Posts Tagged ‘heritage’

The Panchalinga temple, Begur, 161114

November 17, 2014

Sometimes a lot of the hard work is done for me!

Arvind took Gayatri and me to the 1200-year-old temple of nagarEshwara in Begur. I thought I’d write about it, but

this blogpost by Anita Bora

has done a great job of it!

The only difference after 6.5 years is that two rAja gOpurAs have been constructed, and will be consecrated today (17 Nov 2014). There are some rather unimaginative, but well-meaning, repairs in the temple, but the age old nagarEshwara shrine is still rather tottery!

Lovely video with the commentary in Kannada:

So, here are a few pictures I took.

A temple I saw before the Panchalinga temple:

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A view of the Panchalinga temple:

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The simple temple rathA (chariot) in a “garage” opposite the temple.

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A rAjagOpurA under construction (it’s supposed to be consecrated today, and seems nowhere near done!)

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The other one, more finished:

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How can I have a post without birding in it? A migratory Spot-billed Pelican soars over the temple (the Begur Lake is close by).

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The old shrine:

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The small gopura:

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The old part of the temple:

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The tottering old nagarEshwara shrine:

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the Nandi in front:

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Small bas relief of Ganesha:

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Getting ready for the deepOtsavA (lamp festival):

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A yagnya being performed:

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The low ceilings and granite pillars:

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rAvaNA, the king of Sri Lanka, a great devotee of Shiva, and the “villain” of the epic, rAmAyaNA, as a vehicle for the god in procession:

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Another such pallakki both are at the shrine of kAlikAmbA:

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Shrine to sUrya nArAyaNA:

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The view of the Nagareshwara shrine:

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Hero stones and inscriptions in the courtyard:

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A Ganesha carved out of a bullock horn:

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View of the “staircase” to the gopura under construction:

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It’s made of bamboo and bricks, earth-friendly materials instead of metal; looks rickety, but that’s what the builders are working with!

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Another view of the temple:

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A “vilva”(crab apple) tree in full fruition:

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One of the trees in the courtyard:

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Another one next to it:

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The flower seller outside with her umbrella flying in the breeze:

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I’ve put up some more photos on my FB album,

click here

(especially those who like to see what everyday religious life is like Over Here!)

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July 16, 2014

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Here

is the site of Glimmingsehus Castle, in Hammenhog; it is a well-preserved medieval manor, the start of the construction of the fort dating back to 1499.

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“Glimmingehus, situated in the county of Skåne in southern Sweden, is the best-preserved medieval manor in Scandinavia. Jens Holgersen Ulfstand began to construct the stately fortress in the year 1499.

The present is on the left, and the past is on the right!

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“Glimmingehus was established as an imposing residence for the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and his family. At that time Skåne belonged to Denmark.

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“Finds from archaeological excavations have revealed the highly exclusive nature of the Glimmingehus household. The most expensive objects available in Europe in the early 16th century have been found, including Venetian glass, extruded Rhineland glass and Spanish ceramic ware.

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“Today, Glimmingehus is a living Ancient Monument and a centre for people throughout Scandinavia interested in the Middle Ages, as well as an exciting outing. New research, both archaeological and research into building history, has helped to produce a picture of how the fortress was once built and used.”

Even the lichen is blooming on the walls!

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We had our own, very good Swedish guide!

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Down to the kitchen:

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The well that served the castle; the story goes that there is an eel, about a thousand years old, that is still alive at the bottom! (No, we couldn’t see into the well!)

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The huge hall at the top:

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The staircase:

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The view from the top:

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Vaulted ceilings underground:

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Narrow windows tell their tale of fortification:

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Here’s the baron who built the castle:

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(er, he does look “petrified”, doesn’t he!)

And here’s the coat of arms:

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The huge fireplace:

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The area where the womenfolk lived:

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Couldn’t go past this:

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successfully puts a villain in

the stocks !

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The museum downstairs documented the way life was lived:

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I certainly remember grinding soaked rice in a similar grinding stone, when I was very young, in my parents’ home in Kolkata!

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The refectory tables:

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Interesting window:

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This woodcut of the castle itself is very old!

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Old tapestries:

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A poster advertising an event highlighting the activities of medieval times:

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An artist has depicted various coats of arms:

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Ancient implements:

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Pouring pots (don’t ask me why I thought of little boys pissing!)

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Bread was dried in disks like that!

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Kitchen soot will always be kitchen soot, and there will always be Cinderellas…

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A modern lock in an ancient latch!

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An amazing fact at this castle was that even tourism is very old…here are the signatures of tourists from 1938!

