Thursday 30 January 2014

A once thriving City that is now an obscure village

What do Banavasi, Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Halebidu and Belur, Somanathapura, Manyakheta or Malkhed, Mayurkhindi, Talakad, Manne have in common with Gundlavaddigeri.
Gundlavaddigeri is a small village, just a little over a hundred kilometers from the City of Hospet in Bellary taluk. It has a population of less than a thousand people and we at the post are sure that its name has never been heard of by a majority of people.
But what is it that makes us place its name along with well-known places such as Banavasi, Badami, Belur and other places.
Banavasi, as all of us know, was the capital of the Kadambas (345-525), the first Kannadiga dynasty of our State. The beauty of Banavasi was such that even Kalidasa, the greatest Sanskrit poet of all times, admired it and mentioned it in his work, Meghadoota.
Kalidasa had been sent to Banavasi as an Ambassador of the Guptas. Today, Banavasi has a few temples that speak of the glory of  the Kadambas.
Similarly, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal are well-known for their Chalukyan temples. Badami, which was earlier known as Vatapi,  was the capital of the powerful Chalukyas (543-763) and it has some of the most magnificent temples and cave temples of the Chaluyka period, some of which were built by Pulakeshi (609-642), who is often particularly described as one of the greatest Emperors of Karnataka.
Talakad was the capital of the Gangas (400-1000) and it was one of the major cities of its times until it was sacked by the Hoysala Emperor, Vishnuvardhana. Today, Talakad is nothing but ruins in a sand.  
Similarly, Belur, Halebidu and Somanathapura are renowned for their exquisite temples belonging to the Hoysalas (1026-1343). All these places have ruins of temples.
Malkhed or Manyakheta and Mayurkhindi were once the capitals of  the Rashtrakutas (753-982) who ruled over large parts of south and Central India.
All these centres mentioned in earlier paragraphs were once known as major cities or urban conglomerates and each of them have had their tryst with history. Even today, they are in the news and they attract hordes of tourists and visitors. But how does Gundlavaddigeri get into this list of illustrious cities.
Gundlavaddigeri was earlier in Bellary district and it is today placed in Koppal district.
Archaeologists and historians now have discovered that Gundlavaddigeri was one of the biggest cities of its times in Karnataka and this was prior to the establishment of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336 by Hakka and Bukka.
A 12th century stone deed in Halegannada (old Kannada), belonging to the Vijaynagara dynasty and some weapons used by people have been unearthed in the village.
The old Kannada inscription says that a lake was built in Gundlavaddigeri in memory of Yankubi, son of Kumbara Ponnayya. The inscription says the lake was constructed for  irrigation purposes.
The inscription has three lovely figures, a wheel of eight swords,  cow and a calf, which are the symbols of Shaivism.
Research has shown that Gundlavaddigeri was a big city before the founding of Vijaynagara. Even today, the village boasts of scores of  dry lakes and this is a testimony to the extent of the City that once Gundlavaddigeri was.
The stone inscription, measuring four feet by three feet, stood facing the North with a four-line script in Halegannada.
Gundlavaddigeri is surrounded by Gangavathi taluk towards North, Sandur taluk towards South, Koppal taluk towards west and  Hagaribommanahalli taluk towards South. All these taluks headquarters too were big cities at one point of time but while they are all fairly well-known even today, Gundlavaddigeri is even today an obscure and forgotten village.
Today, Gundlavaddigeri is surrounded by Bellary, Gangavati, Hospet, Sandur, Mundargi and Tekkalakota. Kannada is the local language here and there are less than 150 houses. The total area of Gundlavaddigeri is just 629 hectares and compare this to the thriving town it was more than nine hundred years ago.

What does this post tell us or rather what does it teach us. It tells us that just as centuries passed by, cities rose and fell and some like Gundlavaddigeri fell into obscurity, never to rise again.  

