Eka Paada Murthy in Madurai

Rishabaarooda murthy (L) and Eka Pad Murthy (R)Rishabaarooda murthy (L) and Eka Pad Murthy (R)

Rishabaarooda murthy (L) and Eka Pad Murthy (R)

I had posted about the Tirpada Trimuthy, a form of Eka pada murthy of Thiruvottiyur Temple sometime ago.

Going through my archives, I found another image of Eka pada murthy – from the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple pillars. This is simple eka paada without elements of Brahma and Vishnu.

The image is next to the Rishabharooda Murthy

Dvarapalakas of Talekadu

Dvarapalakas literally mean ‘Guardians at the Gate’ . Most Hindu temples have the images of dvarapalakas at the entrance. They have a lot of common features, but there are some special features based on the presiding deity, the local practices and the Agamas. For example, the dvarapalakas in a Shiva temple will usually have trishul, damru, gada, etc.

These dwarapalkas in Vydeeswara Temple, Talakadu have the usual features and in addition, they have torsos shaped like a Nandi. This is unique and I have not seen this anywhere else.

The Vydheeswara Temple is located in Talekadu (or Talekad) in Karnatake. It is beleived to have been built by the Ganga Dynasty in the 10th Century.

There is also a story of the Curse of Talekadu. More about it later.

Rare Ganapathi

Shree Shiva Shakthi Vinayagar at Sivapraksham St.

On the Shree Shiva Shakthi Vinayagar koil gopuram at Sivapraksham St.

I had shared my album of post budget Pondy Bazaar with the IIMA- Chennai group. One of the alumni Mr Srikant pointed out that this Pillayar has a Shanku and Chakram, normally associated with Vishnu. Only after his response, I noticed this uniqueness.

I have no idea about how Pillayar came to have the Sangu and chakram, but I am aware that the masons and sculptors of gopurams take liberties with the terracotta or stucco figures that go on the gopuram, often deviating from the accepted norms of iconography.  If anybody has any other explanation, please do share it with the readers of this blog.

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.

Jwara hareswara Temple, Kanchipuram

 

Jwarahareswarar temple Kanchi

Jwarahareswarar temple Kanchi

This small but important temple is located right on the main road leading from Ekambareswarar temple. Though it is centrally located it is easy to miss this unless one looks out for this as the facade is simple. Once you enter you will be struck by the beauty of the structure and the serenity of the surroundings.

This is a Chola period temple and is currently maintained by the ASI.

 

Ashta dikpaalas of Raja Rani Temple Bhubaneswar

The Rajarani temple (11th -12th C.C.E) of Bhubaneswar is one of the Kalinga temples well known for exquisite sculptures.

Like many other temples, this temple too has representation of the ashta dikpalas

Ashtadikpalas are the guardians of the 8 directions in Hinduism.

I have captured in my camera  5 or 6 of the dikpalas depicted in Rajarani temple during a recent visit. I missed the others due to the paucity of time and due to my failure to do some homework. (Or maybe I was overwhelmed by the beauty and grace of the sculpted female figures!)

Lord Yama with his Danda and noose on a buffalo

Lord Yama with his Danda and noose on a buffalo on the South

The four cardinal directions E, W, N, & S are ruled by Indra, Varuna, Kubera & Yama respectively. The ordinal (Intermediate) directions SE, SW, NE, & NW are guarded by Agni, Nirurti, Isana & Vayu respectively.

Varuna, Lord of the West, water and rain with a noose and crocodile

Varuna, Lord of the West, water, and rain with a noose and crocodile

Vayu rule the North West with an Ankush [prod]

Vayu rules the North West with an Ankush [prod]

Agni on a ram SE (the bearded figure on the bottom right)

Agni on a ram SE (the bearded figure on the bottom right)

Kubera, the Lord of wealth guards the North

Kubera, the Lord of wealth guards the North

Nirrti on the South West?

Nirrti on the South West?

Sometimes, these 8  are supplemented by 2 more directions – Urdhwa (Zenith) and Adho (Nadir) assigned to Brahma and Vishnu.

This concept of Dikpalas is applied in Vaastu Shastra, in temple and house architecture and also in town planning and layout.

Similar concepts also appear in Chinese and Buddhist philosophies. Not surprisingly it is also evident in countries like, Java, Bali, Cambodia etc which have Hindu influences.

Srikalahasti at Lepakshi

Srikalahasti

Besides the Nagalingam, there is a rock on which the three devotees of Shiva  are seen to be offering prayers.  A spider (Sri), a snake (kala) and an elephant (hasti) are making offering to a lingam. 

Ganesha shrine adjoining Srikalahasti 

Lepakshi Nandi

Lepakshi  Nandi

The nandi is situated about 200 meters from the main temple. The sixth praakaram originally  extended upto the nandi. Now streets and town houses (and an APTDC guest house) intervene. 

The Granite nandi  measuring 8 M length and 6 M high is considered to be the largest Nandi in the world. The one in Thanjavur is second.  Even among monoliths, it stands on top, second only to Gomateswara. I did a rough calculation of the mass of the bull. At 8x5x 2.5 (aprox) it should weigh at least 250 tonnes considering density of granite to be 2.5 T/ Cu.M

The crouching bull is facing the Naga linga at the temple and strikes a very natural and elegant pose. The garlands, kaasu malai and mani malai are remarkable for their exquisite finish. 

Lepakshi Temple.


Lepaskhi  is situated about 135 Kms North of Bangalore, in the District of Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. It is an ideal one-day outing for those interested in history, heritage and archaeology in addition to the spiritually inclined.

The small town is famous for the Veerabhadra swamy temple and the monolithic Nandi.
The earliest inscription about the temple dates to 1533 C.E. Folklore takes it to the Treta Yuga when Lord Rama visited this site. It is here that Jatayu attained moksha . The name Lepakshi is said to be derived from ‘Laya Pakshi’ (unconscious bird). Another version attributes the etymology to ‘Le Pakshi’, meaning ‘Arise, Bird’ uttered by Rama.  There are also a Ramalingam and a Hanuman Lingam installed by Rama and Anjaneya respectively.

The entire temple complex is built on a monolithic convex rock shaped like a tortoise.- Kurma Saila. The original temple had seven enclosures, but only two survive now. The rest are encroached by residents and part of the town. The Nandi was originally in the sixth praakaram.

Some of the attractions here are the Nandi, The balancing pillar, the murals on the ceiling, kalyana mandapam, Ganesha, Sri Kalahasti, Sita’s paadam, Naga Lingam, Bhikshatanar, Mohini, etc. I shall try to showcase some of these in these blogs, in installments.