Monday, 4 July 2016

Sri Ramaprameya Swamy and Ambegalu Krishna temple, Dodda Mallur, Karnataka

The Bangalore-Mysore highway has a lot of interesting temples and places to see. Dodda Mallur is one such village, in Channapatna taluk, that hosts the famous Sri Ramaprameya Swamy and Ambegalu Krishna temple. The village is about 60 kms from Bangalore, and is located on the banks of the river Kanva, which has a dam few kilometers away.

We have been to this temple several times, and each visit is different. The temple is easy to locate. While driving on the highway, towards the end of Channapatna, you can see the temple entrance arch on your left-hand side. There is ample parking space available; Rs. 10 is collected as parking charges. The temple timings are 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM IST, and 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM IST.

This Vijayanagara-style temple/idol is said to be about 1500 years old, and the temple complex was built by Chola emporer Rajendra (4th century). The monolithic Dhwajasthamba is beautiful. It is said that Lord Rama himself to have stayed here; therefore, called Daskshina Ayodhya and the idol called Ramaprameya. Several sages too have stayed/visited this temple and composed songs in praise of the Gods.

The deity in the main sanctum is Lord Ramaprameya. The idol has been craved from Saligrama stone, holding Shanka, Chakra, Gada, and Padma in four hands. Don't forget to see the Utsava Murthy of this God! A walk towards the left of the main sanctum leads to the temple of Goddess Aravindavalli (Lakshmi), seated on lotus flower.

Continuing further, you see that sanctum of Lord Ambegalu Navaneetha Krishna. The idol is of infant Krishna, (seems to be) crawling towards the onlooker, and rests left hand on the peedham, holds a ball of butter in right hand, and wears Uda Dhaara (a thread made of silver) almost around the waist. sri Purandaradasa is said to have been inspired by this idol, and composed the famous song 'Jagadoddharana Adisidalu Yashodha!' It is believed that couples pray to this god to bestow them with a baby (, preferably a boy!). After the birth of the baby, the couples offer a cradle (made of silver/wood) to the temple, and perform puja or Tula Bhara (in front of the sanctum).

Walking further, you see Lord Vaikunatanath Swamy with His consorts. On the right-side of the Lord Ramaprameya sanctum, you can see the idol of Lord Hanuman. Interesting are the carvings on the pillars of various mantapas. You can see floral designs, chanka, naama, shanka, yaalis, and so on. A few portions of the pillars are left blank; not sure why. Outside the temple, opposite to the main entrance, you can see the Purandaradasa mantapa.

What interests me the most is the temple architecture, sculptures, and carvings. Here are a few photos of the temple complex; kindly note that photography of deities is strictly prohibited. I have tried to explain a few photos; still researching about a few others. If you have any information regarding this place, kindly leave a comment; thanks.

Sri Ramaprameya Swamy temple complex and Purandaradasa Mantapa

Carvings on pillars, within temple complex
Carvings of Hindu Mythical creatures, floral designs, Lord Shivalinga, elephant, and many others can be seen on the pillars. I have never before seen a creature with horse head and bird body; still researching about such a creature. In a Vaishnava temple, you can see carving of Lord Shivalinga; it's a beautiful and unique design. The circular floral designs are unique as well. Also note that almost all mythical creatures hold something in their trunks/beaks, as a symbol of offering to the Lord!

Carvings on pillars, Rathamantapa
This is a beautiful mantapa but neglected beyond comprehension. Various birds have made this mantapa their home, and their droppings have dirtied the mantapa. Some amazing carvings can be seen on the pillars. Lord Vishnu blessing the elephant, standing on the crocodile. Garuda with hands folded. According to my study of other temples, this carving can be Lord Hanuman with a bell, performing puja to the Lord. There are carvings of monkey kings in a combat, Lord Krishna on Kalinga Sarpa, Govardana Giri Dhaari, and Lord Vishnu on Garuda. Totally amazing!

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Monday, 2 May 2016

Bygdøynesveien Peninsula and Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo Norway

Continued from Holmenkollen and Frognerseteren, Oslo, Norway.

There's an article today about Thor's expedition, in National Geography Education;…/kon-tiki-sets-s…/…
This article reminded me about our visit to the Kon-Tiki Museum at Oslo, during 2012. My husband and I are always curious about the place we visit. We don't shy away from venturing into the unknown. We just enjoy.
The previous evening we had planned the next day's activities. A cold morning dawned; we had our breakfast, walked to the bus stop, and waited for the bus heading towards the city center. We were rather famous with the bus drivers; they must have thought that we had migrated newly to the place.
From city center, we hopped on to another bus that took us to Bygdøynesveien (peninsula). As always, we were early.; sat watching the rain, birds, cruise liner, stillness in the place, raindrops on cherry blossom flowers, and the amazing posh houses. We waited patiently. A cup of coffee would have been awesome in that cold weather. Well, cuddling was better than coffee!
After a long time, the bus that dropped us returned with another batch of tourists. That was when the museums (and toilets and cafes) opened. It's a beautiful cozy museum. Every bit of information related to Kon-Tiki and Thor Heyerdahl's expedition, Ra II, and the Oscar award are displayed. There's also a theater that airs a documentary about Kon-Tiki. A cute store sells souvenirs. The original Kon-Tiki documentary that won the Oscar award is aired everyday at noon.
And then we walked to other museums in the vicinity. The other museums that we visited were the Fram Museum, Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Viking Ship Museum, and Norwegian Maritime Museum. Exploring the peninsula, on foot, was fun. We saw about 20-25 cyclists zoom past us. What a memorable experience it was! I have a terrible itch to visit Oslo again.
Sharing a collage of Kon-Tiki museum exhibits.
Kon-tiki museum

Holmenkollen and Frognerseteren, Oslo, Norway

That day too was May 1; but the year was 2012. Oslo was on a holiday! We had a lazy day ahead, as travelers, because the museums that we wanted to see were all closed. Well, instead of wasting a day, we decided to explore without a fixed agenda. We stood at our favorite bus stop, hopped on to a bus taking us to city center, and randomly we picked a metro-line to travel. We bought the ticket and sat in the rail, watching the scenery change.
The rail moved out of city center, gradually started ascending, and I was like a kid at a candy store watching everything that went past our window. The weather was getting colder. As the rail halted at stations, children and young adults got in with their cycles. They were mighty excited. We wondered where they were going.
As the rail gradually ascended, wow, we saw the ski jump tower and snow. My jaws dropped. We continued our journey; had to see the end of this line. The cyclists got off, first, at the last station, and then everyone else. The cyclists sat on their mountain bikes, and descended downhill. They disappeared within seconds. We walked further up to admire the beautiful view. We followed the path that a few people took, and landed at the most romantic cafe I have ever seen. My husband and I were thrilled that our unplanned journey had treated us very well, and wondered where we were.
We had happened to take ticket to the last station on the Holmenkollen Line, had gone past Holmenkollen Ski Tower, and hopped off at the highest station in Oslo. We were standing front to Frognerseteren Restaurant and Cafe. We were ogling at the posh cars. We were smiling as well. We entered the cafe, looked around, and placed our order for coffees and some sinfully delicious desserts. We couldn't find a seat outdoors; sat inside and blissfully enjoyed our treats.
Smile stuck to our faces. Back at hotel, we did a happy dance. smile emoticon
The photo collage gives a glimpse of the place.

Frognerseteren Restaurant and Cafe