Wednesday 29 January 2014

India's only steam loco shed

This is as near Delhi as it comes but lakhs of tourists and visitors tend to either give it a miss or they are totally unaware of this unique museum.
The museum is easily accessible by both road and rail and at one point of time it was an important junction when metre gauge railway lines dotted the length and breadth of the country.
Today, this junction stands mute testimony to the bygone era of the Railways. However, it has not entirely cut off the umbilical cord connecting to the past. It still has strands that tell us of its rich and nostalgic connection to the past and this is in the form of  India’s only Heritage Steam Locomotive Museum.
The museum is located in the only surviving steam loco shed in India and it showcases some of Indian Railway’s last surviving steam locomotives.
The loco shed and the heritage museum is in Rewari in Haryana which today is a bustling major junction for trains on the broad gauge.
The loco shed in Rewari, which is just 80 kms from Delhi, was constructed more than a century ago and it was located on the erstwhile Delhi-Peshawar line (Peshawar is now in Pakistan). For decades after it was commissioned in 1893, Rewari was the only loco shed in north India. At one point of time, it housed 85 steam engines and a staff of 500 to care for it. Today it has a dozen engines and a staff of 25.
After Independence, the loco shed played an important part and it was after steam engines were phased out by 1990, that the decline began. It was only in December 2002 that the Railways under Nitesh Kumar, now Chief Minister of Bihar and then the Railway Minister, decided to revive Rewari loco shed as a heritage museum.
Since then, the museum has been showcasing many of India’s  magnificent steam giants. What is more, the museum when it opened on October 9, 2010, also lets us take a peek into Railway equipments and devices, including the old signalling system, gramophone and even seats.
There is even a huge 30-tonne steam crane that the Railways used during earlier years. Another exhibit is a special carriage with a renovated restaurant car which was meant for Edward, Prince of Wales. This was built when the Prince visited India in 1921.
What makes the loco shed more unique is that the engines are also available for live demonstrations. An engine takes visitors around the shed for a once in lifetime experience.
The Rewari Steam Loco Shed is situated on the Delhi-Jaipur railway line and it once had the distinction of being called the largest metre gauge shed in India.
Rewari was first connected by Railway in 1873 when the first metre gauge track in India was opened between Delhi and this place. The first metre gauge line at Rewari was converted to broad gauge in 1995 an since then all the six major railway lines are broad gauge.  
Thankfully, the new developments have not erased the old from Rewari and the loco shed is looked after by many employees who are all veterans in the steam engine upkeep. Many of these engines can be easily identified as they have appeared in many Bollywood films such as Amir Khan’s Rang De Basanti, Gadar: Ek Prem Kahani starring Sunny Doel and Amisha Patel, Guru starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai and Gandhi-My father and Veer Zaara starring Salman Khan.
The Railway engines have names such as Virat, Angadh, Rewari King, Akbar, Sindh, Sahib, Sultan, Azad and Sher-e-Punjab. Akbar, a WP model steam engine, ran on the Delhi-Kolkata main line. Virat is an imported American engine. It is a AWE 22907 of 1943 vintage, built at the Baldwin Locomotive Co. Philadelphia, This is one of the biggest engines not only in Rewari but in India.
The Sher-E-Punjab saw a lot of service in south India. This WL 15005 was originally manufactured by Vulcan Foundry UK in 1955. It was based at the Shoranur shed and then at Bhatinda, Ludhiana and finally at Firozpur shed.
The Rewari King is the only surviving and working class YP locomotive still in working condition. Though 870 of them were built between 1952 and 1972, this is the only one in operation.  Sindh, Sahib and Sultan are 3 YG class locos.
However, the oldest among them is Angadh, a broad gauge loco vintage IRS class XE 3634, manufactured in 1930. It came to Rewari from the National Rail Museum in Delhi, where it was donated by the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board. The MP electricity Board operated the engine at its thermal plant at Kobra for several decades.
Angadh like other broad gauge engines consumes 25,000 liters water and 18 tonnes of coal. Compare this to a metre gauge engine which consumes 12,000 liters water and 12 tonnes of coal. Impressive as these figures may be, the efficiency of a steam locomotive is just 38 per cent as against 65 per cent in a diesel and 98 per cent in electric locomotives.
Among the workmen engaged to keep the steam giants operating are painters, fitters, turners, boiler makers, machinists, loco cleaners, boiler-maker khalasis and fitter khalasis. All of them work in tandem to get the steam engines fit and going.
The workmen clean the engine parts, refill the huge boilers with water and empty coal from fireboxes. Every Saturday at midnight, the ritual of  firing up the engine takes place. It takes hours to get the engine up and running. If it is a broad gauge engine, it can take upto eight hours to get the engine to start.
If the engine is Angadh or any of the other four broadgauge engines, 2 tonnes of coal and 20 kilograms of wood are filled into the firebox. Then, jute grass soaked in kerosene oil is put into the firebox along with a lit matchstick. This is on Saturday.
On Sunday (next day), the engine driver of the locomotive lifts the regulator handle and the engine then is ready for its journey. The shed is open from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m.
The loco shed also houses a cafeteria, library and museum.
No entry fee is charged to see these steam engines.
There is a rail package tour from Delhi to Rewari and more details can be had from the Railways.  

