Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bhaskaresvara Temple, Bhubaneswar

Date: 26th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: None.

Timing: Unsure. 9 AM to 5 PM is best option.

Distance: 1450 Kms one way.

Parking: Roadside.

Food: Not Available.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Maghesvar temple, Brahmesvar temple.

Bhaskareswar temple located on the tankapani road was built between 13th and 14th century AD. Eastern ganga dynasty rulers are credited with building the temple. The colossal Linga in the temple is believed to be a Asoka pillar. Its said the pillar is chiseled to make it a linga. Garbagriha is closed and it was hard to see anything inside. The temple is built in Kalinga style with a towering vimana above the sanctum sanctorum. Idols of some god is carved on the outer wall on three sides.

The door to the garbagriha is close and we could not see the linga.

The idols on the three sides of the outer wall.

The pyramidal shaped vimana.

The structure was built on a raised platform which can be accessed via few steps.

The garden around the temple was well maintained.

We were here.

This was the first temple we visited in the temple city of Bhubaneswar. We explored many more temples in next 3 days and also missed many as 3 days was not enough. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Chausath Yogini Temple, Hirapur

Date: 26th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: Car Parking Rs 30.

Timing: Unsure. 9 AM to 5 PM is best option.

Distance: 1465 Kms one way.

Parking: Available.

Food: Not Available.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Bhaskaresvara Temple.

The yogini temple houses 64 manifestations of goddess Shakthi. The temple located in Hirapur is the smallest of all yogini temples. The temple was discovered by Kedarnath mahapatra of Odisha state museum in 1953. The temple is estimated to be of 9th century AD. Like most yogini temple this temple is also built in a circular fashion. This is one of the four hypaethral temple in India, partly or fully open to sky. A small entrance is cut facing east. The various images of the goddesses are carved of black chlorite stone and stand its in own niche on their celestial mount. The biggest of all the idol in 31st niche having 10 arms is worshiped as Mahamaya. The mantapa in the center is dedicated to lord Shiva in the form of Bhairava. There are four idols of lord Bairava. Each yogini idol has a unique hair style and exquisite features. There are also nine idols on the outer wall. Each figure standing on human head and holding a weapon.

Entrance to the temple.

Idols of the yoginis on the inner wall.

Mahamaya, the largest of all the idols.

Lord Ganesha in female form.

Bhairava standing on one leg.

Yogini holding an elephant over the head.

Every yogini have a unique hairstyle and posture.

Nava Katyayinis on the outer wall.

All idols standing on the head.

The circular shrine measuring 27.4 m in circumference and 2.4 m height. Smallest of all Yogini temple.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Shanti Stupa, Dhauligiri

Date: 26th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: Rs 10 for car entry to Dhauli. Rs 25 for light and sound show.

Timing: Dawn to Dusk. Light and sound show timing given below.

Distance: 1445 Kms one way.

Parking: Roadside.

Food: Small snack available.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Asoka rock edicts, Asoka Pillar, Shiva Temple.

Shanti stupa or peace pagoda is situated on the Dhauli hill. The stupa was built by Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in 1970. The deadly Kalinga war between the Maurya's and the Kalingas happened around this region. Looking at the aftermath of the war from this hill led the transformation of Asoka. Asoka dedicated his rest of life towards non-violence and dharma.

The construction of the Shanti stupa was assisted by Fuji Guruji and completed in 1972. The stupa is shaped like a dome.

The peace pagoda is a prime attraction and symbolizes the peaceful coexistence of humankind.

The place is one of the important pilgrim centers for Buddhist religion.

Region around the hill where its believed the Kalinga war happened.

Buddha in sleeping form.

Lion statue around the stupa looking at the vast land.

We were here.

The stupa along with the rock edicts is a major tourist attraction near Bhubaneswar. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rock Edicts of Asoka, Dhauli

Date: 26th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: Rs 10 for car entry to Dhauli.

Timing: Dawn to Dusk.

Distance: 1445 Kms one way.

