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Kedareshwara temple, Halebidu

Kedareshwara temple in Halebidu is about 400 mts away from the famous Hoysaleshwara temple.This is not as famous as Chennakeshava temple or Hoysaleshwara but the architecture and interior of the temple are quite impressive.  The quiet, peaceful aura and the area around the main shrine of Lord Shiva has such calming effect that I could have spent my entire day there.

Kedareshwara…Om namah Shivay

Like Hoysaleshwara and Chennakeshava Kedareshwara too is built on a high rise platform. The temple is star shaped. From base to upwards the exterior temple walls comprise of eight tiers. The first tier from base has elephants, second cavalory forces, third is adorned with intricately carved creepers and flowers, fourth has Hoysala emblum, fifth again has flowers, sixth displays various stories and episodes from Ramayana, mahabharata and Geeta, seventh has makara lined up and the eighth one displays elegant swans.

The tiers on exterior wall

With an east facing entrance Kedareshwara is a trikuta temple,i.e. temple having three shrines. There are four star shaped pillars on either side of the way leading to Navaranga Mandapam and then four bell shaped pillars at Navaranga. As is with most of the temples of Hoysala period the ceiling of navaranga too is well decorated.

The pillars
intricately carved ceiling.
A closure view of another portion of ceiling. does it not look like a lotus flower

The main deity in garbhagrah is Shivalinga. The area just outside garbhgraha is the most unique feature of this temple. Ceiling over this area has such structure that natural light enters inside. At the hour we were there in the semi darkness of the hall the light pouring down from above was as if establishing a connection with the Brahmand.The impact was simply beyond words.

Above the eight tiers the exterior walls of temple are adorned with ornate images of various Hindu deities, apsaras and certain images throwing light on social life of that period. The intricacy and detailing in the images proclaim the high standard craftsmanship of sculptures of that time but the bhav, bhangima, the expressions, the mudras; the postures carved by these artists tell that they were well aware of the nuances of bharat natya shatra too. How deeply steeped were these souls in their culture and arts.

Here Shiva is shown inside Gajarajas’s stomach. Look at the feet of elephant below. What an imagination and what implementation!

Prabhavali, i.e. frame around the images too are intricately carved. The corner images almost give impression of being three dimensional. More the time you spend in their company, more enriching the experience gets. There is so much to learn, the mythological episodes, the variety of musical instruments, the dance mudras, historical facts, the list is long, besides all these the most important one is the spritual experience.

This temple was built in 1199 AD by Hoysala king Veer Ballala 2nd and his queen Ketaladevi. Though except a Shivalinga no other shrine has any deity now yet such is solemnity , the aura of the place that one feels in presence of the higher one.

one of the shrine inside temple.

Nirvan rupam kedareshwara

Prayers carved on stone by the unknown craftsmen

At the end of journey with a heart full of gratitude

All the pictures @ Sunder Iyer

Hoyasaleshwara temple is not very far from Chennakeshava temple Of Belur. We left our guest house at Belur early in the morning and reached Helebidu in about half an hour. In fact we were the first visitors to temple that day i.e. 14. 12. 2021.. Guides were the only people to reach there before us.

front view of temple

As I walked slowly towards the main building of the temple imbibing the grandeur of the 12 th century architecture, the refreshing greens of the garden, I felt the weight of baggage stored inside falling away bit by bit and blue, soothing calm descended within. It felt as if the temple with outstretched arms welcomed me to it’s protective folds.

The temple was built by king Vishnuvardhana Hoyasaleshwara. the temple has four porches for entry.

one of the entry door

All the entry doors are embellished with large, intricately carved figures on either sides. The temple is treasure trove of masterpieces on soap stone all around its walls and inside temple too. I thought that first I would go to the shrine directly. I mean visiting a temple, surrendering to the divine is always the first priority. Later on I enjoyed it as an open art gallery of exquisite art pieces.

interior hall of the temple

It was early in the morning. Natural light was entering the hall with hesitant steps. Few shy sun-rays were peeping through the interspersed stone lattices on the wall. The dimly lit hall was bathed in the mysterious but peaceful aura, which cuts you off the humbug of outside world and you feel divinity all around. A journey within commences.