Monday 27 January 2014

The American who introduced apples into India

He was not an Indian. Nor was he a European. He was an American. He had come to India to work as a volunteer in a leper home. Yet, he actively participated in the Freedom Movement of India. He was also the only foreigner who signed the Congress Manifesto. Infact, he even attended several Congress sessions, which in those days gave a lead to the people yearning for freedom.
He also fought against bonded labour and compelled the British to outlaw the practice. Today, he is just not remembered for his fight for India’s Independence, but as the man who introduced apples in Himachal Pradesh. Then, these apples were known as Red Delicious American. Now, they are famous as Himachal appeals and they have their own brand in the market.
He was a wealthy American Quaker-who set sail for India aged twenty two. Once in India, he worked with great zeal and enthusiasm and later became a Hindu and even took a Hindu name. 
This man is Satyananda Stokes, who was born as Samuel Evens Stokes.
Born on August 16, 1882, to a distinguished and wealthy Quaker family in Philadelphia, his father was a successful businessman and also the founder-owner of the Stokes and Parish Machine Company, the leading manufacturer of  elevators in the USA.
Samuel could not acquire any professional skill and he appeared totally disinterred in his father’s business.
In 1904, Samuel left for India to work at a leper colony at Subathu in Shimla Hills of Himachal Pradesh. Though his parents opposed his decision, Samuel decided to set sail for India.
In India, Samuel met his calling and he began living with the villagers. In 1912, he married Agnes, a local Rajput Christian girl, and purchased a farm. In 1916, he then decided to improve his farm and he began cultivating a new variety of apples developed by the Stark Brothers of US in 1915.
If the Stark Brothers called their variety of apples grown in their nursery in Louisiana as the Red Delicious, Samuel planted them in his farm at Barobagh in Thanedar in the winter of 1916 and this was the birth of the famous Himachal apples
The apple trees took root and the first apple crop was harvested in 1926. Samuel then encouraged other farmers to take up apple cultivation.    
In 1932, he converted to Hinduism and took the name Satyananda, while Agnes became Priyadevi.
Meanwhile, he had started taking active interest in the freedom movement. He was the only American to become a member of the AICC and alongwith Lala Lajpat Rai, he represented Punjab at the AICC session. He was also the only non-Indian to sign the Congress manifesto in 1921, calling upon Indians to quit government service.
The British put Samuel into jail on charges of sedition. Samuel thus became the only American political prisoner in the freedom struggle. He died on May 14, 1946 in Shimla. Ironically, many  leaders had gathered at Shimla to discuss India’s future constitutional framework with the visiting Cabinet Mission from England.
He was cremated in Shimla and his ashes later taken to Kotgarh.

Though apple growers of Kashmir and Himachal still remember Samuel, the Government seems to have forgotten him. There is no mention of this great man or his contribution in Shimla. Indeed, there is not even a statue. 

Sunday 26 January 2014

The gift of Life

There was news a few days ago that Dwayne Johnson, the WWE wrestler-turned actor, had gifted his housekeeper, Esperanza, a new Ford Edge car
The gift came to light after Dwayne took to Twitter, saying that the gift was for his housekeeper as, she has cared after their home with for ten years.
The gift may have created news on the net, but does it match up to the gift a diamond merchant form India gave to his employees. This was sometime in December  and a Surat-based diamond merchant had gifted brand new Chevrolet-Beat as incentive to 70 of his employees for achieving their annual targets.
But what makes this gift all the more poignant is that several of the Surat diamond merchant’s employees  do not even know how to drive.
The diamond merchant, Savji Dholakia, had an year ago, set specific targets to all his diamond artisans. Savji employs 2,000 artisans and of them 100 achieved their target. Savji gifted cars to 70, while the remaining 30 opted for cash.
The cash wasgiven to some employees as some of them had to repay home loans, while others wanted to buy gold jewellery for their wives.
 Dholakia has a diamond-cutting and polishing unit at Varachha in Surat.
This post is not about gifts we give ourselves or to our friends and family. It is about what people give to their employees. One of the earliest such act in India is by Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, during the Mahabharata period when he sees Karna in tears and magnanimously gifts him the Kingdom of Anga and makes him its ruler.
True, die hard critics may say Duryodhana gifted the Kingdom for a purpose. They may say that he anted Karna on his side and he saw him as a champion who could take on the redoubtable Arjuna. Whatever it may be, the fact that Duryodhana elevated Karna to the ranks of a King ought to be appreciated.
There are several other such tales in India, which has a huge storehouse of such acts. Our epics-Ramayana and Mahabharata, Puranas, Shastras and history is full of such instances.
A unique case of a gift is by a Haridasa from Karnataka, Gopala Dasa (1722-1762), whose aradhane was celebrated yesterday. He  gifted forty years of his life to Jagannatha Dasa of Manvi after his guru Vijaya Dasa asked him to do so.
Gopala Dasa not only gifted his life but also took on the pain of Jagannatha Dasa.

