Posts Tagged ‘history’

Two views…of me

July 25, 2019

At Begur Panchalinga Nageswara Temple, I was taking copious notes to help me make a blogpost about my visit, when I was clicked by Dr M B Krishna (affectionately called MBK).

Here is the “regular” photo.


He then “artified”it on his mobile software:


I must say, I like both!

The itinerant religious singer, Bhutanahalli, 170619

June 18, 2019

I clicked this photo of an itinerant religious singer, with my young friend Prem, while we were watching the Baya Weavers at Bhutanahalli koLA (pond):


Since he was singing about the maleficient god Shaniswara (the planet Saturn), I clicked him in front of the shrine:


I also saw Krishnaveni’s husband and her son Punith (they run Ravisutha Hotel, where we generally have chai and brefus when we are birding in the area) give alms to the singer:

I posted on FB and asked if such a singer would have a specific name, and got a very detailed reply from Rajpal Navalkar:

“This one is Kamsale. Most of them can be found in North Karnataka. In Maharashtra, too, we have these semi classical and even classical Buas (called Bauls in Bengal) who go around singing Bhajans and Bhavageet.”

He went on to add, in detail:

Religious singers are of five groups: (1) Kamsale (2) Neelagaru (3) Chowdike
(4) Gorava (5) Gane.

Professional religious singers sing only those songs which concern their chosen gods, pilgrim centres and temples. Their main purpose is to propagate the supremacy and philosophy of their particular religion to inculcate values and norms in the community. Professional singers are characterised by traditional colourful costumes and conspicuous musical instruments. They command great respect and take active participation in all the religious celebrations of their community.

(1) Kamsale

Kamsale: ‘Kamsale’, popularly known as ‘Devadraguddas’ are the disciples of Lord Madayya. ‘Kamsale Mela’ is a popular folk song which deals with the history of ‘Mahadeshwara’ (the presiding deity of Malai Mahadeshwara or MM Hills, a renowned pilgrim centre, situated in Mysore district).

The name ‘Kamsale’ is derived from the traditional musical instrument. It is a unique musical instrument consisting of two bronze plates. The bronze cymbal is in the form of a cup with a broad base. The other plate is a flat structure with a tassel tied in the centre. The cup is held in the left hand and with the help of the tassel the flat plate is held in the right hand and the singer clashes both of them rhythmically during the performances.

‘Kamsale’ singers sing either individually or in a group. when in group, this form becomes a mela and consists of three members. The main performer plays the ‘Kamsale’ instrument, supported by two artistes in the background playing an instrument-the ‘Dammadi’ and the ‘Yekatari’-single-stringed musical instrument. The performance consists of narration by the chief singer, who pauses in between to interpret the story. The Kamsale artists do not wear any traditional costumes.

Their dressing is simple, they wear ‘Rudraksha’ beads, which is their religious emblem, and carry a satchel. They are illiterates and have no printed literature. They learn those songs orally. They participate in fairs, which are held in Mahadeshwara hills during ‘Diwali’, ‘Shivaratri’ and ‘Ugadi’ festivals and are found extensively in Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore districts of the state.

Thank you for all the information, Rajpal. Just a few minutes of that song had so much of a story behind it! Here’s some more of the KamsALe, with more of dance:

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:


A view of the Panchalinga temple:


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


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


The other one, more finished:


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).


The old shrine:


The small gopura:


The old part of the temple:


The tottering old nagarEshwara shrine:


the Nandi in front:



Small bas relief of Ganesha:


Getting ready for the deepOtsavA (lamp festival):


A yagnya being performed:


The low ceilings and granite pillars:


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:


Another such pallakki both are at the shrine of kAlikAmbA:


Shrine to sUrya nArAyaNA:


The view of the Nagareshwara shrine:


Hero stones and inscriptions in the courtyard:






A Ganesha carved out of a bullock horn:


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


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


Another view of the temple:


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


One of the trees in the courtyard:


Another one next to it:


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


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!)

July 16, 2014




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.



“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!


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




“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.




“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!



We had our own, very good Swedish guide!


Down to the kitchen:



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!)


The huge hall at the top:


The staircase:


The view from the top:


Vaulted ceilings underground:




Narrow windows tell their tale of fortification:


Here’s the baron who built the castle:


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

And here’s the coat of arms:


The huge fireplace:


The area where the womenfolk lived:


Couldn’t go past this:


successfully puts a villain in

the stocks !


The museum downstairs documented the way life was lived:


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


The refectory tables:


Interesting window:


This woodcut of the castle itself is very old!


Old tapestries:



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


An artist has depicted various coats of arms:


Ancient implements:


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


Bread was dried in disks like that!


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


A modern lock in an ancient latch!


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


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


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


A scale model:


I was amazed to find the


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


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:


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


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


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




They had quill nibs and metal nibs:


There was a children’s activity area:


Medieval pastimes no. 347, Riding a Pig:


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


Tourists are helping make each other extinct, too:


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


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:


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!


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

That was me documenting Glimmingehus….


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



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:


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


And here they are, playing together.


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:




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



The stained glass windows looked majestic from outside:


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


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


The side view of the Cathedral:


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


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


A detail of the weather vane:


detail of the trellis work:


The awesome main spire:


The Diocese nearby:


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


Each entrance was imposing:



This was the main entrance:





The doors are, predictably, solid:


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


The walls are imposing against the sky:


The Museum was closed, too, when we reached:


Right next to the Cathedral is the Linkoping Palace:


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


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


Here’s PC, clicking it, too:


The road with the old coach houses:


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



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.


