The Keshava Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Somnathpura, Karnataka, India dates to the year 1100 AD .( earlier posts like WATER IS LIFE & ROLLER PILLARS will provide more details on this spectacular temple)
An Enormous Tree provides a wonderful backdrop to the Signature Mast which stands tall near the main entrance to the Keshava Temple.
These Masts are Unique to all temples in Southern India.
This 100 year old Mast resembling the Ashoka Pillars is nearly as tall as this Enormous Tree but the vast area the Tree covers, as can be seen in the picture below, leaves you breathless.
This Red Letter Box adorns this Lovely Tree.
You can the walls of the main temple in the background.
Enchanting is it not what we miss when we visit Historical sites ?
“Celebrating 2017” ( an earlier post) by seeing the Lush Green Trees that surround all the Gates that lead to The Mysore Palace in Karanataka, India.
The Jumbo Gate ( do have a peek into the previous post by this title) is set in a World of Green . Seen from within the Palace grounds during The Dusshera Celebrations held in October 2016.
The Angel Gates giving a glimpse of the Main Palace Building are guarded by two Coconut Trees.
Lord Krishna, the cowherd ,Crowns the Ticketing Gate through which the Gopurams ( large doorways) of the Temples within the Palace Grounds can be seen in the picture below.
Lord Krishna plays the Flute while standing atop the head of a Multi-headed Serpent.
I can only see a World of Green through the palatial Krishna Gate which was reserved for High ranking Officials during the Dusshera Festival while mere mortals like us battled their way in. ( the featured image shows the minor gate through which mere mortals enter during the festival)
Ancient Trees tell of a glorious past as they survive the turmoils of history under the protection of the King within the Palace Grounds in Mysore.
During the time of the Pyramids , Egyptians worshipped an IBIS headed God called Thoth. ( please do no mix up with the Greek God Thor).
Do read and see the previous blog titled RED HEAD as well.
The featured image has a Cattle Egret and a Black headed Ibis.
The lovely Black & White Fauna foraging in the rural countryside near Somanthpur,Karnataka, India.
I wonder what this flock of Black Headed Ibis ( English) ,Threskiornis melanocephalus ( Scientific name) with their large sweeping curved beaks is looking for ?
The Open Bill in the picture below reminds me of another Bird called Open billed Spoonbill.
The picture below reminds me of a scene out of Jurassic Park ( do you recall the Holywood Blockbuster ?)
Also called Oriental Black Ibis , these lovely birds belong to the Ibis family Threskiornithidae and are native to the Indian Subcontinent.
However this family of three seems to be different to the pair above as the heads seems to be grey and not black.
This family of Grey Heads seems to like the Paddy Fields which resembles their natural habitat, the Wetlands.( could be Juvenilesor immatures ?)
Their walk does resemble the Egyptian walk simulated in the Michel Jackson song of the yesteryears “Walk like an Egyptian”.
This Black & White species of Ibis is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN and Birdlife International which means their numbers are rapidly declining and I pray they do not follow the path of Ancient Egyptians into extinction.
The Downward Curved Bill ( do see the featured image above) resembling the Crescent Moon gave the Ibis headed God of Ancient Egypt his name “Thoth”.
Nature and Ancient Mythologies have always been deeply intertwined since time immemorial. In India this is more apparent than in other countries as many religions that originated from this land are still practiced and followed by millions.
I spotted this family of Black Ibis or Indian Black Ibis or Red-Naped Ibis ( English), Pseudibis papillosa ( Scientific name) en-route to the breathtaking Keshav temple at Somanathpur , Karnataka, India.
The drive through rural Karnataka from Srirangapatnam to Somnathpur is not only historical but a treat for sore eyes as it runs along the River Cauvery ( or Kaveri) and is a welcome departure from stressed highways.( do read an earlier post titled HEAVENLY RAYS)
The Indian Black Ibis is native to the Indian Subcontinent and was spotted hunting for food in the well irrigated paddy fields. Unfortunately it has disappeared from Pakistan for reasons unknown to me but thrives in India.
The picture below though out of focus is interesting as this apparently startled Red Headed Indian Ibis was caught looking directly at the camera.
The Head if you observe is bereft of feathers.
I have read , though not convinced, that the legs turn Red during the breeding season. The white patch ,which is just about visible in these pictures, on the shoulders and Red Head distinguish this Ibis from other species like the Glossy Ibis.
I wonder how the Ancient Egyptians detected this lovely RED HEAD which now resides only in the Indian subcontinent. Enchanting thought, what say you?
The Folly of Common Names Struck me between the eyes when I first gazed upon these Gorgeously Fragrant Flowers in the well maintained Temple gardens surrounding The Lakshmikantha Swamy Temple opposite the sprawling Infosys campus in Mysore, Karnataka, India.
The Sky touching Main Entrance or Gopuram in typical Dravidian Style decorated with statues of the Creator Lord Vishnu or LakshmiKantham.
When I first gazed upon these lovely and graceful flowers I was reminded of a flower from the Himalayas which still haunts me “The Golden Champa” ( English), Champa ( Hindi) orMagnolia champaca ( Scientific Name). Yet these flowers were white and far from being Yellow or Golden.