Jagannatha Dasa was suffering from severe stomach ache. When Gopala Dasa gifted him his life, he also took upon himself the pain of Jagannatha Dasa. Till he met his end, Gopala Dasa suffered from severe stomach ache. But there was no murmur of dissatisfaction or repentence.  Gopala Dasa continued with his life with equanimity. This is perhaps the greatest gift of all-the gift of life which is unparalled anywhere in the annals of world history.      

Saturday 25 January 2014

The sword making factory

Prithviraj Chavan is one of the legendary rulers of India and his name is remembered even today for his heroism and chivalry.
While much has been written about the life and times of  this Hindu emperor and his legendary enemity with Jaichand, who ultimately had his revenge of  defeating Prithviraj Chavan by inviting Mahmud Ghori to attack India, not much is known about Hansi, the town in Haryana today which is very closely associated with him.
Legend has it that Hansi once had a company manufacturing swords and that the swords were exported to almost all countries of what is today known as the Middle East.
The sword manufacturing company was started by none other than  Prithviraj Chauhan himself. It goes without saying that the swords were so fine and so sharp that they were in great demand.
Prithviraj Chavan himself had in his possession many swords manufactured by this company. He also equipped his army with these swords.
Since the swords could not be made easily available, Prithviraj Chavan set up the manufacturing unit within the fort at Hansi. The fort survives to this day, though all traces of the sword manufacturing facility have all but disappeared.
The fort encompasses 30 acres and it is square in shape. It has  security posts in all the four corners of the fort. This fort was later strengthened by Emperor Drupad, son of Anangapal.
Emperor Dhrupad too established a sword manufacturing factory in this fort and, hence, it came to be known as Asigarh.
In the ancient and medieval period, Asirgarh became an important military centre and 80 forts across the area were controlled from here. During the period of Firoz Shan Tuglaq, an underground tunnel was constructed connecting the present Hansi to Hisar.
The gate of  the fort is carved with figures of gods. Besides, paintings of Gods, Goddesses and birds can also be seen on the walls of the fort. The entry gate of this fort was built by George Thomas, an Irish soldier.
The ancient statues of  Mahavira and Gautama Buddha are placed in front of the fort . These statues are priceless.
The Barsi (South) Gate in the centre of the bazaar of Hansi was constructed in 1304 by Alauddin Khilji.
Hansi has five gates of entry – Delhi Gate (East), Hisar Gate (West), Gosain Gate (North-west), Barsi Gate (South) and Umra Gate (South west). The altitude of the town increases after entry from any of the gates.
The Sikhs captured Hansi in 1778, and established a Sikh State for some time until the Marathas captured it.
Locals say that the town was founded by Hansivati also known as Ambavati, who was the daughter of Prithviraj Chauhan. Some others say it was founded by King Anangpal Vihangpal Tomar for his guru Hansakar and this was sometime in 957 AD.
In 1192, after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan by Mohammed Gauri, the Hindu rule at Hansi ended. This was the time when non-Muslims were not permitted to settle down here. It was only during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Shahajan, that Hindus were permitted to come back to Hansi.

In 1705, the Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, came to Hansi and inspired the Hindus to revolt. In 1707, the Sikh leader, Banda Bahadur, attacked Hansi andmeted out punishment to the Muslims. Hansi then came under the Marathas in 1736. The Marathas lost it to the Afghans after the third Battle of Panipat in 1761.

