MAST & TREE

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.

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Mast & Tree

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.

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The Tree

This Red Letter Box adorns this Lovely Tree.

You can the walls of the main temple in the background.

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Post a Letter to the Gods

Enchanting is it not what we miss when we visit Historical sites ?

PALATIAL GATES & TREES

“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.

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 The Jumbo Gate set in Green Surroundings

The Angel Gates giving a glimpse of the Main Palace Building are guarded by two Coconut Trees.

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Palace Gate & 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.

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The Cow Herd is Surrounded by Trees

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)

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All is Green through the Krishna Gate

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.

JUMBO GATE

“CELEBRATING 2017” was my previous blog in which I had given a glimpse of the much celebrated Jumbos and the Mysore Palace in Karnataka, India.

I continue the Jumbo celebrations of Mysore on this 3rd day of January 2017.

“Be Enchanted”.

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Elephant Gate of the Mysore Palace

As I drew up closer to the Elephant Gate I glimpsed, through the Palatial Gates,  that the much celebrated Jumbos were being carted home on Trucks.( have a look at the featured image).

The Orange flowers in the foreground are Marigolds ,about which you can read in a previous blog titled AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS.

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Jumbos seen through The Elephant Gate

The entire Mysore Palace is covered in Lights ( and the Elephant  Gates is no exception)  for the Jumbo Celebrations of Dusshera held annually .

Wonderful Trophies of Elephants in Stone on either side of The Elephant Gate, have a look at one keeping me an Eyeful.

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Eyeing the Camera Man ?

Remain on board as we continue from where we left the threads of THE THREE RIVERS in “2016″.

BLACK ON WHITE

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.

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Black & White Oriental White Ibis ( do not mix with the cows)

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 ?)

 

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What a Beak

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.

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Grey  Heads 

This family of Grey Heads seems to like the Paddy Fields which resembles their  natural habitat, the Wetlands.( could be Juveniles or immatures ?)

Their walk does resemble the Egyptian walk simulated in the Michel Jackson song of the yesteryears “Walk like an Egyptian”.

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Zoom in, though a bit fuzzy

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.

RED HEADS

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.

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Picnic time for this Ibis family 

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.

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Hunting for Fish or toads in a Paddy field

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.

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Why are you taking my picture at Lunchtime?

I wonder how the Ancient Egyptians detected this lovely RED HEAD which now resides only in the Indian subcontinent. Enchanting thought, what say you?

CHAMPA

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.

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The Main Entrance of the Temple

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) or Magnolia 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)

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Innumerable Flowers hidden by Mango-like Leaves

I had never seen these fragrant “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”.

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The Magnificent Lotus-like Flower

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.

Enchanting is it not ?

 

HEAVENLY RAYS

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)

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FRESH GREEN & SUN RAYS

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.

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HEAVENLY RAYS IN THE HORIZON

I am sharing these very appropriate and  symbolic pictures on Diwali as the dark  clouds are pierced by Rays from Heaven.

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RAYS BURST THROUGH THE CLOUDS

Be Enchanted and Blessed under the Heavenly Rays. Happy Diwali to All.

JUMBO RIDES

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.

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Mysore Palace and a Tusker

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 .

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Boarding a Truck

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.

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Leaving the Palace

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 ?

WONDER-STRUCK

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.

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WHITE WITH A TOUCH OF PINK

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.

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FLOWER & FRUIT

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.

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HAIRY ALL OVER

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.