Standing Nandi

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caption id=”attachment_661″ align=”alignnone” width=”1259″]Standing Nandi at Baijnath temple, Himachal Pradesh Standing Nandi at Baijnath temple, Himachal Pradesh[/caption]

Nandi, Shiva’s vaahana is invariably depicted in sitting posture in all South Indian Siva temples. e.g. see my blog on Lepakshi.

However, in the Baijnath Temple in the Kangra district of  Himachal Pradesh the Nandi is in standing posture. This temple is about 8 or 9 centuries old and houses a Swayambhu linga. It is situated on the banks of river Binwa with a breathtaking view of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.

Another curious feature was the image of man hanging from the Nandi’s tail. I searched the web to find the story behind this but could not find any lead.

Nandi's tail

Nandi’s tail

In this temple, you are required to leave outside all leather items, including bags, belts, etc. beside footwear.


Kaliya Mardanam

Kaliya mardanam

Kaliya mardanam

A golu doll on sale on the streets of Mylapore.

Krishna dancing on the heads of Kaliya – the venomous king who was poisoning the natural resources and inhabitants of Vrindavan.

Unique Ganapathy



This is neither a Narthana Ganapathi nor an Uchishta Ganapathy. Seems to be a combination of the two.

Can anyone clarify?

From Madambakkam Sri Dhenupureeswarar temple, near Tambaram.


Nalagiri – Jataka Tales

Taming of Nalagiri - Amravati Gallery

Taming of Nalagiri – Amravati Gallery

The subjugation of  Nalagiri

The Amravati Gallery in Government Museum, Egmore has several pieces of art from Amravati. Most of these are sculpted on a variety of marble like limestone.

One of the important sculpture here is a medallion depicting the scene if subjugation of the elephant Nalagiri.

The Nalagiri jataka goes something like this:

Buddha’s cousin Devadatta also joins the Sangha and becomes influential.  He also acquires some supernatural powers. However, he becomes jealous of Buddha and his popularity. He wins over some elements with his supernatural powers and tries in several ways to kill Buddha. He is unsuccessful in all attempts.

Finally, he persuades the royal elephant keepers to get the fierce elephant Nalapada (also known as Dhanapala) drunk with intoxicants and sent out to the marketplace where Buddha is expected.

Seeing the enraged pachyderm, people run helter-skelter. Even those watching from the balcony are worried.  In the melee, a woman drops her baby near Buddha’s feet. As Nalagiri is about to trample the baby and charge at Buddha, he does not lose his composure. Instead, he touches the forehead of the elephant and gently strokes it. Nalagiri not only becomes calm but seems to be completely subdued. It bows before the Buddha. Buddha delivers a sermon on dhamma to it.

The two-and-a-half foot diameter medallion from Amravati exhibited at the Madras Museum in Egmore clearly depicts the charging Nalagiri and the subdued Nalagiri. The crowd is terrified while Buddha and his disciple (Ananda?) are composed.     The details of the people in the balcony are also clearly visible. (View full size for better details)


Circa 200 C.E.


Madras Museum, Egmore

Excuse the poor quality of the photograph.


Monolithic Stone Chain

monolithic stone chain

monolithic stone chain

The 100-pillar mandapam at Varadaraja Swami Temple was built around the 15th century by the Vijayanagar rulers. It is well known for the intricate carvings on the pillars. A well-known feature is the monolithic chains hanging from the corners of the mandapa. These chains form an integral part of the roof and have 12 links and an ornate pendant all carved out of a single granite piece.  A masterpiece in stone craft and an architectural marvel.

Muthheeswara Temple

Thirukurippu Thonda Naynar at Muthheswara Temple Kanchipuram

Thirukurippu Thonda Naynar at Muthheswara Temple Kanchipuram

Muthheswara Temple (not to be confused with Muktheswara Temple) is located in the busy Gandhi road of Kanchipuram famous for the Saree shops.

This is the place where Thirukurippu thonda nayanar who is the 19th in the line of 63 naayanars got Mukthi. He was a Vannar (dhobi) by profession and was a staunch devotee of Shiva. He used to wash the clothes of devotees as a service to Shiva. He was also well known for soothsaying based on face reading. Hence he got the title thirukurippu thondar.

To test his devotion and give him an opportunity for early mukthi, Lord Shiva appeared here in the form of an old devotee with dirty clothes. As was his wont, Nayanar offered to wash the clothes for him. The devotee warned him that he would need the clothes by nightfall as it was his only protection for the night. Due to clouds and rains, Nayanar could not deliver the dry clothes on time and was very agitated. To atone this, he tried to bang his head against a stone. Miraculously a hand appeared and supported him. Shiva appeared and blessed him.

This story was narrated to us by the temple priest.

Though the temple is in the middle of the bazaar, it is fairly big but a bit cluttered with structures. Fortunately, it is clean and the temple tank had some water.