22 May 2012

Temple in Nandi Hills

Recently I wrote about the charming Rang Bagh temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad which I had visited in February. Last week I was telling a friend about the scenic Bhoganandishwara temple just outside Bangalore in Nandi village at the base of the Nandi Hills. I had a look through my photographs of the temple and decided to showcase some of them here. (Above: a statue of Nandi, the namesake of the village and the surrounding hills.)

This temple was built in 800 AD by the Cholas. It features typical architectural elements found in South India Dravidian temples: the temple sanctum or ‘vimanam’ has a pyramidal roof, there’s a covered and pillared ‘mandapam’ or hall, and the temple enclosure forms a quadrangle with towers or ‘gopurams’ on each side. There’s also a temple ‘tank’ or pond, in this case built in the form of a step well. (Above: one of the temple gopurams.)

One of the things I love about this temple is the beautiful, intricate sculptures adorning the pillars of the mandapam. Here are a few examples.

A beautiful sacred tulsi plant and statue of Naga, the snake god.

Through a gopuram leading to the step well...

The step well with the Nandi Hills in the background.

This temple is not only exceptionally scenic and full of architectural treasures, it's also a quiet and peaceful getaway from the city.

15 May 2012

Music outside my window

“Do you know any Kannada songs?” This was a question put to me by my Kannada teacher.

The answer was yes, I know many Kannada songs. “Which ones?” she then asked.

How to tell her which songs I know? I have no clue of their titles, don’t understand the lyrics (apart from a few words) and am completely unfamiliar with the popular singers or Kannada movies.

So the only way to let her know which songs I’m familiar with was to hum them and insert the random words I recognise.

So it went something like this: “Ninindale, ninindale, la la la la la la la agide…”

Then there’s that one that’s a duet, with a man and a woman singing, that goes: “Kariya, I love you… la la la la la la la...

“How do you know all these songs?!” was her reaction. This question surprised me almost as much as the time she asked me how is it that I have Indian friends. I think she thinks I don’t get out of the house much.

How can I not know these songs? I hear them on the street, in shops, on the bus, in auto-rickshaws and taxis, and whenever a mobile phone rings. I don’t even have to leave the house to hear them. I hear the music from my window: from a parked car or the gym on the main road, and every time there’s some kind of habba going on in the neighbourhood.

With very little difficulty, I found these five Kannada hits on YouTube. I tested my husband’s Kannada song knowledge and he scored 4 out of 5.

So here, for your listening pleasure, is the soundtrack to my life in Bangalore:

12 May 2012

This morning outside my window

From my kitchen window I’ve been watching the progress of the construction of a new building over the past few months.

This morning I watched as this painter was putting some finishing touches on the newly painted façade. As you can see, he’s seated on a wooden platform attached to a rope which descends from the roof. On the roof is someone securing the rope.

The painter yelled “DOWN!” (in English) whenever he was ready to move down to the next level. As the rope gradually slackened, he would slowly ease down the façade. When he reached the spot where he wanted to be, he yelled “BAS!” (enough).

He looked like he was in a precarious position, sitting on that wobbly platform and suspended in the air like that. I imagine he had complete trust in the person holding the rope!

This used to be the view from my kitchen window. Soon I’ll have new neighbours watching me through their windows!