Shrine in the temple

There are two Shiva shrines in the temples. It is said that one was built by king Vishnuvardhana while other by queen Shantala. The time we visited there doors of only this shrine were open. Other shrine was closed. As we were informed this shrine is from king.

The ceiling of the hall too has richly carved designs.

carving on ceiling

This is only one example of finely carved images on the ceiling of the hall. Even the small squares have a detailed story narrated by the sculptors.

Now let us come out of the hall and walk towards Nandi Mandapam. As the temple hall houses two Shiva shrines obviously there have to be two Nandis. Yes, there are two Nandi Mandapam and each of them very richly and exquisitely carved. They are masterpieces in themselves.

Here are both the Nandis: one with its mandapam in full view and the other one in close up. These nandis are listed among few biggest nandi statues in India but carving and finery wise these are considered to be top ranking ones. In fact no words, and images can replicate the detailing, the fine lines and the over all mesmerizing impact.

Hoyeshaleshwara temple is poised on a star shaped base. The base consists of eight rows of friezes. Images of elephants, horses , floral scrolls and lions are carved symmetrically in these rows.

rows at the base.

The walls of temple have elaborate and sophisticated carvings of Hindu deities, mythological episodes from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Gita, scenes from daily social life of that time. The images of deities on walls are highly ornate and each image has its own way of casting its spell on you.

Brahma on his vahana

Shiva and Parvati on Nandi.

Our guide told us a very interesting story about it. It seems nandi did not enjoy Parvati riding over him. He considered only Shiva to be the one to ride on him, hence his stride is a bit different with an intention to make Parvati uncomfortable.

krishna holding Govardhana

This magnificent Ganesha idol is installed in one of the lawns on the backside of temple.

This Jain Muni statue is found in the lawn near the museum. Dakhin Karnataka and many dynasties ruling there followed Jainism. We found many Jain monuments and temples in the area. Queen Shantala too was follower of Jain Dharma, though she took interest actively in Hindu shrines too.

A view of open campus of museum. There is a big hall having many beautifully sculpted idols and images. The art part is being preserved very nicely.

This is the moment I savoured most, sitting outside the Nandi Mandapam. On one side is temple and on the other the open space, green trees, flowers, sky and water beyond. All the elements as if unite to take you deep into the serenity of just being.

This corner of one lawn ablaze with reds and yellows was quiet and adding colours, as if manifesting different aspects of existence. it was so inviting that I could not resist myself from going nearer and whispering a ‘thank you’.

The splendid view of water body.

Presence of this sparkling waterbody makes Hoysaleshwara temple all the more alluring. It was calm and beautiful. Due to it’s presence Halebidu was also known as Dwarsamudram.

Wondering: how could our ancestors create such marvels! They left such rich heritage for us. We don’t know the names of the artists and creators but they left their indelible marks for posterity. The thought in mind was- would we be able to leave for our generations to come something like this, something, which gives peace to their world, soul and mind.

Al the pictures by Sunder Iyer.

Nataraja is also an incarnation of Shiva and was created by Shiva for a special purpose.While writing this sentence, suddenly a thought flashed through my mind; why did Shiva create His special incarnation for subduing or annihiliating different types of negative and harmful forces? Why He in His well known Avatara i.e. in one form obliterated all the negative forces? Do our mythological stories are structured like this to impart certain lesson? Yes, I think it is so. Perhaps they want to convey that we all have multiple facets to our being and to face different type of obstacles, we need to work on a particular facet of our personality. We have to sharpen different skills to overcome different type of peoblems. All types of battles can not be fought by a single type of weapon. Well, that is my interpretation, what do you have to say on the matter?

Anyway, so here you see Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. But upon whom is He dancing? Who is the figure under His feet? He is Apasmara.

Apasmara is a demon dwarf and as per our mythology it represents ignorance. Infact Apsmara is also said to represent memory loss, Apa means negation, samara is smriti; memory. In Ayurvada Apasmara refers to epilapsy.In epilapsy too the person tends to forget oneself when under its attack.

Apasmara is a symbol of ignorance and laziness, and Nataraja, a symbol of cosmic motion dances keeping it under His feet. Like all other demons Apasmara is not killed but crushed, kept under control.Ignorance has to co-exist with wisdom. Ignorance can never be obliterated, ended completely, be it on individual level or all of us as a universal community, but we definitely need to keep it in check.Apasmara is immortal. To me Nataraja gives an impression of dancing in complete abundance, a swirling, energetic motion. Does it suggest if ignorance and laziness is kept under control life is full of joy and motion?