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PC was very taken with the moat, I think he wants one of his own, with crocodiles:

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Another portrait (instead of oils, they used stone in those days!) of the Baron of the Castle:

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A scale model:

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I was amazed to find the

Morching

which we call the mOresing, and which is still played in many Carnatic music concerts:

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It’s apparently also called the “Jew’s Harp” and is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world! Here’s the castle employee playing it for us, being careful not to cut her tongue in two:

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When medieval knights talked of chain mail, they didn’t mean a spate of unwanted letters!

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The museum had some (SO lightweight, made of nylon!) on sale:

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They also had a lovely model of a slingshot cannon, and knights of old:

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They had quill nibs and metal nibs:

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There was a children’s activity area:

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Medieval pastimes no. 347, Riding a Pig:

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Now you know why there are no more unicorns, they’ve been made extinct!

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Tourists are helping make each other extinct, too:

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Imposing Glimmingehus Castle…thank you for taking us there, !

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Ofkose I have to talk about the birds, too….many of them make their homes here. We saw Swifts and Starlings, Ravens and Rooks, and many Jackdaws, like this one:

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As we were leaving, we sighted a pair of Common Kestrels circling above the castle…and Kejn spotted three nestlings, in a niche, high above! What a thrill it was!

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So that was my heritage-cum-birding experience here!

That was me documenting Glimmingehus….

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I hope you enjoyed the castle as much as I did!

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here

is my FB album of the visit.

June 30, 2014

It was a wonderful experience to go to Gamla Linkoping (the old town of Linkoping), where heritage buildings have been brought in and re-built with every possible care. There are several museums, housed in these old buildings, that visitors can walk into. In the whole area, many people who are in period costumes walk about; and today, when the local newspaper was pushed into the mail slot, I found out a bit more about two musicians whom I met there.

Here’s Jacek Malisz, with his accordion:

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And here’s Lasse Strom (er, that “o” should have an umlaut), with his “Strohfiol”, which is a violin with an amplifier:

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And here they are, playing together.

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Jacek’s accordion, he told me, was over a hundred years old. Lasse was very much more witty; he had a “spiel” of dialogue ready for the tourist that I was. He told me how the basic element of the violin had been integrated with this amplifier (it was made of aluminium) for the better carrying of the sound, in the days before microphones and loudspeakers (and, indeed, electricity) were in place.

“Do your children also play this?” I asked him. “No!” he said emphatically. “When a child learns an instrument, it’s cruel for everyone else around to hear it!” “But your parents somehow put up with the noise of *your* learning,” I laughed; and he laughed with me. “Regarding music…one of my daughters has a ear,” he said, and I nodded sagely, understanding about having a ear for music. Then, of course, he added, “The other one has TWO ears!” and laughed happily at having cracked a good joke!It was my turn to laugh with him!

I am trying to get the link to the newspaper article about them (it appears in the “Summer” supplement to the June 25/26 issue of “Linkopings Posten”). , if you could help me, I’d be very grateful, I’ve not been successful yet!

With the help of Google Translate, I’ve learnt that the two musicians have been playing at Gamla Linkoping for the past 32 years, but this is going to be stopped soon…sorry, I couldn’t wade through the entire article, typing it out on Google Translate!

Linkoping Cathedral, 200614

June 26, 2014

After looking at the Midsummer’s Eve celebration, I realized that the

Linkoping Cathedral

was not very far away, and we walked till the beautiful green-blue spires were near:

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It was breathtaking to watch the main spire looming up into the sky:

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The stained glass windows looked majestic from outside:

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Through them, I could also see the effect of the stained glass as it would be if I entered the cathedral:

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Here are two of the stained glass windows from the outside:

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The side view of the Cathedral:

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Some of the tall windows have been damaged,but the damage has been left wisely alone for the most part.

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In just a few places, some refurbishment has been done:

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A detail of the weather vane:

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detail of the trellis work:

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The awesome main spire:

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The Diocese nearby:

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How ironic that the school (Gymnastik) nearby incorporates the word “nastik”, which means “atheist” in Sanskrit!

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Each entrance was imposing:

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This was the main entrance:

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The doors are, predictably, solid:

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So are the locks (yes, the Cathedral was locked)

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The walls are imposing against the sky:

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The Museum was closed, too, when we reached:

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Right next to the Cathedral is the Linkoping Palace:

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The Linkoping flag has a tiger on it, which was very appropriate to someone from India!

