Tuesday, 26 December 2017

SurajKund, Haryana: Remains of the 10th century reservoir

Overview: Suraj Kund, as the name suggests, is a reservoir which was dedicated to Sun God. Built in the 10th century in what is a part of the old city of Delhi and belongs to the state of Haryana. Situated on the banks of the Aravalis, the base of the reservoir measures about 130m in diameter, and it expands as we go upwards. The entire structure resembles a Roman amphitheater, and it resembles the rising Sun when viewed from the top. The Southern part resembles the temples of Mexico, which were also built for the Sun God.
The reservoir was originally built by the Tomar kings in the 10th century, who were known to worship the Sun God. Though many theories exist behind the name of the reservoir, almost all of them date this back to pre- 10th century.
The place is not very far from the Lal Kot, or Kila Rai Pithora, which was built by Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the last Hindu kings of Delhi.


Suraj Kund

Suraj Kund

Suraj Kund

Qila Rai Pithora

Suraj Kund, viewed from Google maps

How to reach: Located around 20kms south of Delhi, Suraj Kund lies at the border of Haryana and Delhi. The nearest metro station to Surajkund is Badarpur. The place is around 15 kms from Mehrauli.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Jalsangvi: When carvings spoke and wrote

Jalsangvi: When carvings spoke and wrote

Overview: Northern Karnataka offers plenty to heritage lovers. I discovered this place while I was exploring the northernmost district of Karnataka. Around 50 kms from Bidar city is the small town of Jalsangvi, a popular town during the days of Kalyani Chalukyas in the 10th century.
The main attraction of the place is the Kalmeshwara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, right at the centre of the village.
The temple is built in Dravidian style, typical of Kalyani Chalukyas. The shikhara of the temple is missing, probably couldn't stand the test of times. But the eye catching feature of the temple is the carvings of the Shilabalikes, and the images of Vishnu and Shiva. One striking image, hard to be missed, is the carving of a lady, inscribing words in a stone tablet, in old Kannada, with praise for the Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI. This inscription dates back to 1110 AD. This kind of an image is a unique feature seen in very few monuments in the country. One more such image can be seen at a temple in Beed, Maharashtra.

Jalasangvi

Jalasangvi
Jalasangvi


Jalasangvi


Jalasangvi


How to Reach: The village lies just 2kms off Bidar-Humnabad highway, around 50kms from Bidar and around 10kms before reaching Humnabad. Frequent buses ply between Bidar and Humnabad, and the bus stop is at Jalsangvi cross. Nearest railhead is Bidar, and the nearest airport is Hyderabad.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Lakshagraha: Tales from the Mahabharata

Visit to Barnawa, the ancient Varnavat

Whoever remembers the story of Mahabharata can recollect the word 'Lakshagrah' or the Palace of Lacquer, a material which gives shine to wood and is highly inflammable.  This was the episode when Duryodhana, along with his maternal uncle Shakuni, planned a conspiracy to build a palace at Varnavat which would easily catch fire with just a spark. The Pandavas, somehow got to know of this plan and they managed to get a pit dug up which would open up somewhere outside the town of Varnavat.
This place Barnawa, in Uttar Pradesh is believed to be the ancient Varnavat.  The pit from where the Pandavas escaped can still be seen, however, the archaeologists have not yet completed the excavation, so the source is still not visible. The ruins of some old building can also be seen, which is made of a material crumbling into pieces.
The city is lined with Jain temples, which are quite ancient, and the place is also a popular pilgrimage centre for Jains. Also close to Barnawa is Alamgirpur, which is a site of Indus Saraswathi civilization.

Lakshagrah site

Lakshagrah site

Ancient Jain temple at Barnawa (Varnavat)

Mantapa near Lakshagrah

Sword impression at Lakshagrah

Ruins at Lakshagrah site


Ruins at Lakshagrah site


Ruins at Lakshagrah site