Monday, June 28, 2010

Keshava Temple, Somnathpur

Remember my post on Belur and Halebid? Yeah?? This is one such post again.

The Keshava temple of Somnathpur is the last and the grandest of the Hoysala monuments. Somnathpur is about 140 kms from Bangalore, yes!! just 140 kms from Bangalore and you go centuries behind in history when all you can experience is grandeur and eternity.

The temple is hidden in a tiny agricultural village of Somnathpur on the banks of the river Cauvery, was founded by Hoysala's army commander Somath and he named the village after himself. It was he who petitioned the King to grant resources and permission to start the project. The Hoysalas had already completed 260 years of rule and their riches and pompus were already evident in their splendid temples at Belur and Halebid.

The temple at Somnathpur was built in 1268 AD, 740 years ago. The intricate carvings, the opulence, the engineering marvel are just breath-taking. It would make anyone from the present generation feel so waste and talentless, really I mean it!! We boast of so many things, but just visit these temples once, and you would feel so small!!

The temple is stellar in shape, just like the other Hoysala temples. This temple is better preserved than those at Belur and Halebid. It has three shrines of 3 Gods - Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. The temple is not used as a place of worship anymore due to the fact that all the idols have been damaged by invaders. First it was Malik Kafur and then Mohammed Tugluq's army. The temple was ransacked, looted and destroyed.

 The entire breadth of the temple is adorned by plaques of Gods, Goddesses, Animals, celestial beauties, scenes of marriage processions, war, erotic poses..... These stone slabs are meticulously arranged; each slab interlocks with the other, no concrete or cement to hold them together :-) Marvelous is it not? But each and every portion of the temple is vandalized by the invaders, if its not the nose thats broken, then its the toe or the ear :-(

Out of the 3 idols in the 3 sanctum sanctorums, the idol of Janardhana and Venugopala is damaged and this second idol has been re-installed after being removed. But the idol of Keshava, the main God; is missing.

OK!! No more history, here are few pictures. Click to enlarge the picture to appreciate its intricacies :-)

One portion of the vimana, in which lies the sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity.  Also seen is the outlet from the main shrine.

The intricate carvings on a facade

A portion showing the stellar shape of the temple.

Seen from a different angle.

The celestial beauties and the lions. The Lion is the symbol of Hoysalas. Observe them carefully, each of their faces are damaged.

The swan, the varaha, carts being pulled for marriage procession and war.

Vishnu sitting on Sesha

The Brahma, triple headed. His face is vandalized. He holds among other things; a vase which contains amrit, the nectar of immortality

Indra riding on the elephant - Airavatha along with his consort Sachi. The elephant is depicted as if its running, its tail raised. Indra is holding the vajra - thunderbolt in his right hand

Vishnu and Lakshmi. Lakshmi rests her feet on a Lotus which is bent due to her weight but the elephant is supporting the Lotus

One of the many adorned ceilings, which depicts the various stages of the Lotus bud blooming. The outer two circles has design similar to horse shoe. The outermost ones depict some definite number(I forgot the number) of musicians playing different instruments.

Another one such ceiling showing a little more grown; about to bloom Lotus

The Venugopala. It may seem that the idol is intact and not vandalized. But observe the flute. Its broken :-(

One care write pages and pages describing the elegance and greatness of the architecture. I have so many other pictures to share along with its stories. I want to talk more about the artisans who created this masterpiece. But I would stop right here. This is just a glimpse of the vast wealth our ancestors have left for us.

To read about Belur and Halebid and see some pictures, check out my post - The Temples of Belur and Halebid

Click on Hoysala Architecture to know more about their building style.

To know more about the art and archeology of Somnathpur, click here - Somnathpur Temple

Friday, June 25, 2010

Raavan v/s Raavanan

Yet again, movie review of Raavan by an amateur? Panic not!! I am not going to review. I am just going to compare and share what I felt.

Everyone has been talking about the Hindi version, how "Mani sir" disappointed everyone, how ARR is losing his charm and all that. The overwhelming cynicism about the movie and the advices that galore from across all corners is just unbelievable!!  Watched both the versions - Hindi and Tamil. Read few reviews, few were biased, few were against the theme of the movie. Few went ga-ga over the cinematography.

Is the movie perfect? No. Should it be perfect? No!! The theme and the story is known to all. Its the way that has been presented, the director's interpretation of the Ramayana. We audience have the right to judge, dissect and criticize anything that comes our way!! Are we the right people to judge? What are we judging? Our perceptions and our expectations, in the name of judging an art.

The negatives first.

