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Posts Tagged ‘Door Guardian’

Its not often we get a chance to visit offbeat sites and when our Tour guide Dhani mentioned about a Hindu temple in Batam, ‘ we ‘ pushed the shopping agenda to make way for the famed ” Naga” temple of Batam. Nestled amidst dense vegetation, the first glimpse was the typical Balinese Gopura. The structure immediately brought to mind Dr. Kudavoil Balasubramaniam’s book “Koyil Kalai Marabhu’ where he had illustrated these very structures - Hindu temple Gopura’s typically signify the ritual of passing through an entrance of fire, thereby purifying the soul - and that is what evolved to present day towering Gopuras - however, the vestigial links with the original concept are still seen strewn across Indonesia.

side+entrance

Just we passed through, we were pleasantly surprised to see a perfect modern temple to our side - Sri Tripurasundari temple, complete with a priest from Devakkottai. He did mention that he was still preparing for pooja and advised us to go visit the shrine farther away and comeback to see his !

A stiff 100 m walk and we were faced with a steep flight of steps ending in a magnificent entrance Gopura,

main+entance

The time period/dates of this structure are still unclear but my joy knew no bounds when we were greeted by a pair of superb doorguardians and an equally superlative lintel of Garuda.

Gopura
door guardian
door guardian 2
garuda+lintel

The door guardians seems to part of a larger arrangement while the Gopura and the lintel persay seemed more recent works.

As we entered the temple, we were greeted by a very ‘Indian’ Ganesha. You will understand why i mention so shortly.

ganesha+entrance

The next view blew us away. Such a towering sight , considering that we had already climbed a decent height - but this structure was massive and being hidden from view from the outside the effect was doubly strong.

central+shrine

We were certainly not expecting to see such a structure. There were two cute ‘local’ ganesha’s different yet complete with the attributes - the axe, the flower, the mothahagams and suvadis !

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shrine
ganesha
ganesha (2)

What was more unique is the depiction of the various ’snakes’ on the mount !

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reverse+snakeheads
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who

We couldn’t quite makeout the central theme and decided to go around to inspect more.

backside
claws+turtle+folds+snake
coils+snake
dhani

Seeing the massive curls of the snake coil around the structure, a realisation occurred that this could be the depiction of the churning of the Milk ocean for Amrit. The claws and the tail were a definite clincher. ( here is our Tour guide Mr Dhani - just to give you an idea of the scale !)

dhani

So when we moved to the front again they all began to fall in place.

sides
snake+turtle
two+main
two+tails

The Bottom dragon face was infact that of a turtle - of Vishnu balancing the mount as turtle Kurma! and the churning rope being the snake Vasuki ( the dragon head on top)!

Usually the focus would be the Devas adn the Asuras holding the two sides and churning, but they have been done away with totally, instead focussing our attention entirely on the main act !

What made the entire complex so wonderful was the design, of presenting it on a small cliff with this artificial mount. The interesting part was the depiction of Garuda at the back and also a swan / bird above him.

backside
claws+turtle+folds+snake
garuda
garuda+swan+ontop

The top has a Gold embossed dancing pose. It could be the classical Cambodian depiction of vishnu as seen in the famed Angkor panels

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dancing+figure

The Angkor panel for comparison

But without attributes it is very difficult to be sure and the locals call this a Sivan temple.

We finished the tour with a wonderful time at the temple nearby with the priest giving us a service straight from any temple in Tamil Nadu for his Aadhi Vinayagar and Tripurasundari

Dont miss the excellent services of Mr. Dhani Hariadi

PT. TITA PANORAMA INDAH TOURS & TRAVEL

Komplek TanjungPantun Blok P No. 4 Batam Island 29453, Indonesia.
Phone:+62 (778) 3306999
Fax: +62 (778) 456 797
Mobile Number: (+62) 81372788887

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Its the season for contest and ….Got talent shows. These shows are filled with lots of talent and lots more glitz where the participants are pitched against one another and in a sequence of exponentially increasing odds they perform mind blowing feats to arrive at the prized price. Today we are going to see a similar contest but among sculptors - in stone. The stage is the famed Nellaiappar Temple of Tirunelveli. For the record, Me and Arvind went in without much expectations hoping to be outside in time for the famed Iruttukadai shop to open !

nellaiappar+sanctum

The raised platform with a distinctly post 15th C doorguardians ( I know I know - the nucleus of the temple is dated to 7th C CE..but) didn’t evoke much of a response, initially at least.

doorguardian

For as we went around to the steps, the sight blew us away.

doorguardian+left
monolith

The entire block is carved out of a monolithic stone, with the doorguardian in front and an extremely complex array of pillars of differing thickness in the back, and that was not all. Row after row of astounding pillars lined up as if for inspection in a guard of honor.

row+pillars

To top it, these were the famed musical pillars !! each producing a distinct note ( that they have survived so long with every visitor trying to show their musical prowess on them itself is worth an applause ) , but the sheer labour that went into these stumped us.

massive

When we say massive, we mean it. Not convinced, take a look.

size

and by massive, it doesn’t just mean gargantuan size alone. Take a look at the art on display !

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design
different+shapes
pillar+cluster

This is not some trick sculpting, if you do not believe that its all carved out of a single block of stone. Take another look. The grain of the stone runs right through the different pillars.

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stone+grain

There were a few more pillar clusters which seemed a bit easier on the chest and breathing ( with all the wows and ooh and aahs)

simple

.

mind+boggling

But, as in an expert rendition of carnatic music, we did not realise that the sculptor had lulled us into a false sense of mediocrity, to think that this was ordinary compared to the rest - but then, he had one or two more tricks to show us.

Watch closely towards the base. do you spot it?

something

Yes, when he was busy reducing the rock, he had left enough material to carve a ball inside the pillar, so designed that it cannot roll out ( also means it was not introduced later !!)

stone+ball

Well, i said a trick or two !! test your spotting skills

mind+boggling

Did you spot it?

designer+pillar
designer+pillar+notice

Yes, hewing a composite multiple fluted pillar that would emanate different musical notes while shaping a solid stone ball was not challenging enough for him - he sculpted a stone squirrel as well on the inside of one of the pillars.

stone+squirrel

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