Friday 24 January 2014

The man who did not want to become a Peetadhipathi

 This is an excellent but short composition on Sri Krishna by Vasudeva Vittala, a friend of Gopala Dasa and his contemporary.
Vasudeva Vittala was a disciple of Bhuvenendra Theertha and he had taken Sanyasa at the instance of Gopala Dasa. He was to occupy the peetha of  the Sri Raghavendra swamy Matha of Mantralaya but since he was devoted to Haridasa Sampradaya, he decided to give up the idea of becoming a Sanyasi. However, he continued as a Bidi or independent Swamy and came to be known as IG or Aijee Swamy.
He got the name Aijee Swamilgalu as he was born at Aiji as Venkataramancharya. His father, Venkata Narasimhacharya, was a well-known Sudha pandit.
The Brindavana of Aijee Swamigalu is in Venisomapura and this is a small village about 70 kolometres from Mantralaya and it is in Andhra Pradesh. The Brindavana, the temple of Gopala Krishna and another temple were flooded when the Tungabhadra overflowed the banks in 2009. This was the time Mantralaya too was flooded.
Aijee Swamigalu is also known as Vyasa Tatwajna Theertha and he consecrated an idol of  Gopala Krishna in Venisomapura.
Vyasa Tatwajna Theertha has written a number of compositions on Krishna. A disciple of Bhuvenandra Theertha (1785-1799) of Raghavendra Swamy Matha, he decided against taking up position as Peetadhipathi after Bhuvanendra Theertha.
He was a close associate and friend of Goapala Dasa and it was this Haridasa who inspired  Vyasa Vittala Dasa to take Sanyasa. Infact, it was Gopala Dasa who gave him this ankita nama. One of the most prominent disciples of Vyasa Tatwajna Theertha is Madanoor Vishnu Theertha.
He has written several songs on Rayaru. When he first visited Tirumala,, he found the entire hill covered with Saligrama. Unable to bring himself to place his feet on the hill, he climbed the hill on his knees and then had a darshana of Srinivasa.
This is one of his small but beautiful composition on Krishna.

bandakriShNa Chandadinda banda nODe I
gOpavRundadinda nandisuta banda nODe ll

GOvamEvaneeva banda nODe I
dEvatAvAdyagaLinda banda nODe ll

pApapOpagOparUpa banda nODe I
tApalOpalEpalOpa banda nODe ll

BhUsurasuKasUsuta banda nODe I
vAsudEva viTtalatA banda nODe ll

Thursday 23 January 2014

Flyover to beat a ban

Even as the Kerala Government is making desperate attempts to see that the ban on night traffic through the Bandipur forests are lifted, nothing much has come of it.
Karnataka, which had earlier banned movement of traffic on the road connecting it to Kerala through its Bandipur forests, has been exploring avenues to resolve the ticklish issue.
Karnataka has promised an alternative route to Kerala it has not been well-received by Kerala and its traders and businessmen. Kerala continues to insist that the best and fastest mode of transport is through the forest route alone.
Karnataka, on its part, is concerned over the rising animal deaths due to increased road traffic in the forest. It says a large number of animals, including a tiger, have been killed by vehicles over the years. It says just between 2004 to 2007,  no less than 91 mammals, 56 birds and 75 reptiles were crushed by vehicles on the Bandipur forest road.
Several measures to slow down vehicles on the forest stretch, construction of road humps imposing speed limits, increasing the watch and ward staff have not met with the desired success.
Now, traders, tourist operators and regular commercial users of the road have come with a unique alternative to resolve the imbroglio. This idea, perhaps, would be the first of its kind in India.
The transport tourist operators have mooted the idea of a flyover covering the forest to link the two states. The flyover would be as long as eighteen kilometers and what is more it would completely eliminate the need for any measure to control, monitor or even regulate road traffic.
The flyover, these operators say, would allow the animals the much needed space on the ground, while permitting unrestricted and unrestrained movement of vehicles above the ground. Thus, as against the present ban, the flyover would facilitate 24 hour movement of vehicles.        
The idea is still in infancy but the traders are sure that it will take shape after the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the night ban on movement of vehicles.
The night ban was first put in place by the Chamarajanagar administration following increasing deaths of animals caused by speeding vehicles.
This ban was upheld by the Karnataka High Court and it is now before the Supreme Court. The Karnataka High Court had upheld the closure of vehicular traffic through the two highways passing through Bandipur on March 9, 2010.
About 13 kilometres of national highway (NH) 212 and 20 kms of NH 67 that connect Karnataka with Kerala pass through the core area of  Bandipur forests. The Karnataka High Court had banned traffic between 9 p.m., and 6 a.m., on these roads.
The matter is at present pending before the Supreme Court as Special Leave petition (SLP) 13838/2010, 24865 and 24866/2012.
Transport and tourist operators and traders claim they are incurring heavy losses due to the night ban on traffic. They claim that the  cost required for construction of flyover is much less when compared to losses incurred by them and also the loss of animal life.
The flyover would cost in the region of Rs. 1,200 crores and the cost would have to be shared between the two states of Karnataka and Kerala and the Central Government.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Government had already released Rs. 48 crore for the upgradation of the alternative road passing through  Hunsur-Gonikoppa-Kutta-Kartikulam, which is only 30 km longer than the Bandipur forest road and this road can be used at night too. The upgradation of the alternative road is nearly complete, he added. Similarly, the discussion on Nanjangud-Nilambur railway line project is before the National Green Tribunal, Chennai.
(Application No. 156/2013).