It did sure let down, why not? Coming from a director of such a caliber who has taken the Indian cinema to a different level.  The dialogues are a bit let down, especially in the Tamil version. His long time associate Sujata who is an excellent scriptwriter and who has authored several stories is no more and this is definitely a caveat. Next the dialogue delivery of Vikram in the Hindi version where he plays the role of Dev. A person who does not know or understand Hindi has attempted to dub for his own dialogues is commendable. There are few places where his accent influenced by Tamil is quite obvious. But he could be pardoned.

There have been few scenes where one feels Vikram has not acted well. Quite understanding as he was donning the role of Dev in Hindi and that of Veera in Tamil; simultaneously. He had to constantly switch between both the roles and it was obvious that he would not be able to give his complete to one of the roles. At times, he seems lost in the Hindi version. Another area where the North Indian audience would disapprove Vikram is his quite voluptuous body frame. He had to have that body to play a rural and rustic guy from the interiors of Southern part of Tamil Nadu. That is how guys are from those parts of Tamil Nadu.

Does not mean he could be written off. Just watch him portray a rural character or a sophisticated uber modern guy with an accent with elan in many of his movies. A National Award winner after all!

The positives:

Abhishek Bachchan has done his job well. He has delivered what he was expected to, but nothing more. He does irritate with this bak-bak few times.His dialogue delivery with a rustic accent seemed authentic.Talking about the Tamil version, Vikram, has played the role of Raavanan. He has done it with ease. He fits the role of Raavanan in Tamil than Dev in Hindi. His body language, expressions are a lot improvised and he does better job of playing a Raavanan than Abhishek. Aishwarya had the toughest job, not in terms of acting but in terms of physical activities. Keeping in mind that she had to repeat every scene twice! Strenous and draining! She has dubbed for Tamil as well for the first time and its commendable. She is inadequate in her acting though.

The role of Dev in Tamil is played by Prithvi Raj. Rightly done, neither too less, nor more. Tamil Dev is much more smart and police-like than Hindi Dev.

The locales are breath-taking, the camera work is out of the world. Its no easy to make two movies simultaneously with such extravaganza and difficult production schedule. Its not easy task to switch between two different languages coupled with the idea of authenticity. Its no easy task to deliver two movies with the same story line but with characters etched to fall in the respective local flavor. Few scenes are etched like poetry especially the scene where Aishwarya falls off the cliff.

ARR's BGM is a welcome one from the usual ones. Its a bit quirky but welcome.

Mani Ratnam has etched the story beautifully with his interpretations. It does seem that the movie lacks strong dialogues or has a weak plot. But this does not mean there is no story. He should be appreecaited for attempting something bold, by creating strong characters out of the ordinary.

The movie has its great visual moments, exotic locale, excellent cinematography. Its not a great movie, but at the same time, its not as mediocre as people claim it to be. There are moments of sheer brilliance and moments of disappointments as well, like the high tide and the low tide. It may not be the best movie or a perfect movie but its definitely way better than most movies that are churned out.

I thought the Tamil version was better than the Hindi version for 2 reasons. No irritating Veera/Beera and no sloppy out of place Dev.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I went on a trip yesterday visiting a couple of tourist spots just 120 kms away from Bangalore(Lot of photos to share!!!). Experienced something that I have always wanted to.

Traveling in a tonga :-) How funny we are, aren't we? When you have luxury, you want to go back to basics!! Well, at least with me, I have wanted to travel in a horse drawn carriage since I was a child. Spoilt after seeing the Mahabharat where elaborate and extravagant horse drawn carriages transported the prince and kings and those mushy romantic songs where the boy and girl ride a carriage pulled by milky white horses....

Well, so parked our car at the bus stand and took a tonga to roam around the town of Srirangapatna(capital of Mysore under Tipu Sultan. More about this later), which is not more than 100 kms away from Bangalore.

It seemed we traveled behind in time. The decorated lonely horse's name was Sultan. He had a brightly colored rich plummet over his head, noose around him and raring to go. The owner of the cart and the horse was a shabby looking guy who was talkative and full of energy. Aww!! I forgot to ask his name. He would have been mad at me I guess for having promptly asked the horse's name but not his. Oh!! But what would I do? I am partial towards animals and they are more important to me.

Alright, Sultan was pulling a neat tonga. He was smart and handsome. Obeyed his master and never threw any tantrums. And how he galloped across the rhythm. A high-pitched "Hye!!!" meant run, a lower pitched "Ahhheeyyy" meant stop. Brushing the stick against the wheel of the tonga meant run faster. And the way he braked, pull both his fore limbs and balance with his hind limbs and brake!!

His master and Sultan had an unexplainable bonding. They made good company to each other. They never spoke to each other, but there would be no one else who could understand each other any better. Both were at peace with whatever little each had.

