Jyotir Lingum Yatra

A travel log for my journey to 10 Jyotir Lingums throughout south and central India, November-December 2002 with my yoga group, Dhyanyoga Centers.

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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.

I took a second look at them recently, and realized that even if they could not convey how truly impressed I was with this famous place, I should still share them.

These caves were home to a string of temples where Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists co-existed harmoniously.

The group's tour guide walked us to the far end of the complex and we worked our way back. I had a tendency to lag behind with my camera, which kind of annoyed the tour guides, I think. *shrugs*

This is the main structure, an ornate temple carved into the side of this hill, probably about three stories tall, at least. Look toward the lower left hand corner to see the people and get an idea of scale. Imagine walking up the hill itself and around the back of the temple and looking down on it, which is what some of us did. My only issue was the guys following us to hawk tour books, when I needed to watch my footing!

Another picture of the temple, from a closer perspective, as we were hiking up the hill.

A detail of the temple carvings.

Guardians on a lotus on top of the main temple chamber.

The complexity of the structure is still breathtaking to me even now, based only on pictures and memories.

A detailed carving from inside the temple complex at ground level. The delicate quality of this ancient sculpture remains apparent even today.

Celestial beings flying above us are a universal archetype.

Unusual columns

Wall of dieties

Fancy Dress

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?

Notice the variety of garments, from traditional costumes to modern girls' dresses.

Young boys can be as handsome and photogentic as the girls.

Big sister

I know I have said this before, but I would have enjoyed spending a few more days at the ashram in Nikora. The people and the facilities were so very nice.

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.

While it certainly was not deserted, this temple was much less intense than what we had gotten used to.

In this style of temple structure, the deities are viewed from a little distance. The priest presents the offerings directly.

Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu, is seen in the middle, with his brother Lakshman to the left and his wife Sita to the right.

Stalls that offer religious pictures to devotees are very popular, especially near the temples.

A typical market scene. There I am taking pictures of the motorcycles again!