Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

Stone WOnder ! –  The Brihadeshvara temple


During the times of the Cholas (900-1155 A.D.) temple arcitecture in the South reached its climax. The famous Chola temple built at Tanjavur (Tanjore) is known as the Brihadeshvara temple. It is also called the Rajarajeshwara temple after the name of king Rajaraja who built it in honour of Lord Shiva in about 1009 A.D.

This Temple is one of the most outstanding monuments of the Chola Period. It is composed of many interconnected structures such as the Nandi pavilion, a pillared portico and a large hall. Its vimana(a temple like structure having thee cella in which the deity is enshrined) is 66 metres high. The inner walls of the temple have extensive paintings and sculpture. The tower of the temple rises to a height of 57 metres, like a pyramid, in 13 successive storeys. Its top has a single block of stone, 25 feet high and weighs about 80 tonnes. The structural idea of constructing a Gopuram (or a fine gateway to the enclosed walls of the temple) was first conceived by the Chola kings.

The Temple stands in the middle of a rectangular enclosure entered from the east through a gateway, now dilapidated. The Double pilastered walls of the sanctuary are elevated on a moulded basement with lions. Those on the central niches, on both storeys depict – Dakshinamurti(south) ,Vishnu(west) and Brahma(north).

A massive linga on the central pedestal is enshrined within the sanctuary. A stone altar carved with a lotus on the top has the Navagrahas carved on to the sides. Another small structure in the south-west corner of the enclosure houses a Ganesha image. A large Nandi sculpture constructed of blocks is constructed in the front(east) of the principal temple.

The temple, especially its tower, is the finest example of Dravidian art. The Chola architecture is so executed that it is said that the Cholas conceived like giants and finished like jewelers. The Brihadeshwara temple combines the best in the tradition of temple building – architecture, sculpture, painting and other allied arts

Himalayas, Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

The cosmic dance of Shiva symbolises the interplay of dynamic and static divine energy flow, containing the five principles of eternal energy – creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and emancipation.

 ~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

Shiva dances in ‘Rudra Tandava’ or the dance of destruction in an aureole of fire, creating wild thunder storms all around the universe, even shattering the Sun, the Moon and stellar bodies with his matted hair, marks of ash on the forehead, trident and drum, lifting his left leg and balancing over a demon of ignorance, with snakes crawling over his arms, legs and braided hair that depict egotism. His upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ standing for the male-female vital principle, while the lower gestures us to ”Be fearless”. A skull on his head depicts conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, epitomising the holy river, sits on his hairdo. His third eye represents omniscience, insight and enlightenment.

‘Locks of matted hair/ Thick like luxuriant Amazon rain forest/ Spread all over/ Stirring never-ending cyclones, tsunamis! Ceaseless torrents/ Cascading cataracts/ Floodwater of the Ganga/ Caused holocaust, apocalypse/ Unprecedented obliteration in the Milky Way! Blazing inferno originated/ From his third eye raged like wild fire/ Blazed all over his forehead/ Engulfing everything in the aureole of fire!’

The ‘Lasya’ or the gentle form of his dance, known as ‘Ananda Tandavam’ or dance of bliss is associated with the creation of the world, after its total destruction. Shiva’s two different cosmic dances take place in one’s ‘Chidambaram’ or in the sky of the mind, portrayed as the centre of consciousness situated at the altar of one’s heart.

Shiva is the symbol of ‘Brahmn’, the universal consciousness. The cosmic serpent called ‘Kundalini’, draped by the Lord of all dance, is mythically present in every living form. Arousal of the ‘kundalini’ is a metaphor for the awakening of the seven energy centres or ‘chakras’ situated in the spine.

The sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, interprets that the three basic gunas – sattvic, tamasic and rajasic – combine with each other to create life forms in the universe. The divine entity is divided into nine; but only eight of them are perceived by human intellect – earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and pride. The ninth part of the divine entity is eternally shrouded in the mystery of creation.

Fritjof Capra, in his book The Tao of Physics, paid due tribute to the Hindu view of matter and established its linkage with modern physics with empirical research in 1972. He observed the linkage between ancient Vedic mythology, religious symbolism, art and modern physics: “Every subatomic particle not only does an energy dance, but is also an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”

The European Centre for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva-CERN had unveiled in 2004 the two metre-tall statue of Nataraja, the form of Shiva depicted in the dance pose. The dancing Indian deity, representing the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, also depicts the dynamics of subatomic particles, the basis of creation of the universe that is being researched by physicists around the world.

Ref article : Cosmic Dance Of Shiva
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Pashupatinath temple (पशुपतिनाथ मन्दिर), Katmandu , NEPAL


Pashupatinath Temple – Shiva’s Home in Kathmandu Valley

The Pashupatinath temple in the east of Kathmandu has been a religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists for maybe over 2000 years. Daily thousends of pilgrims visit Pashupatinath, with a top day on Maha Shivaratri when hunderds of thousends of pilgrims come to pay their tribute to Shiva. The Pashupatinath temple complex is one of the Unesco world heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley.

History of Pashupatinath :

Pashupati means “Lord of the animals” and it one form of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva has 1008 name and forms and as Pashupati he watches over the souls of men and is worshipped as the patron deity of Nepal. Though there is no proof when the temple originated the oldest evidence is data 477 A.D but the temple may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that.

One of the legend about Lord Shiva is that once Shiva took the form of an antelope being weary of throngs of worshipping demigods and wandered in the Mrigasthali Forest on the Bagmati river’s east bank. The Gods were looking for him and finally found him as an antelope and they grabbed him by horn and forced him to come back to his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga, and it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished farmer found him cows showering the milk on the earth. Digging deep in the site, the farmer is believed to uncover the divine linga of Pashupati.

Lord Pashupati is invoked on official treaties, pledges, political speeches and appears on coins and royal coat of arms. Pashupatinath is one of the great holy Shiva places of the Indian Subcontinent, and no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to it.

Where is Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu ?
Pashupatinath temple is in the banks of Bagmati river on the eastern side of Kathmandu. The place where Pashupatinath is located is called Gaurighat, Kathmandu. People often say the location as Gaushala, Jaya bageswori etc. So, when you reach near the intersection of Gaushala or Jaya Bageswori or Mitrapark then you will see the board where it is written “The Way to Pashupati”. The another easier way to figure out is “Bagmati river is flowing beside Pashupatinath“.


River Pampa and Pampapati

Picture Taken: Hampi, Karnataka, India

The ancient name of the river was Pampa. According to the legends, Pampa, the daughter of Brahma (the God of creation) did penance to please Lord Shiva. Impressed by her devotion Shiva married her and taken the name Pampapati (means husband of Pampa). The name Hampi has origin in Pampa. On the banks if the river, there are numerous shrines and idols associated with the worship of Lord Shiva