Oracle temporarily, and can even converse with people through a mediator. The Kola season lasts for about 4-5 months, i.e December to May. 

Earlier this year, we decided to visit a Kola held in at our village. This particular one is conducted in a grand manner every year, and is thronged by people of the surrounding villages. The spirits invoked are Jumadi - Banta. The place was beautifully decorated. Lot of musicians and drummers were involved. The silver headgear was polished to shine blindingly as night engulfed. And the artists invoking the spirits knew their trade perfectly. The synchronisation was very good (watch the video at the end of the post).  We did not stay back for the dance with the artists donning the headgear, as it was already well past mid-night and I had to get back home as the next day was a working day. Here are a few photos from the evening.

13 June 2016

Bhagsunag, Dharamshala


On our whirlwind trip to Dharmashala, one day early in the morning we went to the Bhagsunag temple there. The vistas that unfolded were splendid, with the sky throwing up different patterns and shades by the minute. A friendly 'paw-shaking' canine was also around. And watching the rising sun light up the place felt wonderful.

12 June 2016

Old Port, Mangalore


With the arrival of June, fishing is suspended in the district. This helps in two ways- to help the fish breed in peace, and to prevent accidents in the stormy seas during the monsoons. The old port, which now serves as a harbour for the fishing boats that venture into the deep sea, is usually a buzzing place with lots of activity going on. However, in this season, it wears a pretty deserted look, as can be seen in the photos below. The amount and variety of fish available is also limited, as whatever little put up far sale comes from the little boats that don't go very far. We went to the old port today to pick some prawn. It was nice to watch the sky changing from a bright clear blue to dull cloudy grey, over a span of ten minutes. 

10 June 2016

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins


Writing a book review after a really long time. I did read a few in the past months, but the number of books that I'd hoped to read by mid-year is much less than what I have, owing to various reasons.

I finished this book today, and boy, what a thriller! This one is an un-put-downable crime thriller.
No spoilers ahead, I wouldn't want to spoil the fun for anyone.

09 June 2016

A Jumbo Bath!

When we visited the temple at Guruvayur, we also visited the attached elephant sanctuary close by. This place houses a large number of these gentle giants. Here, they are taught various activities, besides being pampered with massage and bath everyday. It's nice to watch them lying down without a care in the world, while three to four people clamber tending to them. Sharing a few pictures here.

07 June 2016

A Slice of the Western Ghats: AGUMBE

Agumbe is a tiny village in Shimoga district, and part of the eco-sensitive zone of the Western Ghats, the lifeline of the coast. The region receives very heavy rainfall, and is also referred to as the Cherrapunji of the South. The region has lush beautiful rain forests, and is also home to a number of unique flora and fauna, indigenous to the zone. The enigmatic King Cobra also resides in the in the thick rainforests. 

04 June 2016

Wall Art at Doddagaddavalli

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Part 10
The air feels very fresh today; gives a feeling of having rained the previous night, or maybe it's just the clean village air. The caretaker of this temple is a talkative, and a very accommodating guy. He tells us to take our time seeing the temple as long we'd like to. The shape of the temple externally is a little confusing. I've actually walked around twice before realising I have done so! And as expected (which sounds like a rhetoric to me even as I'm writing this), every bit of the wall is carved. The gopurum is not very high, but again, carved. And like the temple at Mosale, the carvings with the detailed features are fairly well preserved. Perks of not being very popular, probably. 

03 June 2016

Summer Sky

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The Summer of 2016 was so hot, we didn't spend much time outdoors. However, we'd visit the village in the evenings. Though humidity would still bother us, pictures like these were refreshing. These pictures were taken on one such visit; the sky was absolutely clear without a speck of cloud. We had a great time picking mangoes that evening!

02 June 2016

Breaking the monotony: Stay-cation!

Stay-at-home + Vacation = Stay-cation.

Due to various reasons and a cancelled vacation, at the end of last year, I had a few 'leaves' remaining, that would lapse if not availed. But then, the last quarter of the year had been so busy, I hadn't planned anything. Being festival and holiday season, last minute planning wasn't possible too. So what do I do?

Stay-cation. I remember laughing at the prospect a year ago. Who would want to use their precious leave from work, to just do nothing at home? But at the end of the last year, since I did not have anything better planned, I decided to give this concept a try. And I did like it more than I expected.