Wednesday 22 January 2014

The story of the Chakratheertha

This is the first of the 732 Hanuman idols that the venerable Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1447-1539) consecrated. The idol is in Hampi or Vijayanagar and it has an interesting history.
Vyasa Raja was he Raja Guru of  Vijayanagar. He not only stayed in Vijayanagar and advised the Emperor, but also held the position of Chancellor of Vijayanagar University.
Vyasa Raja and his disciple, Purandara Dasa, were inseparable. Purandara was always at the beck and call of Vyasa Raja, whom he acknowledged as his guru. When Vyasa Raja preached, Purandara sang and danced.
Whenever Vyasa Raja stayed at Vijayanagar, he used to walk from the Virupaksha Temple to Chakratheertha where the Kodandarama Temple is situated. This temple is believed to be the precise spot where Rama crowned Sugreeva King of Kishkinda after killing Vali.
Vyasa Raja always had his bath at the Chakratheerta. He then meditated and prayed at a rocky hill adjacent to the Chakratheerta.
Chakratheertha had a special place in the heart of Vyasa Raja as the swirling waters here form the image of Rama. Lakshmana and Sita.   
One day, a monkey came and sat on a rock where ha had drawn it with angara or charcoal. It disappeared into a rock soon after Vyasa Raja completed his pooje. It vanished from the surface of the rock. This happened several times (Legend says it occurred twelve times over a period of twelve days) and for several days. One evening, Vyasa Raja prayed to Prana Devaru and requested him to stay back on the rock and bless people.
Vyasa Raja then composed the Yantrodharaka Hanuman stotra. He then encircled the image with yantra. This is called the Shatkona Yantra or Hexagon which is also known as the Vayu Yantra. Thereafter, the image of the monkey then remained on the rock.
This place is holy as it is here that Hanuman met Rama when he came with Lakshmana to Kishkinda searching for Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana.
Today, this area is better known as Yantrodharaka Hanuman. This is the place where Vyasa Raja meditated. This is also the place where Purandara Dasa used to give Hastodaka for Prana Devaru.
It was the Vijayanagar Emperor, Tammaraya, who constructed the Yantrodharaka temple on the rock. He also built the steps leading to the temple.
The temple has attracted Madhwa seers and Haridasas right from the time of  Vyasa Raja. One of the three sons of Purandara Dasa called Madhwapathi Dasa, worshipped it daily. In fact there is story that Madhwapathi Dasa as a child used to return home in Hampi only after the Yantrodharaka Hanuman took the Hastodaka prepared by his father.
Vyasa Raja has composed a song on Yantrodharaka Hanuman and it is called by the same name. This is one of the few temples of Hanuman in a sitting position.  
Raghavendra Swamy, the next avatar of Vyasa Raja, came to Chakratheertha and worshipped the Hanuman temple before proceeding to Nava Brindavana.  Vijaya Dasa, who is believed to Madhwapathi Dasa the son of Purandara Dasa in his earlier birth and also an amsha of Brighu Muni, has composed a beautiful poem on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman.
Surendra Theertha and Vijayendra Theertha of the Rayara Matha, Vadiraja Theertha of  Sode, Srinivasa Theertha and Rama Theertha of Sosale Vyasaraja Matha, Kanaka Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Gopala Dasa, Guru Jagannatha Dasa, Mohana Dasa have worshipped the idol at different points of time.