This ignorance can have another dimension too. Ignorance about presence of divinity, goodness within us, or say spiritual ignorance. If we keep the negation within us under check, we get to experience that abundance of joy flowing through our being. It rushes through every artery to spread the purity and we feel in harmony with the symphony vibrating through every iota around us.  Trample the Apasmara and awaken Shiva within, says Nataraja.

story of Nataraja
Natraja, dancing Shiva

Picture by Sunder Iyer.

Bhairava

Look at this relief on the wall. Who could he be?  That wreath on his head and beautiful, serene face, doesn’t he look like a Greek God? But that wreath is not of flowers. Zoom in and you find skulls roped in like beads. Interesting, isn’t it? What a fabulous fusion the sculptor’s imagination has created! Neck and beneath till the feet, is it some Jain Muni? Hoyasalas followed Jainism. In fact Queen Shantala the most popular and dynamic queen of the dynasty followed Jainism till her death. There are many Jain basadis and temples spread across Hoyasala kingdom. But he can never be representing anyone even remotely linked to Jainism. Those skulls, snakes, and bhoot, pishach kind of figures in the side towards bottom, the dog licking the blood tells otherwise. Even though the face reflects serenity of the munis, this sculptor surely did not have any Jain muni in his mind. Then who he could be?

It is the most mysterious and enigmatic God of Hindus, The Bhairava.Bhairava is an incarnation of Shiva. Yes, the tridents, the snake around neck, the bhoot pisachs all confirm the association with Shiva. If you come to think of it even the serenity on face is that of Siva. Surrounded by all kinds very unusual companions, His Ganas, even in midst of chaos, decked up in His strange adornments Shiva sits perfectly still, calm and sublime. So yes, this is Bhairava, who was created by Shiva Himself.

Do you know what the skull in his hand and the begging bowl represent? The story goes like this; once Brahma and Shiva had an argument over the issue of supremacy. Enraged by Brahma’s continuous atrocious behaviour Shiva created Bhairava. That is why Bhairava is known as Raudra roop of Shiva. As it happened Bhairava immediately after taking shape decapitated Brahma’s fifth head, which actually was creating the entire problem. But this fifth head of Brahma stuck in Bhairava’s hand and could not be dislodged. The head in Bhairava’s hand in this relief is that fifth head of Brahma. How so ever angry Shiva was with Brahma’s unethical behaviour and He Himself had created Bhairava but justice is a highly valued ethic in our religion, hence Shiva punished Bhairava for the sin of Brahmahatya. He ordered Bhairava to roam around the earth with a begging bowl like a mendicant. That is why we see the bowl in his hand and Bhairava is shown naked or say in tattered rags.

So in this relief the sculptor has etched Bhairava as a mendicant walking on earth with skull and bowl. In this avatara dog is said to be vahana of Bhairava. Otherwise too just imagine Bhairava walking on streets in rags with a bowl and skull in hand, his flaming hair waving and,  dogs following him flashes as a natural reaction.

The mythological story further progresses like this. Shiva while ordering Bhairava thus had told that when the skull would automatically dislodge from his hands, he should understand that he had been absolved off his sin and then he had to stay at that place and this happened when Bhairava entered Kashi. Since then Bhairava is stationed there in the famous Kal Bhairava temple.

There is another story about Bhairava which says that during His punishment tenure   wandering once Bhairava came to dense Deodara forest where many Rishis used to reside. Bhairva’s mysterious enigmatic naked presence with a God like aura attracted the women in Ashramas. They were not able to resist His charm.  This infuriated rishis and they casterated Bhairava. The fallen Linga immediately turned into an endless column of fire and Rishis understood the miracle of God and started worshipping Linga. Some what similar story I heard at Jageshwar in Uttarakhand where the famous Bal Jageshwar temple of Shiva is located. Jageshwar is surrounded by dense Devdar trees. It made me wonder how our mythological stories spread so far. Did pilgrims covered such long distances from one part of nation to other? That too when fast modes of transportation were not available.

