In 2015 I spent 5months travelling around Southern India. One of the things that struck me the most was there were so many Temples! This one in Mysore is the second in my video collection.
Chamundi Hill is about 13 kms from Mysore, which is a prominent city in Karnataka State of India. Chamundi Hills is famous not only in India but also abroad. ‘Chamundi’ or ‘Durga’ at atop of the hil, the famous Sri Chamundeswari Temple is the fierce form of ‘Shakti’. She is the slayer of demons, ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ and also ‘Mahishasura’, the buffalow-headed monster.
She is the tutelary deity of the Mysore Maharajas and the presiding deity of Mysore. For several centuries they have held the Goddess, Chamundeswari, in great reverence.
In ‘Skanda Purana’ and other ancient texts, it is mention a sacred place called ‘Trimuta Kshetra’ surrounded by eight hills. lying along side of west is the Chamundi Hills, it is one among the eight hills. In the earlier days, the hill was identified as ‘Mahabaladri’ in honour of God Shiva who resides in the ‘Mahabaleswara Temple’; this is the oldest temple on the hills.
Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is one of the five observatories constructed by Jai Singh II. Ujjain, Delhi and Varanasi are the other cities that house the remaining Jantar Mantars but there remain no traces of the one at Mathura.
Among the many instruments that are part of this observatory is the world’s biggest sundial. Jantar Mantar is located just a stone’s throw from City Palace and Hawa Mahal and features instruments made of stone and brass that were built using instrument design principles from ancient texts.
In all there are 19 instruments that help observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. Jantar Mantar is a fine example of Ptolemaic positional astronomy and has instruments that operate in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the ecliptic system, the horizon-zenith local system and the equatorial system.
When it suffered some damage in the 19th century, Major Arthur Garrett, an amateur astronomer who was posted as the Assistant State Engineer in Jaipur, undertook the first major restoration work on Jantar Mantar. As of 2010, Jantar Mantar has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and remains a gem of Jaipur that cannot be missed.
In 2015 I journeyed round the southern part of the Indian Continent. Starting in Goa and working my way round the peninsula to Chennai. In the beautiful state of Kerala I stopped in Varkala and after my amazing experience with the Theyyam traditional worship of the Gods in Malabar, I was keen to see the Kathakali.
In 2007 I visited India in the Rajistan region. During my search for the famous Hevelis I visited Shekhawati, Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Jhunjuno, Fatephur and Dunlod. This slideshow is the collection from all these locations. They were all in different conditions ranging from derelict and falling down to part lived in to completely restored. I have tried to reflect this in my selection of images and even put a couple of images of the restoration drawings put on the walls to guide the artists during restoration. Haveli- Is a huge private mansion in India or Pakistan. The Rajasthani havelis were constructed by the wealthy Marwari community in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan in the 19th century. A haveli typically has two courtyards one for the men and the inner one for the women, the walls were adorned with beautiful colourful frescoes painted by commissioned artists. The themes were usually images of Gods, Goddesses & animals. Mandawa, Ramgarh, Fatehpur are dusty little towns in the Shekhawati area that have many old havelis, which in their glorious days would have been a treat to the eyes, but even today have not lost their timeless beauty. A handful of these havelis are being restored and given a new lease of life by private organizations, historians & architects. Some of them have been converted into heritage hotels.
Sri Chamundeshwari temple is the most famous temple in Mysore, a city in the Southern state Karnataka. It is located on the top of Chamundi hill which is about 3,489 ft. above sea level and situated at a distance of 13 kms from Mysore. Named after the Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga, this temple is considered as one of the Shakti Peethas. It is known as Krouncha Pitham. I was visiting it on my 5mth tour round southern India
I visited this weird and quirky place in 2012 when spending time in Laos near vientiane. It caught my imagination, I hope it does yours!
Buddha Park is more curious than spectacular – which makes for a curious spectacle. A rogue monk is said to have attempted to reconsolidates Buddhism and Hinduism into his own brand of mysticism through a prolific collection of sculptures depicting various deities and scenes from both religions. The information provided at the park is less dramatic, simply stating that Bunleua Sulilat constructed this sculpture garden in 1958 before fleeing across the Mekong to Thailand in 1978 and building a sister park across the river in Nong Khai.
In 2015 I was fortunate to be travelling round the Southern part of India on a 6mth Journey of Indian Culture and discovery. In the place of Malabar in the state of Kerela I was deeply honoured to meet Kierian from “Costa Malabar” who arranged for me to not only visit but film and photograph openly some 3 Theyyam ceremonies. Lasting from a couple of hours to all day and all night and most of the next day. A tiring experience for the onlooker but a marathon for the participating Gods.
The people of Malabar and the Gods made me feel most welcome and it was a deeply touching cultural experience I will never forget. I can only hope that these images and videos give you a taste of what I witnessed.
The worshipping place of Muthappan is called Madappura.Many Madappuras are there in North Malabar .Of all such Madappuras; Parassani Madappura is the most prominent. Here Muthappan devotees of Muthappan who throng here being supplied with Tea, steamed pear and a small piece of coconut. Relief and consaltion is accorded to all devotees of Muthappan who come here and conolation is accorded to all devotees of Muthappan who come here and after the lighting of the lamp called Deeparadhana.Devotees are blessed with the ‘Holy Darsan’ by both Cheriya Muthappan and Valiya Muthappan when they conduct Thirivappana Vellattom
The park’s countless dazzling sculptures were the life’s work of Boun Leua Sulilat, a Lao man who spent much of his early life absorbing mystical knowledge from an ascetic hermit named Kaew Ku, who lived in a cave in Laos. Sala Kaew Ku is Sulilat’s impressive attempt to bring this knowledge to life. While the striking depictions draw from a wide range of ancient beliefs, including animist folklore, Hindu mythology and Buddhist traditionalism, the execution is all Sulilat.
Surrounded by well-groomed gardens and a large pond, the 100+ sculptures range from modest in size to way larger than life, with the tallest reaching 25 metres in height. Along with endless grinning Buddhas and animated Hindu gods, the park features several depictions of nagas, or mythical serpents that play a prominent role in South and Southeast Asian mythology. Sulilat himself strongly identified with snakes, believing them to be the purest of all creatures.
The Thanjavur Maratha Palace Complex, known locally as Aranmanai, is the official residence of the Bhonsle family which ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855 Tanjuvar Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places.