This mode of transport is long forgotten and ignored. I did feel sad with the thought that Sultan was being burdened. But that is what he is supposed to do!. And I know he did not complain. That was Sultan!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Whackiest and Weirdest

This was not the idea of my next post, definitely not!! Especially after the ever so lovely words on Rains.

Out of the blue, I just got reminded of these following lines while watching the soccer match between Mexico and France.

Mere daddu pehne diaper
Chasme par unke wiper
Daddy ki, tooti haddi
Jab khele woh kabaddi.....

Now don't ask me what made me recall these lines while watching a soccer match!! Nothing related happened, but its not simply told Our Mind is a Monkey!!

So the monkey mind got reminded of the lines and put it up on Facebook. Me and Neha started a fierce exchange of such funny and wacky songs from our beloved Hindi cinema.

Hindi cinema, our constant and never ending source of entertainment,  has innumerable songs with such weird lyrics. Sample this - Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tera rahunga oh meri shaalu.

Few days back I saw on TV, samosa being made with beetroot filling. Ab Shalu ka kya hoga???? Bechaari!!

And this - main laila laila chillaunga, kurta phad ke.........Poor thing Laila!! She has to put up with a mad man,

Govinda's songs are as unforgetable as his flashy outfits.

Teri naani mari tho mein kya karun......

Meri pant bhi sexy...meri shirt bhi sexy....Now how can Mr.Govinda assume his attires are sexy???

Meri marzi...mein chahe yeh karun, mein chahe woh karun.....Phew!!!! OK Your marzi but spare us!!

Kisi disco mein jaaye.....kisi hotel mein khaye....Haaayeeeee dayya!!!!

What is mobile number? What is your smile number?? - Ab mera number kab aayega???

Maine paidal se ja raha tha unhe cycle se aa rahi thi...kiya ting ting ka ishare mujhe badnam kiya na.........well....I dont have anything to say here.

sarkaile o takia jaada lage  - NO COMMENTS

There are couple of Sallu Bhai's songs as well...

Unchi hai building, lift teri bandh hai..............What????

Jungle hai aadhi raat hai, lagne laga hai darr................Don't you folks think that the CHINKARAS should have sung this?

And this classic one - Amma dekh ...aa dekh..tera munda bhigda jaaye.... Amma kya karti??
Recent ones that has got my mind trying to break the code a la Da Vinci are these two

Dil Dance Maare..Dance Maare Dil Yeh Daance Maare.....Can someone tell me how Dil Dance Marega??

And this one - I wanna chiggy wiggy with you boy....What is chiggy wiggy??? and how do you chiggy wiggy with your boy?

:-S Am I the only one having these doubts??

My personal worst - Aao sikhao tumhe ande ka funda....yeh nahi pyaare koi mamooli bandaa

Total monkey-tainment isn't it?? :-P

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Its raining!! Its raining!! The weather is sexy since the past week and I cant help but sing and jump with joy!!

Bangalore is cozy at 21 Celsius. Nah!! not the usual hot pakoras or chai!!

The real fun is

- To wear stark white pants and walk in the slush and challenge yourself how white the pants are by the time you reach home

- To enjoy yummylicious ice cream while walking in the light drizzle.

- To walk getting wet when its pouring and everyone running away looking for cover while giving you an awkward stare that you have gone insane.

- To sway the branches and the leaves and feel the chill water drops on your face

- When the rain stops, hear the birds chirp and the cuckoo sing, the squirrel scampering :-)

The earth, barren and wretched
The grass, yellow and dry
Waiting to forget the pain
Waiting to feel the drops of rain
The first drops fall, they start to cry
Tears, dripping from the leaves
Tears, running down from the mountains
The dark rain clouds, start to crumble
The lighting thunder, start to gleam
The heaven opens, the tears roll down
Is God crying? So that we can smile?
See the rain coming down
Rain touching my face
Smell the fresh wet soil
Feel the damp grass now lush
Dancing across the fields
Bringing joys to life
Tapping against the window panes
Pitter-patter on the roof tops
Come dance in the rain
Slosh the puddles
sway the greens
Feel no sorrow, feel no pain
Feel complete in the rain.
Soothing the soul
Caressing the heart
Inviting the spirit
To feel peace and rest.

One of my favorite picture during rains :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tick Tock

Have you looked at your charming alarm clock decorating your study table?

Oh!! Don't you have them anymore? Can understand, obvious, your cell phone is a multipurpose device with alarms, wake-ups, reminders et all. Or even if you had them, its the digital one which quietly counts the seconds, minutes and hours in Arabic numerals, easy to read and operate and wakes you up with a music or radio. You could also snooze them so that it wakes you up after a while.