The composition by Vijaya Dasa on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman is a suladi and it goes like this:

Yantrodharaka Hanuma Surasarvabhouma
Yantradharaka Yenage Manasinolage
Yantravahakana Dayadindha
Sakalantaryamiyagi Characharadaliya
Tantravanu Nadesuva Mantri
Eetanu Kano Swatantrapurusha
Vijayavithalana Nijaa Bhakta
Antravilladae Thana Stutiparana Poreva.

One of the most famous disciples of Vijaya Dasa was Gopala Dasa. He too has written a beautiful song on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman.

Idu yeno Charita Yantrodhara
Idu Yeno Charita
Sri Padumanabhana Dhoota
Sada Kala Sarvara Hrudayantargatanagi
Varidhi Gospada Nerante
Dhira Yogasana Dhariyagipudu
Durula Kouravaranu Vara Gadeyali
Konda Karadali Japamale Dharisi Yenisuvudu
Hena Matagalanu Vanili Taridantha
Jnanavantane Hege Mounavagipudu
Sarvavyapaka Neenu Poorvika Devane
Sarvana Pitha Bandu Parvata Sereadu
Gopalavitalage Nee Pretiya Mantriyu
Vyapara Madade Ee Pari Kuli.

The Chakratheertha is one of the most holy spots for pilgrims in Hampi. It is this very place where Vishnu got his Chakra. Since the Tungabhadra flows nearby, it got the name Chakratheertha.
Near the Chakratheertha is the Purandara Mantapa and across the river is Nava Brindavana, which houses the nine brindavana of Madhwa saints. Nava Brindavana is also the place where the first ever Brindavana of a Madhwa saint was built and this is of Padmanabha Theertha, one of the four direct disciples of  Madhwacharya.
The Brindavana of  another of the four direct disciples of Madhwacharya-Narahari Theertha- is also located nearby. His Brindavana is not part of the Nava Brindavana complex. Narahari Theertha has ascended the Madhwa peetha after Padmanabha Thertha.
Chakratheertha has a number of smaller temples and many sculptures that are scatter across the rocks. Some of them include the small Kotilinga which is sculpted on a rock, avatars of Vishnu sculpted on a rock, sculptures of Lakshmi Narasimha and Anantha Padmanabha on boulders and a few paintings belonging to the Stone Age.   
Coming back to the Yantrodharaka Hanuman, Vyasa Raja travelled all over the Vijayanagar Kingdom and consecrated 731 more idols of Hanuman after this one at Hampi. Of the 732, he consecrated more than 360 in Penukonda itself.
Chakratheertha can be described as Hampi’s most sacred bathing Ghat and a point for crossing the swirling Tungabhadra on a coracle.
Nearby is the Vyasaraja Temple which once formed part of the famed Lokapavani University or Hampi University of which Vyasa Raja was the Chancellor. This University had 10,000 students.         
Today, we can see a majority of the Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman in the states of  Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Some of the prominent Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman in and around Bangalore are the Gali Anjaneya on Mysore Road, the Kannaspatre Anjaneya or Hanuman in front of Minto Eye Hospital, the Kote Anjaneya in fort near City Market, the Hanuman Temple at Kengal on Bangalore-Mysore Road and the Anjaneya Temple at Honnenahalli near Yelahanka on the Doddaballapur road.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

The advocate who became a Haridasa

He was born and brought up in an orthodox Madhwa family. He became an advocate and a very popular one at that. He had a good practice and he gave it up after he became a Haridasa.
Today, he is more known as one of the persons who played a leading part in compiling, protecting and bringing to light many compositions of he Haridasas of Karnataka along with the scripts.
This man was from Raichur district and he was born in devout Madhwa family where discourses on Shastras and Puranas were held every day.
He was also a freedom fighter and he was put behind the bars for reading about the freedom movement and defying the censorship laws. 
This man is none other than Gorebala  Hanumantha Rao who was born in Lingasur of Raichur district in 1893. Hanumantha Rao was born in Gorebala village to Venkata Rao and Balamma.
Venkata Rao was working as a clerk and he gave good education to his son who then went on to graduate in law. He took up law as his good friend Swami Rao who later became Varadesha Vittala Dasa and was the son of  Rama Dasa ( Sri Pranesha Vittala), was a advocate.
Soon, Gorebala  Hanumantha Rao became a famous advocate. He practised law for some time before he became a disciple of Guru Jagannatha Vittala Dasa of Kosigi.
Guru Jagannatha Dasa initiated Hanumantha Rao into the Haridasa fold and gave him the ankita Sundara Vittala. Once Hanumantha Rao received the ankita, he stopped practicing law. He then turned his attention to Haridasa Sahitya.
He also earnestly translated Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Pancharatna, Puranas and Brahmasutra Bashyas from Sanskrit to Kannada. He then started Sri Varadendra Haridasara Sahitya Mandali. 
The Mandali collected many manuscripts of Haridasa Krithis belonging to Sripadaraja, Purandara Dasa, Raghavendra swamy, Vijaya Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa and his disciples, Vasudeva Vittala Dasa, Guru Vijaya Vittala Dasa and many others.
In 1957, he started Karnataka Haridasa Sahithya, a magazine, that was published for two years before being discontinued. He was felicitated in 1964 for his role in popularizing Kannada by the Raichur Kannada Sangha.
Even today, old timers of  Lingasugur recall how Mr. Rao used to travel from one house to another selling books on Madhwa philosophy and Haridasa Sahitya. His only aim was to popularise these books among the people and ensure that the teachings and compositions were not forgotten.
He passed away in 1969.  

