Sculpture,painting and architecture

“There are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, Sculpture is art you can walk around, and Architecture is art you can walk through” Dan Rice

Sculpture

location:Sri Dharmaraya Swamy temple at Bangaluru,India. Sculptured on granite stone.This temple sculpture is about 800 years old.

Architecture

Rock cut Hindu temple Architecture depicting Dravidian style of architecture, located in Namakkal,in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Image of the temple of Narasimhaswamy temple with famous Nammakal fort at the top of the hill on a sunny day with bright colours. This temple was built around 8th century.

Painting

Painting sketches done at the entrance gate of Bengaluru(India) Chickpet metro railway station
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Beliefs and Life Styles -Kula Deivam blessings to encompass Seven Generations

I know it is very difficult for the Microsoft Outlook to predict a good date and time either for you or to your family members’ to visit a temple of your faith or to visit the nearby shopping mall to window shop the items meant for bumper discounts or in telling you when your techie son or daughter will migrate to greener pastures to grab more green bags! Or when you or your family members will hit a bumper prize in the TV reality show!

I also know that it cannot even predict what emails I will receive in the next five hours and it cannot match horoscopes and find ‘jeevan sathi’ for any one.  It cannot predict how many brands of smart phones will disappear tomorrow or the ups and downs in the global stock market index. We still call this as outlook! That is the punch!

Like that it has been a herculean task for me to request, the new generation members in our family who are far less religious or inclined to follow rituals, to pay a visit to our kula Deivam temple at Perungalur located in the Pudukotai district of Tamil Nadu, far away from the sea of chaos and definitely cannot be ignored by the map makers.

I always recall what my parents used to say when I was young that deeper the root that makes the trees stronger and one has to visit the kula deivam temple whenever possible and at least before or after milestone family social events like marriage or grahaprevesam (house warming) and so on.

symbolic protectionAccording to my parents that Kula Deivam blessings encompass ‘seven generations’.  Really I don’t know why it is said like that. I never questioned my parents’ wisdom to answer all my ‘whys’ associated with this belief of praying and visiting the kula Deivam deity and temple. I just accepted that as a family tradition to be followed and not beyond that. (You may ferry into my earlier post, Kula Deivam-Unique Tamil Tradition)

I am a firm believer in thinking that wherever you are in the globe that no greater heritage exists than family culture and festivals.

If you ask me innocently that how come worship is quite be restricted to the walls of the structures built at a particular place that has been created long time ago I don’t have any bold answers.

A person like me who lived and spent  more than 35 long years outside of my home state Tamil Nadu , India, got perplexed when I came to know that there is a temple for every wish in Tamil Nadu, and calendar dates to tell you when and what to do and not to-do.

It seems Astrology, Numerology and temple deity predictions by priests turned to be as a full-time career option. For hefty consulting fees spiritual and astrological advice is ubiquitous. Tamil Nadu boasts the highest number (70) of spiritual magazines published in India.   Equally voices are also there in exposing all hollow antics claimed by self styled gurus and babas.  Several Tamil TV channels too joined the band wagon in exclusively conducting program and organize events devoted to astrological forecasts and kula deivam deities. I also understand that such time slots are hitting the top viewership ratings.

It is also very sad to note that how the world today is characterized by an extreme avarice even to religion and faiths are concerned.  Who thought even spiritual enlightenment and worship would often command a business trading premium in real life in the hands of temple pundits.

Here I am not going to get into a debate over the ‘whys’ of Kula Deivam prayers or the wonder faith on powers beyond measure and so on. Definitely I am not an expert on this touchy subject.

Ignoring the noise in the social landscape after many months of debate and deliberations based on the dates suggested by Georgian, Victorian, Tamilian, Tamil panchangam calendar my family members mostly belong to the “cool” and  press button culture decided to pay a visit to the kula deivam temple at Perungalur on 6th October 2012.

The experience is great in knowing how Cities talk to you, towns talk to you and a tiny village’s talk to you. I wonder with my bright eyes that how many countless memories must have been created and recreated here over the centuries.   It is delightful to recollect now how our kula Deivam deity at the tiny village of Perungalur spinning out a long history of its own.  It is wonderful to see once gain how every inch of Perungalur reverberates with echoes from the past.

My visit to Dakshineswar kali Temple-Kolkata

India’s temple map is very unique. All are steeped in antiquity. And full of architecture and crafting skills of artisans. My son was in Kolkata during the first week of this New Year. So, a religious cum venture trip was planned on New Year’s Day. We all decided that we would go to Dakshineswar Kali Temple situated alongside the river Ganga (Hooghly) of Vivekananda Bridge north of Calcutta about 22 Km from BBD Bag and 40Km from Kudghat Bus terminus where our house is situated.

I debated for a while on how to go to the temple. As you know that talking about the local transport, Kolkata city may be one of the rare cities in India and for that matter in the world  that offers you so many options: local metro, trams, ferry, buses, taxis or the typical  ancient style hand-pulled rickshaws (that are still very much part of the cityscape). Finally we decide to board a local bus and then a river ferry to reach the-I -Dakshineswar temple-Kolkata.

After reaching a certain point by road when I stepped in to the local crude motor ferry boat to reach Dakshineshwar the cool river breeze continue to fascinate me and it was so refreshing to mind and body. While I was charting along the riverside route I could locate some very beautiful may be some of the largely ignored upstream gem of sites along the river Hooghly.

Finally when I reached the temple destination I was encircled by self appointed religious touts asking me to buy temple offerings from their shop. Of course I did not oblige and walked towards the temple.  The temple is dedicated to goddess Kali. A narrow covered verandah serves the purpose of an audience-chamber attached to the sanctum where the goddess Dakshina Kali stands on the breast of Shiva.  Since the sanctum sanctorum is situated in a small room and circumambulation is difficult. Unlike, as one can observe in temples in Southern part of India.

The construction of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple  was done between in 1847 and 1855, covering an area of about 25 acres. Queen Rasmani the renowned queen of Janbazar had founded this temple. It is one of the largest temples of Kolkata . (Hindu Temples)

Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the world famous spiritual GURU has also associated with this temple as a priest and finally achieved here his spiritual vision. His meditation room is open to the visitors.

The main temple’s vast courtyard is surrounded by 12 other temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.  The respective twelve Sivalingas in the Dakshineswar temple are – Yogeswar, Jatneswar, Jatileswar, Nakuleswar, Nakeswar, Nirjareswar, Nareswar, Nandiswar, Nageswar, Jagadiswar, Jaleswar and Yajneswar

No visit to Dakshineswar is complete without offering prayers at the Adya Ma temple just 2km away from the main temple at Dakshineswar Ramakrishna Sangha Adyapeath  which was commenced in the year1921.  The dharshan at this temple is for a limited time. One should be there by 10 a.m. You can watch the one hour Puja and Arti and also have bhog (lunch),

Around the Dakshineswar main Temple entrance there are umpteen shops .A leisure theme park is also getting ready. The temple remains open from 6 AM to 1.00 PM and 3 00 PM to 8 30 or 9 00 PM. One can check up the exact time before planning the trip.

Visitors should not be missing any chance of tasting the mouth watering puchkas, churmur, Naleen gud sandesh and masala lemon tea, Luchis, pedas and jilabis sold in very small shops in not so clean environment around the temple area.

I did my share of shopping at the small shops around the temple by buying “Bamboo sprout” and Kjoor (date fruit) pickle, pack of rosogullahs, gulabjamans and a bag full of souvenirs and said goodbye to Dakshineswar located near the city of joy with fond memories.