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Time moves very fast.
Really? Not true, since we know that the earth is revolving around the Sun at a steady rate (for all practical purposes, that is!). So it is all in our perception of time.
Whatever the facts are, one more year has passed really fast for ‘ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ’. Today, ’ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ’ is stepping into the third year after finishing two years. I can still recall me writing the very first post on this weblog, and the post when the blog turned one year, as if it happened yesterday!
It’s been a good year for ’ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ’ so far. The very first image at the top of this blog was from the navaranga, inside the temple in Halebeedu, I thought it would be apt to change the image to another view of the Hoysaleshwara temple on it’s second birthday too.
Thanks for coming by ’ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ’!
I could even have called this post ‘The Tale of Two Brothers”, only displaced in time, that is “:)
It is a duet temple, and has two shrines to Shiva – one in the name of the king – Hoysaleshwara, and one in the name of his queen Shantala – Shantaleshwara. Two huge Nandis face the shrines.
Here is one of those Nandis – which I call “ಅಣ್ಣ” – Older brother
The Nandi below is another famed bull from Karnataka – This is in Chamundi hill near Mysore. The statue seems to be from sometime during Mysore’s Odeyars rule – definitely a creation from a time later than the 15th century.
I call this one “ತಮ್ಮ” – Younger brother . If you go to Chamundi hill, do not miss to pay him a visit.
The ‘brothers’ may be centuries old, but remain as charming as when they were sculpted!
According to the Wikipedia, both these are among the largest 7 Nandis in India.
Picture courtesy: My camera.
The year 2007 got us a new set of Seven Wonders of the World. And, by a large vote, India’s Taj Mahal became one of the new Seven Wonders of the New World on 07-07-2007.
But I was surprised to see a news report that said as per the public opinion in India based on SMS polls for Seven Wonders of India, Taj Mahal fared so badly, making it a distant Third!
Here is a list of the 7 Wonders of India that this report mentioned. The numbers indicate the votes each place got.
1.The statue of Bahubali at Sravana Belgola, Karnataka (49%)
2. The Golden temple at Amritsar, Puanjab (24%)
3. Taj Mahal at Agra, Uttar Pradesh (8%)
4. The monuments at Hampe, Karnataka
5. The Sun Temple at Konarak, Orissa
6. The monunents of Nalanda, Bihar
7. Temples of Khajuraho, Madhyapradesh.
I am indeed glad to see two of the wonderful sevel to be from Karnataka. And even more, because I come from the viscinity of the #1 in the list.
After I saw this list, I made it a point to update the image on the top of this blog. Now it shows the lotus feet of Lord Bahubali atop the Vindhyagiri hill in Sravana Belagola.
For those interested in statistics, this monolith is 57 ft tall (who does not know that?), it was completed in the year 983 AD (well, many may know that too).
The letters you see in the picture on either side of the statue are proclaiming that the statue was made on the orders of Chavunda Raya, a General of Ganga Kings in no less than 3 languages ( Kannnada, Tamizh, Marathi – Some claim it is Konkani).
And this happens to be the oldest written record in Marathi language (or Konkani, if you belive those two languages had seperated out in 10th century AD). Now this may be some trivia that not many people know
The other two scripts you see in the picture (Kannada, and Tamizh) have had a written records from much earlier times. So this edict at the feet of Bahubali, are not as significant to the history of these languages as it is to Marathi, and Konkani, and end up as just another number in Epigraphia Carnatica.
I have not seen many of these 7 seven wonders. So I thought why not make up my own list of Seven Wonders of India among the places I have seen?
Here is my list of Seven Wonders of India:
1. The caves and frescoes at Ajanta, Maharashtra (1st – 7th century AD)
2. The Chalukya monuments at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakallu , Karnataka (5th – 8th century AD)
3. The Kailasa (Cave) temple at Ellora, Maharashtra (850 AD)
4. Monuments at Sravana Belagola, including the statue of Bahubali, Karnataka (3rd – 12th century AD)
5. Brihadeeshwara temple, Tanjavoor, Tamil Nadu (11th century AD)
6. Hoysaleswara-Shantaleshwara twin temple at Halebeedu, Karnataka (1117 AD)
7. The monuments (including the Stupa) at Saranath, Uttar Pradesh (3rd century BC – 3rd century AD)
No wonder you see more places from Karnataka than any other part of India – Because that is what I have seen most. There are still other places which I have seen, that could have made it to the list; like Hampe, which is in the list from the SMS opinion poll. But IMO, the art in cave temples in Badami, and temples of Aihole, and Pattadakallu rank much higher than that of the monuments in Hampi!
After I wrote my previous post on samasyA pooraNam, I was talking to one of my friends, and we were discussing samasyA pooraNam in languages other than samskRuta. Even though there are far more such examples in samskRuta, I know a few in kannaDa too, and I thought I should write about those. The riddles of kanti-hampa all belong to this category.
Kanti (ಕಂತಿ) was a poetess, said to have been in the court of HoysaLa king vIra ballALa in dvAra samudra (ದ್ವಾರ ಸಮುದ್ರ, ಹಳೇಬೀಡು) during the 13th century. So I can easily claim I am part of Kanti’s heritage even though displaced in time by about 7+ centuries, since I come from the same region The picture at the top of my blog is the navaranga of the Hoysaleshwara temple in haLEbIDu (ಹಳೇಬೀಡು), and in all probability, Kanti has walked in the same passageways you see in the picture! There are some historians who doubt if it was a real person or if the imagination of some other witty kavi. Either way, the kanti-hampa problems are worth taking a look.