But the wind-up spring driven ones have their own charm. Do you remember having seen them at your grandpa's bed side? No music, no radio, no funky wake-up tones, but a shrill jarring noise to wake you up with a shock. Well, that's the job of an alarm clock.

ALARM is the state of fear or anxiety and it comes from Italian all arme - all arm - a call to arms. This simple instrument just does that, shrieks and yells to wake us up :-) Just as nature does. Nature makes wide use of alarm signals - dog barks, monkey jabbers, bird shrieks......When were they pleasing to the ears? Alarm clocks just do that :-)

They have been around for decades, they neither need a battery nor electric power. They don't blackout nor do they lose energy. Its a charm to see the arms go round and round and the clock going tick tock tick tock all day long is soothing. When the world rests, when the birds and the animals sleep, the constant tick tock soothes you.

Found one at mum's today. Have been asking her to preserve it for me. The glass is broken, the button worn out, the keys rusted.....yet it fascinates, unperturbed by the times gone by, having been a silent witness to the changes. Having been around even before we were born, seen us grow, go to school, and then college.....It goes tick-tock....tick-tock.....tick-tock....without a glitch.

And when you have to wake up, its there at your service; lively and timely; monotonous, discordant yet somewhat welcoming wake-up call :-)

Here's my treasure.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The waves glisten
under the morning sun
Beads of perspiration sparkle
Competing with the waves.

of the warm sun
of the striking waves
of the smooth sand.

to the rhythm of the ocean
to the sway of palms
to the melody of the breeze.

Singing in chorus
Against the rhythm
Hands working together
All eyes on the treasure.

To grab the prize
Come what may.

PS : This picture was captured by Naidu sir. He wanted me to describe the scene and what I thought about it. Thanks a lot sir for sharing this picture with me and wanting to know my expressions. Truly amazing, captures the essence of life. I dedicate this to you and Gautam :-) 

PPS: Gautam, I know you read my posts even with your hectic schedule. I miss you. :-) Take care and God bless.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Of Calories and Weights

Note : Had written this as a guest post for one of my blogger friend. Thought why not share with readers here :-)

How many of you have been elated reading your weight and satisfied with your kgs? Raise your hands....No cheating!! Be honest. 

Not many eh? Is it not each one's secret desire to lose weight? I guess the most hated machinery in this world would be the poor little weighing machine.It is a technological marvel. Why not? That poor little machine can earn the wrath of so many people, it could witness jubilation or it could get cursed. Now which other machine has this privilege?

Almost everyone has that intense desire to shed some flab, lose weight. What with the fashion world claiming size zero is the in-thing!! But there's a slim chance, or should I say a FAT chance that most of us would reach the desire body weight!! But hey!! what is the harm in trying?

Talking about the emotions that arises, you could see all types and forms of expressions. There's some qualm always before stepping onto the weighing machine. Nervous, you close your eyes with hope and silently pray that the needle points to the number you want it to. And then you reluctantly look down to read the scale, first there is denial!! How can it be!! Then despair, anger and frustration. And abuses and curses to the weighing machine first.

You question its precision and genuineness and then realization pours in. You then start cursing the devil in you which taunted you to gorge on those cheesy snacks and those chocolate cakes. All the while, the poor weighing machine earnestly looks for some appreciation for being honest. But what it gets is a stare!!

And most times, we believe that the machine is not right, so we tend to calibrate it manually by slightly adjusting ourselves until the needle reads to what we desire. And very rare is the jubilation and excitement of having achieved what we wanted. Oh yeah!! its short lived though. Weight is like a boomerang, it always comes back to you!!

Sometimes the machine adds few kilos as a compliment and sometimes it gives you discount. Discount is what is preferred here. I recently came across a joke where the lady in question removes everything from her shoes until she is almost nude to get her weight right. You see; the shoes, the dress are all 'accessories' which hinders you from getting your correct reading.

Few of my friends step onto the weighing machine and protect the secret magic number so much so that you feel that the number is a secret code to an enormous amount of wealth. Few people believe that weight changes with season, so they tend to weigh themselves in their favorable season. Few others believe counting your calorie intake might keep check on your weight. Fine!! but if it is only yours its fine; but why others' as well for heaven's sake; even if they didn't want to?

This is what happened at a recent birthday celebration of two of my team members. One of them had lost 26 kilos by hook or by crook. There were cakes cut and this man instead of gorging on his cake, kept commenting about how much calorie would each piece of cake have. It was really disturbing, couldn't gorge on those cakes.But the sin factor was short lived, we later ignored and started committing the sin :-P

None giving a thought about the weights or the calories :-)