Parking: Roadside.

Food: Small snack available near the Stupa.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Shanti Stupa, Asoka Pillar, Shiva Temple.

We started from Puri on 26th morning and on the way to Bhubaneswar we visited Dhauli. The place is famous for the shanti stupa on a small hill. The rock edicts of Asoka is at the base of the hill. After converting to Buddhism, Asoka wanted to propagate the dharma all over his kingdom. His edicts were carved in various places of his empire in form of major rock edicts, pillar edicts, minor inscriptions and cave inscriptions. Major edicts are set of 14 laws. In Dhaulagiri the edicts are inscribed on a rock shaped as elephant. Here in dhauli the edicts 11, 12 and 13 are omitted as the 13th edict reminds about the Kalinga war which was fought in this region. Instead 2 separate edicts called Kalinga edicts were added. The inscriptions are in Brahmi script.

On a high level each 14 edicts talk about.

1. Prohibition of animal sacrifice and prohibition of festival gatherings.
2. Shade, water and medical treatment for all men and animals in his kingdom and neighbours.
3. Officials travel all over his kingdom and spread the laws of dharma.
4. Success attained by spreading of dharma.
5. Appointment of the dharma mahamatras and their roles.

6. Asoka's efforts in serving the interest of public.
7. Asoka's tolerance towards all religion.
8. Asoka's dharma tour, first to bodhgaya.
9. Futility of ceremonies and merits of dharma practice.
10. No desire for fame or glory.

Three missing edicts in Dhauli.
11. Superiority of the gift of dharma.
12. Same as 7, religious tolerance.
13. Largest of all edicts. It talks about the evil of war and about the Kalinga war where many lives were lost.

14. Talks about engravings in different parts of the empire.

Two separate Kalinga edicts found only here.
1. Declares all men are his children. Welfare and happiness to all men.
2. Goodwill towards borderer.

Walls were constructed around the inscriptions to protect them. The edicts can be seen through the glass door. The person in charge lets the visitors in for a small fee.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Raghurajpur, Crafts Village

Date: 25th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: None.

Timing: None.

Distance: 1425 Kms one way.

Parking: Roadside.

Food: No.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Jagannath Temple, Puri

Raghurajpur is heritage crafts village located near puri. Almost every one in the village are artisans who specializes in paintings, palm leaf engravings, cowdung and wooden toys. The specialty is their pattachitra which is painting on cloths called patta. The patas used under the throne Lord Jagannath during ratha yatra every year comes only from this village. Government has given around 25lakhs to the villagers to paint their walls. The mural paintings can be seen on the front of most houses. The village is selected and promoted as a tourist attraction in odisha. However this place remains much less commercialized than Pipili.

Villagers greet the visitors and request to visit each home.

We visited many houses and were amazed by their work. The palm leaf engravings and pattachitra  were exceptional.

Almost all members of the family are involved in creating various art work.

It takes months of painstaking concentration to create some of the intricate paintings.

The villagers are proud of their ancestors exceptional work and showed us some of their creation with lot of pride.

Most of their work is sold in exhibitions. They get notified by the government of any major exhibitions happening in the cities.

Though rich in their skills their living condition doesn't look that good.

There are award winning artists in some of the houses with their award gathering dust under poor conditions.

Pipili is another well known place for its handicraft. All the shops were closed at 8:30 AM when we reached there next day.

A experience that left us speechless and we highly recommend to visit the place when in Puri.
 Raghurajpur offers not only a look at the work of the artisans but also their life at close quarters. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri

Date: 25th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: None.

Timing: Temple closes only for few hours after mid night.

Distance: 1455 Kms one way.

Parking: Available but at a distance.

Food: Available.

Photography: Not Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Konark Sun Temple.

