Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gandaberunda, Keladi



026/366 When I was kid, I was extremely fascinated with this two headed bird seen on red buses plying in Bangalore/Karnataka.
Later on I realized that, there were many many Kannada rulers, who ruled different parts of Karnataka, were also fascinated with this imaginary bird "Gandaberunda" just like me!
List of dynasties which used 'Gandaberunda' Symbol includes Kadambas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas & few Vijayanagar rulers like Nandyals & Gobburis.

Gandaberunda seen in this pic is found in ceiling of Keladi Rameshwara Temple in Shivamogga District.
This beautiful stone carving depicts might of this bird by holding lions in two heads and elephants in its feet.

Currently, Gandaberunda is part of official State symbol of Karnataka.

Mythologically, Gandaberunda is linked to Narasimha Avatara of Lord Vishnu.
You can read very interesting story about "Gandaberunda" & another imaginary animal "Sharabha" here.

Keladi is situated 6km North of Sagara, Shivamogga District, Karnataka.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lakhota Palace, Jamnagar



025/366 Lakhota Palace, Jamnagar

Small yet beautiful palace is built in the middle of Lake in Jamnagar.
Name for this city is after King Jam Rawal, earlier this town was known as "Nawagarh" was renamed as 'Jamnagar' during Jam Dynasty.
Though I could not figure out the date of this Palace, this city is supposedly built in around 1540.
This palace currently houses lovely museum(with collectibles from 9th to 18th century), though I was not fortunate to see them since it was closed on the day of our visit.

For more info:
http://www.indiasinvitation.com/monuments_jamnagar/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

1903 Wright Flyer, Washington DC



024/366 On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.

We have been reaping rewards of Wright Brother's invention for good long time now.
I had this great oppurtunity to get close view of first successful flight "1903 Wright Flyer" in Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington DC.

I am sure you all know about this masterpiece, if you are still interested, read here:
http://www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers/index_full.cfm

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shesha Shayana Maha Vishnu, Budhanilkantha



023/366 Ok! This was one of my "dream come true" moments...
I first saw this beautiful Shesha Shayana Maha Vishnu's lovely statue in a travel show 'musafir hoon yaron' in Star Plus hosted by Deepti Bhatnagar many years back. Ever since I saw this huge 18 feet statue of Lord Vishnu on TV, I wanted to visit this place...

And what I saw in reality was more mesmerizing than what I saw in TV...
Beautiful calm face of Vishnu is seriously infectious!

Lord Vishnu is known as "Budhanilkantha" is also located in place called Budhanilkantha, which is situated 10km north of Kathmandu.
Though exact date of this statue is unknown, it is believed to be at least 1300 year old as inscription dated 641 AD by Vishnu Gupta is found in this area.
This beautiful statue is set in the middle of pond and Lord Vishnu appears to float on water.

Since main deity is in horizontal position & is surrounded by water, preist has to walk over the statue to decorate, which probably is unique in the world!

Legend
Legend has that King Suryaketu had it constructed during his reign but it lay buried for many centuries after an earthquake. Later, King Dharmagat saw the image and the location of the Budhanikantha in a dream and he excavated the ground. The people believe that the excavation caused the unparalleled image small damage on its nose. Others believe it was an old farmer(buddha in hindi) who discovered the image while working on his field.

For beautiful pics & more info:
http://sacredsites.com/asia/nepal/budhanilkantha_statue.html
http://www.trailblazertrekking.com/budhanilkantha.htm

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu




This beautiful Stupa(Place of worship for Buddhist) was built in the beginning of 5th Century AD by King Maana Deva(464-505AD).

Lord Buddha's eyes(known as Wisdom eyes) are painted in all four directions on a cubical structure placed above the dome, symbolizes omniscience(all-seeing), below which Nepali number "1" is painted representing Unity.

According to Swayambhu Purana, the entire valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning "Self-Created." The name comes from an eternal self-existent flame (swayambhu) over which a sūpa was later built.