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


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


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


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…

April 11, 2014

I was dozing off in a fit of heat-inducing somnolence from somewhere out of my dull brain came the thought of my mother…and her love of wildlife documentaries. She was far, far ahead of her times…she had Salim Ali’s bird book with her, though she only watched garden birds..and we often went into the jungles of West Bengal and north India. In a time when wildlife was plentiful, she enjoyed reading about it and going to watch it. I still remember the trips we used to make to places like Betla Game Sanctuary in Bihar, where we saw magnificient tigers…

I thought of two documentaries that my mothe raved about.

One was

The Living Desert, by Walt Disney (69 minutes), made in 1953

Here’s the description of the amazing way in which this amazing, path-breaking movie came about:

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature of 1953, Walt Disney’s The Living Desert marked a departure from earlier Disney “wildlife” productions in that it was a full-length film. All previous subjects in the studio’s True-Life Adventures series had been shorts.

Disney was inspired to make the film after viewing footage taken by a UCLA doctoral student of a thrilling battle between a wasp and a tarantula. The producer agreed to fund the project which was filmed in the southwest U.S. The film, which focused on the diversity of often unseen animal life was both a critical and commercial success, a rarity for the era.

In addition to receiving an Oscar for The Living Desert, Disney collected three other Academy Awards in 1953, at the time a record for one individual. The Living Desert was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2000 for its’ “cultural, historical and aesthetic significance.”

Here’s a snip from the documentary, choreographed delightfully to a square dance (with an observer, too!)


Another film was “The Flute and The Arrow”, which I never saw. But the name, etched into my subconscious like many childhood memories are, suddenly re-surfaced.

I googled for “The Flute and The Arrow”, and I realized that it is actually a Swedish wildlife documentary, 88 minutes long, made in 1957:

called, ” En djungelsaga” in Swedish

and I tried to see if I could watch it online.

Here is a video about following up on the main character, a Bastar tribal, long after the documentary was made:

this, in itself, is well worth watching! But alas, I am not able to get either The Living Desert or The Flute and The Arrow online…could someone help?

We tend to think only of Discovery or NatGeo when talking about wildlife documentaries, but there must have been a solid body of work in the past, before these became household names. I’m glad I was able to dig out two out of my erratic memory!

How difficult it must have been, to make these films in times where far less technology was available

There was also the Disney documentary, “The Vanishing Prairie”…can others come up with more such wildlife films from the past?

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

March 23, 2014





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!

A heritage doctor, 180314

March 20, 2014

I first visited Dr H Suresh’s clinic in 4th T Bl ock in Jayanagar, in 1979, when my daughter was 6 months old. She’d been having severe diarrhoea for two weeks, and I was at my wits’ end as I was staying with some friends and desperately worried about her health.

Dr Suresh’s clinic was called “Deepa Clinic”, and that formed a further bond. I learnt that it was his daughter’s name. He promptly treated my infant daughter, who recovered.

When we moved to J P Nagar in 1997, my neighbour told me about a G P who ran his clinic nearby. “He’s not too high-and-mighty to see everyday ailments,” she told me, “He’s our family doctor.” So, when KM was ailing, I went along with her…and there it was, Deepa Clinic, at the same place where it existed in 1979.


Over the years, since then, Dr Suresh has treated our family for so many ailments. He is a General Practitioner in the true sense of the word….he sees all patients. He has also been the only doctor I know, who made house calls. When we brought back my father-in-law from the US, who had suffered a stroke at 84,and was getting progressively worse with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as a series of strokes that ultimately carried him off 3 years later, it was Dr Suresh who came home regularly to check on him, and prescribed such minor medications as would keep my father-in-law reasonably comfortable.

When my daughter married, and she and our son-in-law came to visit, he treated their coughs and colds, too, and stomach ailments. They swore by his treatment.

Dr Suresh is a doctor of vast experience; when he finds something wrong in a patient that is out of the ordinary, he immediately lets us know and refers us to the specialist in the field. This happened with at least three friends of mine…one brought his wife, who was promptly diagnosed with stomach cancer; and two more major ailments.

And now, I took my grandchildren also to him. True to form, he did not prescribe antibiotics for my son in law or my grand-daughter, but said that my grandson did have a bacterial infection which needed to be treated with antibiotics. This is something I like very much in him…he does not prescribe medicines unnecessarily….another rarity in today’s world. He’s much more likely to dose us with some of the tablets on his desk, and by the time we go back for a repeat consultation 3 days later, we are cured!


Dr Suresh continues to be a General Physician….he does not aspire to be a specialist, but his wide experience of seeing patients stands him in good stead in treating people. He is most unusual, and to me, worthy of great respect, that he has continued in this same location, for the past 35 years (at least)…and preserves the quality of his life by taking days off on birthdays and his wedding anniversary. I do not know his wife, son, and daughter (and their families) personally…but I feel that they must be lucky, indeed, to have such a wise and contented person.

I salute this physician who has become that rare wonder, the Family Physician. Doctors like him are very, very rare, and I hope Dr Suresh a very long, happy and healthy life, bringing health and happiness to all the patients he treats!