Another question which popped up in my mind while going through these stories is why our Gods, Devtas are depicted to behave so human like. They represent Supreme Being yet they are shown to have weaknesses, human weaknesses. Do these tales want to convey that it’s ok to have weaknesses but if we work upon the positive and just forces inside us, we too can develop certain traits which could produce miraculous results? One very popular thought propagated in our religion is that we carry a part of God within us. May be that is what it means. Ah! Thoughts would go on churning, let us move forward and enjoy the dazzling testimonies of art and sculptures.

Many mythological stories, episodes are engraved on the exterior walls of the temple. Most of us are aware of those stories. We would have seen them depicted in different art forms at some or other time. Besides the fineness of the art what I enjoyed most about the depiction there, is the way the artists have let their imagination take shape of their own.

Mahishasur Mardini

The story of annihilation of Mahishasur by Goddess Durga is well known. Mahishasur was born out of union of a Mahish (buffalo) and an Asur i.e. demon (did our people at that time conceptualized about mutation between two different species? Well, let us leave the question for another time.) Another remarkable feature about our mythology is that here the Asuras, the bad and negative forces have been depicted to be very strong willed and capable in performing arduous and difficult penance to get boons of various kinds. For getting the boons most of them worshipped Brahma or Shiva. Though both of them were on the side of Suras [ Devtas], i.e. those representing good forces, they never shied away from granting boons to Asuras if the arduous penances were done rigorously. Good deeds deserve reward, is the message here, I think.

So like many other powerful Asuras in our mythological stories Mahishasur also got boon by appeasing Brahma. He asked for a boon that no one other than a woman could kill him. In fact he first asked for a boon of immortality but Brahma said this boon could not be granted as every living organism has to die at some or other time, hence Mahishasur asked for the above boon and thought him to be as good as immortal. He was very powerful, strong and capable of changing many forms. Obviously he thought a woman could never overpower him. Well as the story goes after acquiring the boon Mahishasur started his reign of terror. He conquered Bhooloka, i.e. earth and then set Devaloka as his target.

Now Devas approached Brahma for seeking help as they knew all of them together also could not do any harm to Mahishasur. Finally all the three entities of Trinity came together and created a woman by vesting best of their powers. She was manifestation of Shakti. At some places I have read that this manifestation of Shakti had ten hands while others describe her as having eight hands. However in this particular sculpture, the sculptor has depicted her as having ten hands. So, Vishnu gave Her His Sudarshan Chakra, Shiva His Trishul, Brahmna His Kamandal, Indra His Vajra, thunderbolt and other Devatas too gave Her their weapons.

When the final battle between Devi and Mahishasur took place it is said that the Asura took form of buffalo. When Devi overpowered this mighty beast and cut its head, the Asura in human form started to emerge, but Durga’s lion pounced upon him and pinned him to the ground and at that moment Durga raised the trident, piercing his chest and slayed him. This exact moment has been sculpted by the artist to the precision — the buffalo, the asura coming out of it in human form, pinned by lion to the ground and Durga with the trident piercing his chest. All other hands of Devi are armed with different weapons. Just pay a little attention to the expressions of Devi and the lion. Devi’s expression clearly reflects the emotion of executing the final act for accomplishing a task, while lion is kind of in a joyful mood, satisfied with himself for pinning down asura to the ground, happy for being of assistance to goddess. Whatever it might be but creating emotions on stones! These Hoyasala sculptors did wonders and we compare a deadpan face with stony expression.

Picture@Sunder Iyer

#photography# travelogues#India #Karnataka#Belur#temples#chennakeshavatempl#heritagetemples#hoyasala dynasty#art#architecture