Shree Jagannath temple in puri is one of the most important pilgrimage site for hindus. The temple is one of the char dham, others being Badrinath, Dwarka and Rameswaram. Its said that lord Vishnu takes bath in Rameswaram , gets ready in Dwarka, meditates in Badrinath and eats in Puri. Thus the prasadham in puri is revered as mahaprasadham. The main deity is lord Krishna and he is worshiped along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. The deity is made of wood unlike other temples where its made of either stone or metal. The temple is built in the odiya style of architecture with all four major components, deula or vimana above sanctum sanctorum, jagamohana, natya mantapa and bhoga mantapa. There are many more smaller temples within the complex. There are four entrance to the temple with singahdwara or lion gate being the main entrance. The aruna stambha from Konark sun temple is placed at this gate. Food is offered to the god six times a day. Sankudi and sukhila prasada is offered every day and later sold to devotees in ananda bazzar. Total of 56 items are prepared and offered everyday.

The most important festival in the temple is the famous ratha yatra. The three main deities are take in three wooden chariot to Gundicha temple. The idols remain in gundicha temple for nine days and comes back to the main temple. The three platforms in gundicha temple remains empty on other days. On the way back the yatra stops at mausi maa temple to offer prayers. The return journey is called bahuda jatra.

Gundicha temple, Puri.

One piece of advice for anyone visiting the temple is not to talk to any approaching priest. They will loot you in the name of pooja. Every priest here is after money. They don't force you to pay money so just ignore and keep walking. The temple was not crowded and we had a very good darshan. We had mahaprasadam prepared for lunch.

Puri beach, again a clean one just like gopalpur beach.

Part of beach accessed from panthanivas was less crowded than other side.

Photography is strictly prohibited and no electronic device is allowed inside. One can take photos from outside. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sun Temple, Konark

Date: 25th Sep 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Fee: Rs 30 per Adult.

Timing: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Distance: 1475 Kms one way.

Parking: Road side.

Food: Available.

Photography: Allowed.

Other attractions nearby: Puri Jagannath Temple.

The temple dedicated to sun god Surya is a UNESCO world heritage site. The temple was built by king Narasimhadeva of eastern ganga dynasty in 1250 AD. The temple is designed in the form of a chariot containing 24 wheels and drawn by 7 horses. The temple was built in kalinga style with a vimana above the sanctum sanctorum, Jagamohana and natya mantapa. The Vimana collapsed in 1837 and the massive structure that is standing is the Jagamohana. The natya mandapa or the dance hall is richly decorated with images of dancers. Some believe it to be bhoga mandapa where the food is  offered to the god. It is said that a magnet was placed on the shikara and the iron plates between the stones held the idol floating in air. The magnets disturbed the compass of the ships and was removed. Its believed that this caused the vimana to collapse. The temple is called black pagoda while Jagannath temple is called white pagoda.

Lion guarding the entrance. Lion represent pride, elephant the wealth and both killing the man below.

Like many other temple this temple too have an ancient story which goes like this. Samba, son of Lord Krishna and Jambavati made fun of divine sage Narada. The sage to avenge take samba to a secret bathing place where his stepmothers were undressing. Narada then brings Krishna to the place who curses samba with leprosy.

Later samba proved his innocence and Krishna asked samba to propitiate to sun god on the banks of chandrabhaga. After 12 years of penance samba was cured of the disease and he built a temple to sun god.

The exquisitely carved wheels with eight spokes act as sundial. The time can be calculated correctly with 5 to 10 min error margin.

Two more temples in ruins found in the same temple complex.

The brick temple behind the sun temple.

The temple is constructed carefully so that the sun rays fall on the idol through the natya mandapa.

Jagamohana is filled with sand and stone to prevent the structure from collapsing.

Relief work on the walls of Jagamohana.

The frieze panels around the temple walls depict various scenes like military marching, erotic images, elephant uprooting trees, women cooking etc.

Light and sound show also happens here from 8 PM to 8:40 PM on all days except Monday.

The dancers decorating the platform of the dance hall.

Aruna stambha dedicate to Aruna the charioteer of sun god was moved from here to Jagannath temple lion gate.

We were here.

Though in ruins the temple's grandeur and massive size never fails to amaze the visitor.

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