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Was this some kind of sundial? I couldn’t make out, and there is no mention in the Wiki:

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Here’s PC, clicking it, too:

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The road with the old coach houses:

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The Cathedral as it reaches up to touch the summer sky:

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It’s very frustrating not to be able to get enough (in English) about this beautiful building and its environs…translating everything from the Swedish is a frustrating job!

Heritage hits the dust…

May 3, 2014

I went to Langford Town, and was saddened to see another beautiful heritage home hit the dust on Oleff road.

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This lovely bungalow, typical of old Bangalore architecture, set in small, lovely garden, was already half gone.

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I tried to see if the year of construction was marked anywhere, but could not find it.

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The solidity of the construction, and the high ceilings, can be seen:

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How I wish I had the money to buy up such old homes, and maintain them in the old style! I could sit in them and dream about days when space in the city was not such a valuable commodity,that history had to be sacrificed on the altar of Mammon…

Banjaran, and name-bracelets, India Gate, Delhi, 260314

March 27, 2014

First my daughter had two Banjara girls, whom she asked to thread together various name beads for all of KTB’s friends at Urban Sprouts, the daycare back home:

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The threads they used were so colourful:

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As were the ornaments on the girls’ hands:

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The beads cost Rs.2 each, and though the girls were illiterate, they asked for our help in stringing them together the right way:

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You can see “ABIGAIL” being spelt out here:

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While they did their work, corn-on-the-cob was shared:

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Soon, word seemed to spread that here was a person who would pay well, and she seemed to be running an ethnic cottage industry on the lawns of India Gate!

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My daughter finally had to walk away with others pestering her, but she was happy that she’d given them employment, at least for a while.

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These Banjarans were so colourful…I wish their lives were as colourful, too!

An enjoyable evening of folklore and children’s theatre, 230314

March 23, 2014

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Click here

to see my review of the evening (which was more than just the play), by Bangalore Little Theatre.

I’m glad I could show KTB a bit of children’s theatre in India!

The Morris Minor, Woodlands Hotel, and a wedding, 190314

March 20, 2014

As we entered the Woodlands Hotel just off Richmond Circle, to attend a wedding, our attention was riveted by this little gem, parked in the campus:

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The

MORRIS MINOR

is a beautiful little car!

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As if to keep perfect company with the car, these old buildings of the Woodlands Hotel looked so lovely:

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We attended the wedding, too…the youngest daughter of one of the old families of Bangalore and Nanjangud:

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All in all, it was a day when history and heritage seemed to thrive in modernity!

A few trees that are entwined with Hinduism…

February 28, 2014

As I wandered around the kalyANa mantapam (festivity venue) at Chromepet, it struck me that there are so many trees that are inextricably entwined with Hindu rituals and customs…and I was lucky to be able to photograph some of them, right there. I am giving the Tamizh names and the link to the Wikipaedia entries about them, too.

One is the

pArijAtha or “pavazha malli” (literally, “coral jasmine” maram (maram is tree is Tamizh).

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The flowers of the tree are very beautiful:

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They fall like stars to the ground, where they are gathered up for worship by devout Hindus in the morning.

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Though the wiki entry mentions the mythology of the tree being the focus of a tussle between Rukmani and Sathyabhama, two of Krishna’s beloved, there is a story about Hanuman having his abode amongst the roots of this tree:

“AnjanEyam athi pAtalAnanam/ kAnchanAdri kamanIya vigraham/ pArijAtha tharu mUla vAsinam/ bhAvayAmi bhava mAna nandanam”.

My parents had a huge tree in the garden, and I would gather the flowers, distribute them amongst our neighbours, and take some to the nearby “vyAyAm ghar” (exercise place) where there was an image of Hanuman, and offer them there. My practice of reciting the Anjaneya Ashtothram (108 names of Hanuman) dates from the time I was 14 or 15…and in spite of my agnosticism, it’s something I never fail to do, till date!

Another tree that was common in gardens of temples is the

Vilva maram

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The fruit of the tree is used for both food and medicine, even today. In folklore, the tri-foliate form of leaves symbolize the trident that Shiva holds in his right hand.

The third tree, that is used everywhere in Hindu rites and rituals, is the

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana&quot; Banana or Plantain tree, called vAzhai maram

Every part of the tree is useful; the stem is used as a vegetable (yes, I cook it, too, and it’s one of my daughter’s favourite vegetables!) as is the raw fruit; the flowers are also cooked; the “petals” of the banana flower were often used as informal containers during meals; the leaves are an essential part of the south Indian feast…an “elai shAppAdu” (leaf meal) is a must, where the food is served on plantain leaves, with the “nuNi” (tip of the leaf) intact. (The leaf-tip must face to the left, I don’t know why that rule!)