Whenever we visit Bengaluru, our weekends are spent in meeting near and dear
ones and come Monday we are off to some nearby destination for two to three
days trip. So this time when our son asked on Sunday, “Which place you people
plan to go?” The answer was ready, “Belur.” Chennakeshava was calling this time.
The pictures we had seen of the intricate carvings and marvellous expressions on
walls of the temple had created such a deep longing to be there that our hearts as
if ached with the magnitude of the emotion.
On Monday morning sharp at 7 A.M. our cab left Bengaluru and after about a 5-
hour comfortable ride we reached Belur. We stopped for breakfast at an Udipi in
the mid. The generous size soft Idlis, piping hot Sambhar, coconut chutney and
delicious vadas in neat surroundings made Udipi a place worth stopping. We
reached Belur at about 12 or so. We checked in at Mayur Vellapuri, Karnataka
Tourism department guest house.  Though the guest house is located on a busy
road of the main market but once you enter the gate greenery there welcomes
you with arms outstretched. After taking bath we walked to the temple. Yes, the
temple is hardly at a distance of 500 meters from Mayura Vellapuri.
The moment I stood in front of the grand, imposing golden Gopuram, resplendent
in soft afternoon sun light my heart was filled with gratitude. And a calm, peaceful
joy started spreading within me. The top of the Gopuram shimmered under
sunrays reflecting as If His calm benevolent smile and I felt His boundless grace
being showered on me.
The present structure of five storey Gopuram was rebuilt in 1397 by Gunda, a
general of Harihara 2 as the earlier one was destroyed during an invasion by
Ganga Salar, an officer of Tughalakas. Top of the gopuram has two horn like
structures at both the ends. It is said these represent horns of cow. Cow is a holy
figure for Hindus and these horns are to represent holiness. In between are five
Kalash. Kalash too holds a religious significance and number five also has a special
significance–Panchboota, five elements, earth, water, air, fire, and space,
Panchamrut, Panchendriyas. Nothing in a temple complex and structure is
without a deep significance. Temple architectural art is a deep Sadhana.

The majestic gopuram

As I crossed the gopuram the vastness of wide, open to sky compound took me in
its outstretched arms. The vastness, the expanse cut you off from the humbug of
outside world and instigates you to initiate the journey with a new outlook,
deeper devotion.

In the center of this spacious courtyard on a raised platform sits the main shrine
of Chennakeshava, a star shaped homogenous unit. There are many smaller
shrines and colonnades in the compound.

Main temple


To the south of the main keshava temple there is the Kappe Chennigaraya temple
and a small temple of Goddess Soumyanayaki, a form of Goddess Laxami. At the
time we visited besides the main shrine this was the only shrine where pooja was
being conducted. Rest all shrines were closed.

kappe chennigaraya temple
Somyanayaki devi temple


To the west of the main temple is the Viranarayana temple with large reliefs on
the outer walls. All these reliefs are dedicated to various gods and goddesses. This
temple too is dated to 12 th  century.
There are two stambhas, pillars in the courtyard. One pillar is of Garuda and
another one Deep stambha. The Garuda pillar was erected during Vijaynagar
empire wile the one with lamp is inscribed to Hoysala period. The lamp post pillar
is also known as gravity pillar. It is told that it stands without foundation. Near
Garuda stambh sits Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu with folded hands facing the
entrance to main shrine.

Deep stambha, also known as gravity pillar.
Garuda stambha and Garuda idol


Besides these on one side of the compound there is a long corridor running upto
the step pond near the gopuram. Many inscription plaques and other idols,
figures are cemented to the wall of this corridor. I think it has been done to
preserve and maintain the precious heritage pieces which must have been found
in the premises. This is just my own conjecture.

The corridor


The pond which must have been perhaps once used by pilgrims and devotees is
not accessible to public now but its presence there makes those bygone times
more alive to imagination.

The pond


This is just an overview of Chennakeshva complex, the real journey I shall carry
forward in my next post.
This archiectural and sculpture wonder built by Hoyasala king Vishnuvardhana in
1117 is an ode to art on stone. I will try to take you on a trip around but words
can never describe what this specimen of master craftsmanship has to offer. Still I
cannot resist myself from reliving my experiences and memories of the time spent
in the company of those exemplary art pieces created by the artists of Hoyasala period.

The mesmerizing grandeur that eloquently talks about our rich heritage.

All the pictures @ Sunder Iyer

This is nest of sunbird in the rose bush of my neighbour. If you enlarge the pic you can see it sitting in the next, her beak out. Madam rests in the nest and the partner perched on Amaltas branch just outside keeps a vigil. His frequent visits to nest with warm up my heart. He carries food and ensures her well being. New lives are on the way and bunches of Amaltas smile fondly.

