Posts Tagged ‘Karnataka

24
Mar
12

23rd of March 2012: ‘Vikram Samvat’ or Hindu New Year

Hindu New Year , also known as ‘Vikram Samvat’ is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar. In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon and days both sun and moon. This era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. To correspond with the solar calendar, 57 years are subtracted from the Hindu Year. Thus, the New Year begin with the first day of Kartik Maas following Deepawali Amaavasya.

“It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it.”

Ramakrishna

The origin of Hindu New Year relates to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya in 57 BC. According to the legend, King Gardabhilla abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk looked for help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released, but Gardabhilla retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, who was brought up in the forest, later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.

 

 

“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

 

Mao Zedong
 

On this occasion people decorate their houses by lighting and flowers decorations of varied colors like pink, blue, yellow, red and purple, etc… People also designed rangolis. Rangolis are the main attraction of the decoration part.

 

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”

Mother Teresa
 

On that day it is a tradition to wake up early in the morning. People take a bath and they wear new clothes. Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and to god Ganesh. Flowers, fruits and Prasad are offered to God. After the worship, prasad and fruits are distributed among the family members and neighbors. Prasad is a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed.

 

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

The birth of a New Year is a whole new beginning and marks the time when the world awakens from its wintry slumber. So almost all the Hindu New Year festivals fall on the beginning of the spring months when nature turns bountiful and blesses the earth with fruitful greenery. The beautiful flowers that bloom in spring, the early bird songs, the fresh harvests which are the fruits of past labor and the commencement of a new agricultural cycle . All these symbolize the dawn of another year. Thus, every colorful spring festival of the Hindus, with all the expectations, apprehensions, hope and joy woven in the festivities, is essentially for a New Year celebration.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Albert Einstein
03
Mar
11

Incredible India – Hoysaleshwara temple, a Stunning Example of Hoysala Architecture

After our yesterday’s trip to the Chennakeshava temple of Belur, I’m taking you today on an expedition to the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebid.

Halebid literally means ‘the ruined city’. During the 12th and 13th centuries AD, it flourished as the capital of the Hoysala Dynasty for about 150 years. It was also then known as Dwarasamudra (gateway to the seas). However, invaders who robbed it of its treasures, leaving behind the ruins of the once-magnificent Shiva temple, twice attacked it. The Hoysalas then shifted their capital to Belur, leaving behind Halebid, a city once grand and since reduced to poverty and ruins.

The Shiva Temple, Hoysaleshwara, is unique for its two shrines in the Linga form and gigantic figures of Nandi. It is actually two temples attached along the north-south axis by pillared walls. This temple is twice the size of Belur’s Chennakeshava Temple and the figures are larger as well. The twin Shiva Temple with a common platform and two garbhagrihas, one beside the other have a common broad navaranga.

The temple doorways are highly ornate and impressive. Outer walls have rows of intricate figures narrating episodes from epics like Ramayana, Bharatha and Bhagavata.

02
Mar
11

Incredible India – Chennakeshava temple of Belur, A Religion In Stone

Belur and Halebid are two tiny, but beautiful temple towns 16 km apart in the southern state of Karnataka. Once at the centre of a great empire ruled by Hoysalas in the 12th century, Belur and Halebid are heritage towns and are home to several exquisite temples which reveal the artistry of Indian sculptors and the mastery of the temple builders of yore. The temples of Belur & Halebid are magnificently done up with intricate carvings and fine architecture.  

Today I want to take you on a trip to the Chennakeshava temple of Belur.

The sage Ramanuja converted Bittiga, the fourth and mightiest monarch of the Hoysala dynasty, from the Jain faith to the Vaishnava faith. The king changed his name to Vishnuvardhana and built temples with great vigor and dedication.

In order to commemorate his victory over the Cholas in the battle of Talkad, he built Belur Temple in 1117 A.D. It took 103 years to complete. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes-with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers nothing was left without being carved.

The main temple, surrounded by a group of subsidiary shrines, stands in the center of a rectangular, paved courtyard along the perimeter of which are ranges of cells fronted by a pillared veranda. The temple has lost its super structure but looks very imposing. It has a pillared hypostyle hall, a square vestibule, and a solid, stellate vimana.

Three entrances lead into the hall, each being flanked by a shrine.

The gorgeously decorated doorkeepers guard the doorways on either side. Forty-six pillars support the extensive hall, each of a different design. Historians find a tradition that the ancient and medieval Indian artists rarely sign their work of art. However, the Hoysala sculptors have broken this custom and signed their sculptures. They engraved their names, titles and even the place of their origin at the foot of their art work. The stone inscriptions and copper plates of the period give some more details about these artisans.

21
Feb
11

Incredible India: The Jain Legacy In Karnataka

 Sravanbelagola (Gomateshwara Temple) is one of the most popular Jain pilgrimage center in South India, an is known for its collossal monolithic statue of Gomateswara, on top of a hill. The word “Sravanbelagola” means the Monk of the White Pond (Sravana means Monk and belagola means a White Pond). Chanragiri and Indragiri are two peaks of the mighty Vindhyagiri mountain-range. Of this two, Indragiri is famous for containing the 57 feet high statue of Gomateshwara-believed to be the world’s tallest monolithic statue. The history of Sravanabelagola goes back to a long time, when Emporer Chandragupta Maurya arrived here with his guru, Bhagwan Bhadrabahu Swami and embraced Jainism after renouncing his kingdom of Magadha in the 3rd centuary AD patroned Jainism and were responsible for its extensive spread in the south.

The statue of Gomateshwara was erected during the reign of the Ganga King, Rachamalla, under the patronage of his minister Chamundrayar and by sculptor Aristenemi (981 AD). The temple to Gomateswara is built on top of a hill, in between two hills – at a height of 3000 feet above sea level.The statue, atop the hill, is reached by 614 rock-cut steps. There are many smaller images of Jain tirthankaras (revered Jain teachers) around the image.

Jains form less than one percent of the Indian population. For centuries, Jains are famous as community of traders and merchants. The states of Gujarat and Rajasthan have the highest concentration of Jain population in India. The Jain religion is traced to Vardhamana Mahavira (The Great Hero 599-527 B.C.). Mahavira was the twenty-fourth and last of the Jain Tirthankars. Mahavira was born in a ruling family of Vaishali, located in the modern state of Bihar, India. At the age of thirty, Mahavira renounced royal life and devoted himself to the task of discovering the meaning of existence. At the age of 42 he attained enlightenment and spent the rest of his life meditating and preaching Jainism.

 Jainism rests on a real understanding of the working of karma, its effects on the living soul and the conditions for extinguishing action and the soul’s release. Jainism considers the soul as a living substance that combines with various kinds of non-living matters. The Jain religion rests on complete inactivity and absolute nonviolence (ahimsa) against all living beings. All practicing Jains try to remain vegetarians.

The Jains celebrate the five major events in the life of Mahavira- conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment, and final release after death.  Major Jain pilgrimage destinations in India are Palitana, Ranakpur, Shravanbelagola, Dilwara Temple, Khandagiri Caves and Udayagiri Caves.