Legend says that this lovely place was also visited by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd Century BC and built a temple in same place, which was later destroyed.
Although the site is considered Buddhist, the place is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Numerous king Hindu followers are known to have paid their homage to the temple, including Pratap Malla, the powerful king of Kathmandu.

Another photo from this place is here, which speaks about "Mani Wheels" of Buddhism...this is another favorite photo of mine..

For more info

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chauli Ki Jaali, Mukteshwar



Chauli ki Jali, Mukteshwar


Mukteshwar is situated at 51km from Nainital is small but beautiful hill station and has Lord Shiva temple, which is around 350 year old. It sits high in the Kumaon Hills at an altitude of 2286 meters (7500 feet).
'Chauli ki Jali' is a popular tourist spot in Mukteshwar and has beautiful rock formation at around 45 degress slanting position. From this place, one can get breath taking views of Himalayan Mountain Range.


Picture inset is known as "Chauli ki Jali".

"Chauli" means Rock - "Jali" means hole.
There is one point in these rocks where there is a hole in the rock(seen in inset), as per locals, women who are not able to conceive tend to cross this hole on Maha Shivaratri and it is believed that after crossing this they will be blessed with a child.

For more info, click here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nageshwara - Jyotirlinga


020/366 Nageshwar, Gujarath is one of the Dwadasa(12) Jyotirlingas.
It is located near the holy city of Dwarka in Gujarat.
Legend says, Krishna the King of Dwarka worshipped at this shrine.

Normally linga is made from black stone and resemble pillars rounded at the top.
The linga at Nageshwar is, however, unique. It is made from a stone known popularly as Dwarka Stone, which has small wheel imprints on it. The linga is shaped like a three-faced oval Rudraksha, which literally means the tears of Shiva.

The Legend

In the Rudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana, Nageshwar is addressed as “DarukavaneNagesham”. This refers to the legend of Supriya. Supriya was a devotee of Shiva who was attacked by the asura Daruka, while she was traveling in a boat. Supriya was then imprisoned by the demon along with many other captives in his capital city of Darukavana. Daruka wanted to get additional powers from Shiva and so he asked Supriya to teach him the correct way to worship Shiva. Supriya knew that Daruka was a tyrant and would use the powers for destructive purposes so she refused to help. This enraged Daruka and he decided to kill Supriya. In order to rescue his devotee Shiva appeared in the form of a Jyotirlinga and killed the demon with his Pashupatastra. Daruka’s wife Daruki, however, continued to torment Supriya. Therefore Shiva emerged again from the Jyotirlinga to kill Daruki as well. It is this Jyotirlinga that is worshipped as Nageshwar.

More info

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cable car view of River Trishula, Nepal


Scenic view from Ropeway enroute to Manakamana Mandir, Nepal

I have been fortunate to go in many ropeways, but this one ranks amongst specials along with Gondola Ride in Lake Tahoe.
Starting at Kurintar at around 850 ft goes up to 3900 ft in just 10-15min covering 2.4km length ...
Trishula(Trishuli) River can be seen in pic.
ManaKamana Mandir is very popular temple in Nepal.

This place is around 95km from Kathmandu on the way to Pokhara.

More info on Manakamana Mandir

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sun Chariot, Konark



018/366 Sun Chariot, Konark, Orissa

Introduction to Konark came via earlier 20 Rs note,
on which famous wheel was printed on light orange colored
(more accurately 'Kanakaambara' colored) note from my father when I was kid.
This could be true to most of you as well.

I had the oppurtunity to see this famous wheel, which is part of famous Sun Chariot in Sun Temple, Konark few years back.
This architectural beauty - Sun Temple is in the form of Sun Chariot.
This chariot sculpture has 7 horses in the front and 12 beautifully carved wheels.

It was constructed using Sand stone found by King Narasimhadeva I (1238-1250 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna.
It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him.
After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built the magnificent Konark Sun temple.

Different types of Sun's idols have been installed in all 4 directions.
The pyramidical roof soars over 30 m (98 ft) in height.
Now, main deity is not existing in this temple.
The temple complex also contains erotic sculptures similar to the temple in Khajuraho.
This famous Sun temple is now partly in ruins.