गूंजने वाली हैं किलकारियां सनबर्ड के घर में।समेटे मातृत्व का दायित्व जच्चा रानी आराम फरमाती हैं घोसले में और मां और आने वाले जीवन की सुरक्षा, सुविधा का ख्याल रखने के कर्तव्य बोध के प्रति पूर्ण तया सजग, समर्पित पिता श्री कभी दाना पहुंचाते हैं घोसले तक, कभी समीप की अमलतास की डाल पर बैठ पहरा देते हैं। नवजीवन की आहटों को सुन खुद को रोक.नहीं पाया अमलतास और खिल उठी हैं अनगिनत मुस्कानें उसके चेहरे पर और इधर छज्जे पर हम अशीषते नहीं थकते इन्हें, आखिर ऐसे धूसर समय पटल पर रस रंग भरना किसी नियामत से कम है क्या!

25Sunder Iyer, Bina Gupta and 23 others23 CommentsLikeCommentShare

This post is all about this orient table fan. This fan is from my Amma Babu[ parents- mother, father] home for as long as I can remember, even the blue red electric wire is the old one. This fan used to be out of its cover only during summer months. My Amma had stitched a round cover with the provision of putting string inside gap at the end which can be tightened to close it completely. It was sky blue cotton cloth over which she had stitched remains of a plastic table cloth,red yellow flowers on white background. At the end of summers the fan was cleaned properly, oiled and put inside cover and then to attic for rest of the year. During the summer months, come Sunday and my Babu would sit with the bottle of oil and a rag to clean and oil the fan. His that frame comes alive to my mind even today. Completely engrossed in the process he used to handle it with such care and love that it became apparent how he valued it.
That generation survived on minimum of things and maximum of sharing. They valued their possessions.They cherished their relations.
That day we took out this fan after I don’t know how many years. Sunder dusted it and we simply put the plug in socket and lo, it moved smoothly.No servicing, nothing was required. Enjoying it’s breeze I could inhale the fragrance of their love, care and my those lovely, carefree days.
Most of the people of that generation were honest to their commitments and prided themselves in executing their work properly.
The machinery inside this fan must be of an outstanding quality that it runs smoothly without any servicing and least care even after more than forty years.
Development is must but we need to revive certain values if we really want to leave something lasting for generations to come.

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Pics by Sunder Iyer

We started from Boondi to Gadaria Mahadev. After running on Jaipur Kota highway[ NH 52] for some time our vehicles turned and later on entered into an area having dry trees forest for a long stretch. Our vehicles ran on narrow uneven kachcha path and on both the sides stood short, dry trees with their arms extending to all sides. We have travelled through many dense tropical forests, forests of gigantic tall trees standing erect on high mountains but this one had an entirely different feel. As if each one of those trees has some tale hidden inside, a story different from that of lush green forests. This perhaps was part of Mukundra hills tiger reserve.  We visited the place with an intention to enjoy the spectacular view of famous turn of mighty Chambal river and the little shrine of Lord Mahadeva in the caves below.

 

As we reached the place from where we could see the Chambal river flowing down many feet below with hills standing guard on both the sides, the rugged panoramic beauty made us awestruck. We were the only visitors there at that time. As I said earlier, the river flew many feet below from the place we were standing but it’s width and slow, grave flow gave a very clear idea of it’s depth. Watching it from the rocks above the force of flow, waves or the churning in the water can not be apprehended but even from that far one can feel the wild, mighty and profound nature of the river. It as if clearly cautions not to mess with her. But then there was that tiny dot like boat coursing through its flow, the sole boat slowly making it’s way towards some destination. Watching it intently at first I wondered how the person or persons in that boat could muster so much courage as to go down there in waters and why on earth he was rowing a boat there but then slowly once again the realization dawned upon me, how so ever defiant, imposing the nature and it’s forces might appear we need to surrender to them with complete faith and our boat would definitely reach its destination.

 

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After enjoying the panoramic stretch for some time, we walked down to the shrine. On the way at some places steps are cut and on others rocks itself work as steps. Near the cave steps are cut, made properly. we reached the shrine. Three four locals were there. Pujari was there. He told us that he resides there only. In another very small chamber of cave his living quarters could be seen. High green trees surround the cave and down flows the Chambal. His living alone there in the wild surroundings once its totally dark, once again reinstated my faith in the miraculous powers of thoughts and beliefs.

 

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By the time we reached the shrine the tiny boat which we watched from above too had reached there. Its sole occupant tied the boat with trunk of a tree and started climbing the steep rocky terrain to reach the cave. To us it felt very dangerous, but he moved forward with ease.