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The banana stems are chopped, and the mantapam entrance is decorated with the leaves and the banana flower forming a graceful arch of welcome for the guests.

Many of our dishes are also cooked or steamed in banana leaves, which form a great traditional lining. Even today, I enjoy unwrapping the spiral of banana leaf which encloses the “kadubu”, a Kannada dish somewhat like an iddli. Kerala dishes made with jackfruit and rice flour are also steamed in plantain leaves.

I photographed a very huge variety of this plant at Lalbagh, on 080211:

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The plant was mis-labelled as “Crown of Thorns”, though. I also clicked the stamens, which are cooked after the pistils are carefully removed:

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In Coorg tradition, the bridegroom chops down several banana stems in symbolism for wild animals, to show his manly prowess. In Tamil Nadu, we sometimes had young women married to symbolic banana stems when the grooms could not be physically present. No, I refuse to go further with the banana symbolism!

Another tree that is always associated with Hindu rites is the

mA maram (mango tree).

The mango is considered the king of fruits in India, and the wood is used for cheap furniture; the leaves are an essential part of the “thOraNam” decorating doorways to homes, and the fruit, in its baby (mAvadu) and raw (mAngAi) forms are used in making delicious pickles.

In this photograph, taken before the varalakshmi pUjA, you can see both banana trees and mango leaves for sale, to decorate the goddess’ mantapams in people’s homes.

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I won’t write much about the

Coconut palm…thennai maram …as it is so ubiquitous!

You can see how palm fronds are used for decoration:

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In this pic you can see coconuts rolled up in dhotis, to be gifted to the priests:

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We cannot do without coconuts for any puja!
It’s a great pity that our strong links to trees seem to be getting diluted these days…and we seem to think of them not as living beings, complementing our lives, but hindrances to “development”, especially to the faster flow of motorized traffic!

Udupi Temple Complex, Karnataka, 090214

February 13, 2014

Having participated in the Manipal Bird Day, my friends Prabhakar and Savita

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took me to the famous Sri Krishna temple at Udupi.

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The

Krishna Temple

is the one that most devotees go to visit, but the Sri Krishna Matha is one of the

Ashta Mathas

(mattha, or matt, or mutt…are different ways of spelling it), the eight monasteries, and their heads being:

Palimaru – Sri Hrishikesha Tirtha
Adamaru – Sri Narasimha Tirtha
Krishnapura – Sri Janardhana Tirtha
Puttige – Sri Upendra Tirtha
Shirur – Sri Vamana Tirtha
Sodhe – Sri Vishnu Tirtha
Kaniyooru – Sri Raama Tirtha
Pejavara – Sri Adhokshaja Tirtha

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The ashta mathas are named after the villages in which they were originally located. Today, the mathas are situated in the temple town of Udupi. The mathas work to propagate the Dvaita philosophy. They also administer the famous Udupi Krishna Temple by way of a formal rotation scheme called

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There are many, extensive buildings:

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The Kaniyoor Matha

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has two colourful dwAra pAlakAs (entrance guards):

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Note the ornate pillars, too.

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It was surprising to see a mango tree already fruiting in February!

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The rathA (temple chariot) is majestic:

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The wheels are of wood:

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Here are some of views of the beautiful woodwork on the rathA:

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(in the centre is a drum, which I think is beaten during processions.)

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The ratna rathA (chariot of gems) was locked up, but one could peep in through a small window:

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One “rathA” is made of the wood, but is more like a gOpurA (temple tower) as it is not set on wheels.

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We went to the very first “udupi hotel”; today, Udupi cuisinee is one of the hallmarks of Karnataka cuisine, represented across the world.

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We had masAl dosAs:

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After the first assault, this became a “hol(e)y” masal dosa!

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There are shops all around the complex, but this young man was selling his wares independently:

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This is called an “appa kArai” in Tamizh; oil or ghee is poured into the little depressions, and sweet or savoury batter balls, called “appam”, are fried. My friend Shyama Priya tells me that the appa kArai pictured here are made of shale/claystone, and appams fried in them turn out golden!

My friends took the decision to move to Manipal from Bangalore, when their son Aditya studied there. It’s a move that they are very happy with; they are very involved with the student community in the university town, and are deeply involved with birding, theatre, music, and other activities.

They have a lovely “tree” bookshelf dividing their drawing and dining areas:

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In the middle of a busy, happy life, Prabhakar knows how to relax:

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Thank you to my dear friends for a very memorable visit! Will post about the Manipal Bird Day soon…