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konark_Sun_Temple

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Parashurameshwara Temple, Bhubaneshwar


017/366 Parashurameshwara Temple is small yet extremely beautiful temple found in "Temple City of India", Bhubaneshwar.
This is one of the oldest temples found in this city and is fine example of Kalinga School of Architecture.

Carvings on outer wall contain beautiful of Mahisha Mardini. This temple is said to built in 650 AD.

Along with Lord Shiva one can also find the idols of Vishnu, Sun God, Yama and Mother Goddess.
This temple is lavishly decorated with floral motifs, human and animal figures.

Apart from this beauty, temple city boasts other famous temples like Lingaraja Temple(10-11th Century AD),
Mukteshwara Temple(7-8th century AD), Raja Rani Temple(1100 AD), Brahmeswara Temple(1050AD).

More info:
http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/india/bhubaneshwar/pr01.html

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kumara Parvata



016/366 Scenic view found while desending from Kumara Parvata towards Kukke Subramanya.

Kumara Parvata, also known as Pushpagiri is third tallest peak in Karnataka next to Mullayyana Giri and Tadiyandamol.
Peak is of altitude 5136ft. One can trek to Kumara Parvata peak either from Kukke Subramanya or from Bidalli(near Somavarapete).

In case you are trekking to this place, make sure you are carrying enough food and water as both are not available on the peak.
Even for drinking water, one needs to trek down to tap water from small stream.

More info/pics:
http://bmcindia.org/events/kumaraparvata-trek.html

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mud Bath, Murkal Elephant Camp



015/366 Elephant takes Mud bath at Murkal Elephant Camp, Nagarahole.

This place is enroute to Nagarahole main camp while entering the forest range from Hunsur.

We could also spot Balarama here, which regularly carries Golden Howdah(ambaari) during Vijaya Dashami(Dasara) in Mysore.
Most of the elephants which take part in world famous procession during Dasara are brought to Mysore from many elephant camps aroud Nagarahole.

While I was trying to take snaps of elephants, Balarama got wild...We were shooed away by caretakers :P

Rappelling @ Camp Leopard Rock



I experienced rappelling(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abseiling) for the first time in Camp Leopard Rock, near Hunsur.
Rappelling is a technique that allows you to do a controlled descent down a rope from a cliff.

Initially it looked very scary for most of us to descend 50-60ft rock just using/clinging onto the rope...
But when we practically did it, it was much easier than what it appeared to be...

It is indeed thrilling experience to dangle in the air and push yourself against rocks and move down swiftly :-)

I have done rappelling couple of more times later on, but this was one was the best experience I had...

PS: Identify the adventurous person who is rappelling down the boulder ;-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ibrahim Roza, Bijapur




It is said that, inspiration to world famous Taj Mahal, Agra is said to be this architectural beauty situated in North Karnataka.

Ibrahim Roza(also spelled as Ibrahim Rauza) was built in 15-16th century by Ibrahim Adil Shah II of Adil Shah Dynasty.
Ibrahim Roza was built in rememberence of Ibrahim Adil Shah's queen Taj Sultana and houses tomb of king as well.

PS: Song sequences of latest Kannada hit song "Pyarge agbittaite" from movie Govindaya Namaha is shot here & other beautiful monuments of Bijapur.

More info:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/bijapur/tourism/ibrahim-roza.html

Friday, February 3, 2012

Backwaters, Bhadra Reservoir



Bhadra Dam built against River Bhadra is situated 28km from Shivamogga.
Dam was commissioned in 1965 & is of 194 ft heigh.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bird's view of flyover, San Jose



10/366 Sharing this fly-over pic from archive...

Birds view of one of the fly-overs in San Jose, CA was caught during the journey to Watsonwille, CA with my collegues.
My ex-colleauge was pilot by hobby and he took us around to get exciting views in 4-seater Cessna 172 Skyhawk


I also had pleasure of sitting as "Co-Pilot" and controlling the directions of this small flight for brief period :-)