We spent some time offering pooja, talking to priest and locals and treasuring the enriching experience continued our onward journey.

The place is about 20 Kms from Boondi.

Pictures @Sunder Iyer

 

Langkawi is an archipelago of about 99 islands, we visited only two besides the long walks and leisurely times spent on some beaches.

The first island cum marble geo park was Dayang bunting island and marble geo forest park. From a point on beach side we rode on boat and what a ride it was. Waters green blue to the limit of eyes, green forest covered islands standing in the middles of waters and the speed, it was thrilling, it was fun. We all shouted with child like enthusiasm whenever a wave under the boat bumped into the boat with force and pushed it upward.

 

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Dayang Bunting island is said to be the second largest island in Langkawi. It is uninhabited island though various tourist activities, stores and hoards of boats keep it alive and buzzing during day time.

The literal meaning of Dayang Bunting island is island of a pregnant woman. It is said that one of the dominating hills surrounding the island is in the shape of a pregnant lady lying on her back hence the island is named so. While others relate to some folk lore related to a princess, who met her love at the lake. Their son died early and they decided to let him rest in peace in the lake. However local belief is that a couple aspiring for a baby get their wish fulfilled if they visit  and take a dip in the lake.

 

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The area of the lake and hills surrounding it where boats drop passenger for a walk into geo forest park.

 

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As our boat dropped us at island

 

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Though the surrounding area was full of green dense forests this tree in particular attracted us. It was standing at the starting point of the wooden platform leading to a view point deep into the waters . In fact it were the birds on the tree that made it beautiful. Their chirping sounded like a welcome song.

 

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A walk that not only took me to that shaded structure at the end of path but like a bird made me feel soaring up in the blue sky, over those green hills and then with outstretched hands coming down to touch the crystal clear water playfully with all the songs of joy in my heart.

On the opposite side of this, the concrete path where we landed from boat took us to dense green jungles. The path goes up and down. Amidst the tall trees are various rock formations. At the end of this path is lake Guillemard lake. This lake is a fresh water lake. The most unique part of this lake is that it very close to sea still it is a fresh water lake. Surrounding area is a part of Dayang Bunting geo forest park.

 

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The Guillemard lake 

The lake too is called as pregnant woman lake. The lake is formation from an underwater lake whose surface collapsed and the area is filled with water to form lake.

 

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A view of lake from the structure on the bank. Down are shops selling various souvenir and other essential items. 

 

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Another view of lake. People enjoying boating, bathing , swimming. Nature is amazing. In between it’s destruction too lies creation.  The faults, the plates trembles, shudders, shake, rocks rumbles down and in between those rumblings, trembling and stumbling features change and something beautiful emerge.

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resting on way back from the lake

This area has many rocks big and small. Shady trees and shades built provide respite on a hot, sunny day. But one needs to be a bit cautious of monkeys. They tend to snatch things if you are not careful. But then sometimes they entertain too. Look at this one. Somebody threw a beer can to him and he started enjoying it.

 

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“Devang bunting marble geoforest park that host the endemic palm is made of two main limestone formations the Setul- 490-370 million years and Chupina 285-250 million years formations with Singa formation in between. The tectonic movement….. brought up the entire Setul formation in the eastern part of langkawi to overlap  the much younger chuping formation in the west is among important evidence of the major tectonic event in the south east asian region during the period between late permian and late triassic-250-220 million years in langkawi, these two minor blocks collided along a plane called the kisap thurst fault dividing the pulau dayang bunting into two halves. this event was followed by the emplacement of the dayang bunting granite intrusion -220to 210 million years that transformed the limestone into one of the world’s best marble . Due to these faulting and intrusion the limestone had undergone severe fracturing thus facilitating ground water to penetrate the weak zone and dissolved it along the way. it is the combination between the ground water dissolution and have erosion under the influence of sea level changes that are responsible in the development of the complex island and terrestrial thrust landscape including the tasik dayang bunting.”

Above paragraph I took down from a rusting board from the site, I don’t know much about Geology and related phenomena but as the text written on the board was getting eroded due to climatic conditions thought of preserving it.

All pictures copyrighted by Sunder Iyer.

 

 

 

 

 

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