Kanti is said to be a contenmporary of Nagachandra, also called Abhinava Pampa, who composed Ramachandra charita purana. If she really existed, she would be one of the earliest women to compose poetry in kannaDa, after mahAdEviyakka (ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ).
If one believes the stories, Kanti got her extra-ordinary scholarship by drinking in a special formulation called jyOtishmatI taila. The story goes like this: after Kanti drank this potion, she could not tolerate the the burning sensation it produced in her throat and she jumped into a deserted well. Apparently, there wasn’t enough water to drown her in the well, and she started composing poetry right there, till people came to rescue her. This, I call a real cock-and-bull story created by some men who were jealous of a learned woman! In fact, a very similar story is also told about Nacharamma, another extra-ordinary woman who lead a migration of about 1000 families from Tamilnadu in historical times. More about that some other time.
Most of the poems of Kanti, are take the form of riddles posed by Nagachandra, and the solved by Kanti. It is said that Kanti always critisized, and found fault with Nagachandra, and his poetry. To really know what she felt about his poetry, Nagachandra once spread a rumour that he was dead. Hearing this, Kanti was grief stuck and came to Nagachandra’s house, and let out her feelings about his poetry, and what a great loss it would be for the world of poetry without him. This is a similar situaltion like the charamashlOka of King Bhoja, and we can’t be certain if it is true.
Some of what I am going to write, is from memory, so there could be lapses in terms of poetic meter, and some of the words may even be incorrect. However, they should be good enough to show the sparkle in Kanti’s poetry.
Once Nagachandra posed this question to Kanti.
ಸತ್ತವಳೆದ್ದು ತವರಿಗೆ ಪೋದಳೇನಿದು ವಿಚಿತ್ರಂ!
(What a surprise! The woman, long dead, got up and ran away!)
Kanti had a quick response.
ಅತ್ತೆಯ ಕಾಟವು ಅಧಿಕಂ ಮತ್ತಿನ ಸವತಿಯರ ಕಾಟ ನಾದಿನಿ ಬೈವಳು
ಪೆತ್ತಮಕ್ಕಳಳಲ್ಕೆ ಸಲೆಗಂಡ ದೂಸರಿಗಾರದೆ ಬೇಸತ್ತವಳೆದ್ದು ತವರಿಗೆ ಪೋದಳೇನಿದು ವಿಚಿತ್ರಂ?
Meaning: Woman who was fed up with wicked mother- in-law, scolding sister-in-law, horrible co-wives, crying kids and an intolerent husband walked away to her mothers house. What is the surprise in it?
Once Nagachandra gave a collection of words which are unrelated and asked Kanti to compose a poem including those words. The words included ಮಸೆಕಲ್ಲು (churning stone), ಕುದುರೆ (horse), ಬಾಚಿ, ಕೊಡಲಿ, ಉಳಿ (different metallic implements used by farmers and carpenters) and ಪೊಸ (new). What an incongruous set of words. Right? Wrong, as Kanti proves:
ಶಶಿಮುಖಿಗೆ ಕೊಡಲಿಕೆ ಆಕೆ
ಪೊಸವಣ್ಣಂ ಸವಿದು ನೋಡಿ ನಸುವುಳಿಯೆಂದಳ್
Meaning: While the mangoes were dropping down on the ground, when hit with stones, a woman (probably the maid) collected them all. When the fruits were given to the moon-faced woman, she tried them and said they were slightly tart!
There are many such more witty poems of Kanti. In one the line given is ಇಲಿಯಂ ತಿಂಬುದ ಕಂಡೆ ಜೈನರ ಮನೆಯೊಳ್ ( I saw mice being eaten in a jaina household). Anybody who knows jaina tradition knows the kind of vegitarianism they follow. Kanti completes the verse making it “ಸರಸಿಜಾಕ್ಷಿಯರ ಹಸ್ತದೊಳ್ ತಿಲತೈಲದಿ ಮಾಳ್ಪ ಚೆಕ್ಕಿಲಿಯಂ ತಿಂಬುದ ಕಂಡೆ ಜೈನರ ಮನೆಯೊಳ್” – I saw chakkulis, prepared tastily by frying in gingelly oil by lovely women, in a jaina household. Similarly, another line “ದನಮಂ ಕಡಿಕಡಿದು ಬಸದಿಗೆಳೆಯುತಿರ್ದರ್” – Cattle were being slaughtered and stcked in a basadi ( a jaina shrine) becomes “ಸಚ್ಚಂದನಮಂ ಕಡಿಕಡಿದು ಬಸದಿಗೆಳೆಯುತಿರ್ದರ್” – “Fragrant sandle wood, cut into pieces, was stacked in the basadi. ಇಸಮಂ ಸೇವಿಸಿ ಬಾಳ್ದರೇನಚ್ಚರಿಯೋ (What a surprise, they live even after consuming poison!) becomes a descripition of a delicious pAyasa – “ಪಾಯಿಸಮಂ ಸೇವಿಸಿ ಬಾಳ್ದರೇನಚ್ಚರಿಯೋ!, and ಗಜಮಂ ಕಟ್ಟಿ ಪೊತ್ತರು ಪೆಗಲೊಳ್ ( They wrapped an elephant, and carried on the shoulder) becomes a description of a worker in the Palace office, how he tallies the accounts, and carries the papers bundled on his shoulders to ends as “ಕಾಗಜಮಂ ಕಟ್ಟಿ ಪೊತ್ತರು ಪೆಗಲೊಳ್”.
We really have to regret that no other work of kanti has survived – except for these small snippets of her poetry. Whether she was a real woman, or concocted by someone later, these Kanti-Hampa riddles continue to entertain us even today.