Jyotir Lingum Yatra
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Why I am a Hindu
Thursday, June 26, 2003
The Ellora Caves
These were some of the first pictures I had developed upon returning from India last December. I remember wrinkling my nose at them, because I did not think that they adequately captured the carved magnificence and structural awesomeness of the ancient Ellora temples.
Having visitors from a foreign land was enough of an excluse for some of these little ladies to put on their fancy outfits. How could I resist taking a picture?
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Ram Sweet Ram
All the Jyotir Lingum temples we visited were bustling with activity. Perhaps that's what makes the memory of the simpleness and sweetness of this Lord Ram temple so pleasant.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
The Return of Saturn, again and again
If you're at all into astrology, you'll know that Saturn, also known as Shani in Indian astrology, has a profound effect in our lives. If you're into astronomy, you'll know that it takes may Earth years for Saturn to orbit once around the Sun. Consequently, Saturn is also refered to as the "slow-moving" one.
Lydia had a little lamb...well it's a goat, really
It's been several months since I posted new pictures, due to my scanner acting up, other projects, etc. etc. I know what excuses are like. In any case, I wanted to pick up the pace with something fun. I cannot remember exactly where we were in our trip, other than it was near Aurangabad, but I do recall that the group had stopped along the road at a chai stall (chai is sweet tea made with lot of milk...a nice caffeine kick in the pants to get you through until dinner).
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Temple of Harsiddhi
Last time I promised you a tour of a temple dedicated to the Goddess, especially in the midst of all these ultra-masculine Shiva Lingums. This particular temple to the Divine Mother will probably always stay with me. Keep scrolling down, and maybe you'll get an idea why.
Although a small structure, this temple is filled with the Goddess in more ways than one!
This photo is so very valuable to me, because in it I can read all the fascinating historial particulars of Harsiddhi.
Behind the lion are the columns mentioned in the above description and the tank dating back to 1447.
This is the Shree Yantra mentioned in the plaque inscription. It is a geometric representation of the play of the Divine Mother or her Leela. It is in the center of the ceiling.
Harsiddhi glazes out sweetly. Hers is the orange face in the middle. This is a glipse into the temple's inner sanctum.
Painted images of the Goddess's myriade forms encircle the inner dome of the temple.
Garlands of fresh flowers are strung throughout the temple.
The form in the center of this photo looks rather Egyptian
The Goddess is often depicted mounted on grand beasts like lions, tigers, and elephants.
I hope you enjoyed the color and magic of the Harsiddhi Temple.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Darshan, loosely translated, means "to see." But darshan in a Hindu temple is a two-way street: not only are you getting to see God, but God is getting to see you too!
In the West we typically relate to the Divine in our own physical image, especially through a God/Man, like Jesus Christ or the Heavenly Father. While in the East, God is also worshiped commonly in both male and female human forms, God is also venerated in other shapes, such as the Shiva Linga. Lingums are typically an oval-shaped form of the Universe, the Cosmic Egg, so to speak, which represents the Totality of the Divine.
Whether the devotee prefers to relate to God in a human form, a lingum, or even the formless are considered all equally valid approaches in Hinduism, and much Eastern thought, in general.
So with that brief explanation, allow me to take you inside the Jyotir Lingum temple at Mamaleshwar.
It is customary to ring the bells outside a temple entrance. Although I had not thought about it until now, it's kind of like God's doorbells, to let Him know you're coming inside.
The Shiva Lingum itself is that black stone in the middle of the copper platform. You'll notice the offering of bilva leaves, flowers, and some coconuts.
A copper pot of water is suspended above the lingum so that a drip of water is constantly offered.
The inner sanctum was a rather small space, and people had to split up in groups of about 7-10 to fit inside.
If you have any questions about these pictures, or anything else about my trip photos, please feel free to email me and I will answer your questions to the best of my understanding.
Next time I will take you inside a temple dedicated to the Divine Mother, to show you the contrast.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
The Twin Lingum Temples
Omkareshwar and Mamaleshwar are two parts of one Jyotir Lingum as I understand it. Mamaleshwar is on the mainland, and accessible year-round, even when the Omkareshwar island, home of the other half of the lingum, cannot be reached due to the flooding of the Narmada River.
Our group spent most of our time at this sacred place on the mainland side, since the Mamaleshwar temple could accommodate 3 dozen people. It was a rare opportunity for me to take a lot of photographs of the temple structure and its wonderful details, since time was required inside the temple for the individual pujas.
Childhood, married life, date with the hereafter...you get the idea.
Goddess forms that were venerated at some time, as indicated by the red and orange stains from kum kum and sandalwood powders.
A beautiful engaged sculpture of Lord Shiva vanquishing demons. Notice his mount, Nandi the bull, in the lower left hand corner of the picture.
More sculputral details of Nandi-esque bull's heads.
Nandi, Lord Shiva's vehicle, waits attentively at the door of this temple.
The gate entrance side of the temple must get the earliest morning light since it was in shades the entire time our group was there.
I believe I gave this temple Baba a few rupees. He gave me a nice picture in return!
From certain angles, this temple was very photographically dramatic.
This portion of the temple complex is not currently used for worship, but it remains a magnificent structure. Outside, I see a lion sculpture on the left, the vehicle of the Divine Mother Durga, and Nandi on the right, I can make the educated guess that both male and female aspects of the Divine were venerated here.
These are shrines for individual dieties, but I am not certain whether they are currently in regular use.
The Omkareshwar temple is the white structure in the middle of this picture.
I love this picture of the Omkareshwar shoreline on the other side of the Narmada River.
The group got into several boats and crossed over to the Omkareshwar island to see the other half of the Jyotir Lingum. The inner sanctum there was so tiny that only a small handful of people could squeeze their way in for a brief darshan. (Darshan means "to see and be seen" loosely speaking.)
You can see the boat landing in the lower right hand corner of this picture.
Another view of the Narmada from the mainland shore.
In the midst of the Narmada...
I think next time I post pictures, it will be your turn for darshan inside Mamaleshwar.