Posts tagged ‘ancient’

February 20, 2021

Sunrise by Shivalaya Temple

The city of Badami in Northern Karnataka, also called Vatapi, was the capital of one of the most enduring dynasties in Southern India – the Chalukyas. Nestled by a ravine that cuts through the sandstone landscape the site is graced by some beautiful temples – rock-cut and otherwise.

One of the prominent temple that I loved from my visit is the upper Shivalaya Temple. It had quiet ornamantal windows. It might have held equally ornate sculptures too within and probably was deprived of the same as time passed. The majestic mandapa stands as remnants of a bygone era, but still loaded with such grace and grandeur. It takes some effort to get up the hill. But the view is worth all the effort, especially around sunrise.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 250: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1/200 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

January 1, 2021

Reflections & Perspectives

Reflecting back on 2020, it had been a tough year. Travel had been restricted and not great in sense of capturing moments. One good thing with the lockdown – mother nature seem to be healing. We now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lockdown had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. For me it had been a great year professionally with more reading, new challenges and associated experiences. The ups & downs were like never before but the lessons learned were inevitable.

Let us drop the prejudice of 2020. Focus, enjoy and equip for the journey forward. Here is to 2021 – to more learning, more travel, more connections & enriched experiences :)

This week shot is from Badami (from a pre covid trip). Badami Shivalaya was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. Most of the visitors miss this as the focus is always on the Badami caves. The fort is quite opposite to the caves on the other side of the lake. Also one needs to trek to the top . The path is quiet defined with steps but is a bit strenuous, especially in hot weather. The massive hillock hosts couple of different levels with – the pillared structures, the lower Shivalayas and the upper Shivalayas. One is treated with  Chalukya architecture and the views are directly propositional to the effort one puts in to climb up :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100: 16 mm : f22 : 0.5 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

August 4, 2020

Aihole wrapped in a blanket of stars

Just an hour’s drive from Badami is Aihole – a historic site of ancient & medieval era with Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments. There are a variety of temples sprinkled all over this place. With so much variety, Aihole is indeed the cradle of temple architecture. The incredible work here dates from the sixth century through the twelfth century.

This week’s shot is from one such complex which hosts a collection of about 30 temples by the banks of river Malaprabha. The quarter moon was just enough to light the temple complex, while still allowing to enjoy the grandeur of the stars. The trip from earlier this Feb was not conducive to enjoy the Milky Way, but it helped to get an enticing composition around the north star with equally captivating temples in the foreground. How do you like it ?!

PS : This shot was made possible with ~200 shots over 45 mins and composited with the “Creative Effects” Photoshop script. You can download the same for free here :)

By the banks of Malaprabha
Aihole, Karnataka, India

March 2, 2020

Signs of Spring @ Badami

Though Badami is more famous for its cave temples, I liked the visit to the Shivalaya temple better. Situated on the hills on the northern shore of Lake Agasthya, it faces the cave temples on the southern shore. The trek up needs a bit of an effort, but the experience so much makes up for it. This particular early morning, the clouds did not play along for the dramatic sunrise we expected, but the twilight was serene.

The fresh spring leaves felt juxtaposed by the gnarled tree & the rugged landscape, but it indeed had a beauty of its own :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1.5 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

February 17, 2020

King of Pushkarnis

Pushkarni or kalyani – by themselves are a work of art. But this one by Hoysala Kings (in 1163 A.D) – is probably a milestone in the art of constructing Pushkarinis. The details in the work is amazing. This beautiful sacred pool of water is situated in a small village called Hulikere (Huli means tiger and kere refers to a pond), 5 Km from Halebeedu. Surrounded by lush greenery, the water can be reached via the descending stone steps. Locals say that the sanctums and sanctuaries of this pushkarini represent the 12 Zodiac & 27 stellar constellations.

This particular day, there was not much water in the pushkarni, but the golden morning sunlight flooded the place and made it even more magical.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/50 sec

Hulikere Kalyani
Hulikere, Hassan, India

March 19, 2019

Merku Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple

This shot is just part of the base 2 tiers of the 9 tier Merku Gopuram (west tower) of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. The temple complex spanning 14 acers – has 4 nine-storey gopurams (outer, raja), 1 seven-storey gopuram (Chittirai), 5 five-storey gopurams, 2 three-storey, and 2 one-storey gold-gilded sanctum towers. Each one compete and excel at being more intricate and detailed as the other.

Though there are references to Meenakshi Amman temple in literature going back to 6th century, these were restored back to its pristine glory in the 16th century, when King Thirumalai Naicker came back to power in Madurai. What awe-inspiring structures, with-standing the test of time. With such intricate work, would you believe this was conceived and constructed centuries ago ?!!!

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 76 mm : f8.0 : 1/125 sec

    Merku Gopuram, Meenakshi Amman Temple 
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
January 26, 2012

Shrine of Subramanya @ Tanjore

I generally do not tend to post photos from the same place in continuity. But the more I look at the shots from Tanjore big temple, the more I am amazed. Hence continuing from last week, I present – The Shrine of Sri Subramanya – located just behind the main temple within the same compound. This definitely needs to be viewed in large, to enjoy the intricate sculptures and pillars. If this tower standing at 55 feet can carry so much grandeur, imagine how inspiring the main vimana can be at 216 feet !!! Surprisingly, this shrine is not referred to in the early inscriptions, and probably not contemporaneous to the main temple. It is popularly believed to be of the Nayak period, giving it a date not earlier than 600 A.D. The flash lights that you see around the corner is directed towards the main tower. Need to plan another trip once the maintenance work on the main vimana is over, hopefully !

This was 30 second multiple exposure, manually blended to highlight the texture on the sculptures and walls. As with most protected monuments, tripods were not allowed. I generally try to use my camera bag, wallet etc. to improvise, but that day, was lucky to have had Gorilla pod. I set it up in a remote corner and happily let it shoot multiple long exposures, as I was chatting with the security. It definitely disguised as – just a camera stand, rather then a tripod – at least in this place, where Gorilla pod is not yet prevalent :)

Have u sneaked behind security to get your best shorts ;-) would love to hear ur experience ,  do share in below comments !!!

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Shrine of Subramanya
Tanjore, TamilNadu, India

January 19, 2012

Big Temple @ Tanjore, India

The Big Temple, as rightly said, was constructed by Raja Raja Chola nearly 1000 years back – to be precise in 1010 AD. This is also the world’s first complete granite temple and an brilliant example of the grandeur and the major heights achieved by Cholas in Tamil architecture. Also know by the names of Brihadeeswarar temple or Rajarajeswaram – this Shiva temple – still stands as the largest temple in India, with the main vimana towering to 216 feet.

This week shot is SOOC (Straight out of camera) of the main vimana / tower at the Brihadeeswarar temple. Even with all the wooden frame around the vimana for some maintenance work (yeah! such a bad timing for the visit), could feel the awe and grandeur of the architecture. The temple had been sculpted to detail in every nook and corner. It is so spacious  with the open dance floor, huge lawn and multiple sanctum. This shot gives a much closer view of one of the hundreds of pillars out there. Makes one wonder on the amount of passion, dedication and work that would gone behind these marvels. If you are planning for a trip to south India, this is a must have on the iternary !!!

    Brihadeeswarar Temple
Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India
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