The leaves closely resemble that of the Mango Tree ( do see the featured image above) , which is considered auspicious and the leaves are used to decorate homes and temples during festivals like Diwali. ( an earlier blog titled “KING and I” gives an in depth insight on Mangoes)
I had never seen thesefragrant “Champa”flowers which my host from Southern India identified them as.
In the Northern parts of India I hail from the temple flower or Frangipanni is referred to as Champa in common parlance. Though the tree was located in a temple ,the flowers were nothing like the five petaled Champa ( scientific name is Plumeria alba) which is also white, but with a yellow centre.
The tell tale central Gopuram resembles those of the “Magnolia grandiflora“ I had seen in the Himalayas and posted about in earlier blogs titled “Fragrant Opulence “ and “The Lotus Tree”.
In Modern Classification the flower determines the species and I was certain it is a species of Magnolia .You will be too if you compare the tell tale centres ( stamens and carpals) of the flowers in the pictures above and those in the blogs mentioned above.
This Lotus like flower , also called White Champa ( the lady was dead right) is none other than the Magnolia alba ( scientific name) , a supposed hybrid of the Magnolia champaca and native to the Indian subcontinent.
The much revered waters ( and now in the thick of controversy) of Kaveri ( or Cauvery) irrigate the fertile lands near Somasundhar temple, Mysore,Karnataka, India.
The beautiful lush green landscape dotted with Coconut Trees & Paddy fields is crowned by Sun Rays which shower Light on the lands on the much celebrated day of Dusshera. ( you may have to tilt your laptop or move sideways to the right to appreciate the beautiful Rays in the picture below)
Diwali, the Festival of Lights ( do read a blog posted yesterday titled LIGHT IT WITH FLOWERS) is celebrated exactly three weeks after Dusshera on a Pitch Dark Moonless Night.
The festival symbolizes many things, one of which is that Light dispels Darkness and brings forth Joy & Happiness dispelling the darkness of Sorrow ,Poverty & Illness.
I am sharing these very appropriate and symbolic pictures on Diwali as the dark clouds are pierced by Rays from Heaven.
Be Enchanted and Blessed under the Heavenly Rays. Happy Diwali to All.
Diwali or the Festival of Lights will be celebrated across India on October the 30th this year. Three weeks before Diwali, another Festival called Dusshera is celebrated which earmarks the Victory of Good over Evil.
The pictures that follow are from the magnificent Mysore Palace,Mysore, Karanataka, India where Dusshera is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur.
Jumbos or Elephants (English), Haathi ( Hindi), Elephas maximus( Scientific name) are at the centre of the Dusshera celebrations. ( do read previous blogs titled GENTLE GIANTS ,BABY ELEPHANTS and MAMMOTH TASK )
They are the guests of the Royal family for several months as a consequence of the celebrations.
You can see the historical and Grand Mysore Palace in the backdrop and a heavily decorated Male Elephant in the foreground which awaits it’s turn to go home.
The Magnificent archways of the Mysore Palace bid adieu to the Jumbos who board large Trucks for their ride home.
The Female and Male Elephants can be sized up in the picture below as they are cajoled to board the trucks .
As they were guests of the Royalty of Mysore, they were fed hearty and rich meals. Consequently most of them gained close to 500 kilograms in weight.
For now the festival is over and they get ready for their Ride Home in Open Trucks.
It was by sheer chance that I photographed the entire process of transporting the Jumbos. I was looking for the oldest temple in the palace and stumbled upon an amazing sequence of a Jumbo Ride.
I think it was an unnerving experience for these Large Mammals as many of them had to be prodded and coerced to board the trucks.
I wonder was it a celebration for these Enchanting and Lovely Mammals ?
All that took place was by chance in the quaint Gokulum area of Mysore,Karnataka, India.
Most eating places listed by our now perennial friend “Mr.Google” and whatever local knowledge the driver had came to nought as they were closed on account of the Dusshera festival.
The Gokulum area is famous for Yoga centers and people from across the globe throng here for months at a stretch.
It was during this stretch that we chanced upon a almost magical place which has No Name board and looks like any other home in the locality. You cannot ever guess by the exterior that there is a flourishing Restaurant in it’s midst.
The little eatery run by an interesting couple with an extremely friendly atmosphere is called “Santosh” and known only by word of mouth.
“Santosh” when translated literally means Satisfied, which you will be when you taste something from their interesting menu.
I met an interesting elderly gentleman from faraway Serbia who sat cross-legged and has been practicing Yoga for 40 years.
It is sometimes a matter of Wonder how you miss very beautiful things when you arrive at a venue. I plead guilty I missed this lovely plant bearing very tiny white flowers and Red Berries.
The Red Berries stand out against the Stark and bright Orange wall of the House that encloses “Santosh”.
The Interesting Pink-White flowers, hairy heart shaped leaves and Red Berry like berries have me “Wonderstruck”as I am clueless on the species /genus or even family name.
I bid adieu Dazed and Enchanted by Red berries, I hope someone will give a clue.