Monday 20 January 2014

George:Not of the Jungle but King of Haryana

He is perhaps the only Irishman to have ruled a Kingdom and he did so only for a few years before the ambition of expanding his empire did him in.
He was also the most successful General in India during the later part of the 18th century and after he had served various Indian chiefs, he went on to found a kingdom in India which did not survive beyond a few years.
A mercenary, he started life on a ship and deserted it when the vessel docked at Madras. Over time, he rose to become one of the most successful generals of his times and he had a dedicated band of more than 2000 men who helped him in carving out a small kingdom in the north of India.
He always carried a six-pound cannon on him and he used it on his enemies and adversaries to devastating effect. He also had a bunch of  dedicated soldiers whose job it was to keep his muskets loaded and primed to fire. Since, bullets always kept raining continuously from his rifles and six pounder, his enemies rarely preferred to stand and fight.
He always was at the head of his army and personally led the battles. This gave him a fearsome reputation and he used this to good effect when he founded the Kingdom of  Hansi in Haryana more than two hundred years.
The Kingdom, which comprised what is part of Haryana today, rose and died with him. He was the first and only King of Irish descent and the only Christian to rule over the very areas where the once mighty Hindu Emperor Prithviraj Chavan had established his empire.
Hansi was also home to Prithiviraj Chavan and to a host of other kings such as Feroz Shah of the Tughlaq dynasty of Delhi and it was also the place where Guru Govind Singh and silk rebel Banda Bahadur had led rebellions against the Muslims. 
This man was none other than George Thomas, an Irish adventurer who rose from the ranks of a ordinary sailor working in a ships; cabin to become an independent king, making Hansi his capital.

Born in Roscrea, Tipperary in Ireland in 1756, George had a roller coaster life in India and he dies in 1802 in Barhampur.
George’s father was a poor Catholic tenant farmer near Roscrea and he died when George was still a child. George took up work as a labourer on the docks at Youghal.
He joined the British Navy and sailed to India. He deserted the ship when it docked in Madras in 1781. He then decided to go into the plains of India and make an independent living.
Though an illiterate, he led a group of Pindaris north to Delhi by 1787, where he took service under Begum Samru of Sardhana. He distinguished himself in April 1788 in the action of Gokulgarh.
Driven out of the Begum’s court by the French, particularly by a French officer, Levassoult, who soon supplanted our George to become the Begum’s favourite, he took up service under Appa Rao, a powerful Maratha chieftain. By then, admiring Indians had labelled George as Jaharai Jung or the Warlike George.  
His prowess as a man who loved fighting and as a man who personally led his men into even the most adversarial contests won him the loyalty of the men he commanded. If his enemies feared him, his men swore by him.   
He had a band of fiercely loyal personal bodyguard of  horsemen who were the ruffians he had met and interacted with during the Pindari days. He also employed a squad of musket loaders whose job it was to see that George never out of a weapon.
When Appa Rao died, George decided not to hire himself and set out to carve out his own Kingdom. He looked around Delhi and found Haryana to be the perfect place. Abandoned by the Mughals and frequently devastated by wars with the Afghans, the land which is part of Haryana now was like a ripe apple waiting to be plucked.
George then decided it was high time that the region got its King. In 1797, with 2,000 troops at his command, he went around Hansi and declared himself King.
He repaired the fort of Hansi, built a new Gate which stand even today and sent out his soldiers to police the roads. He promised growers and farmers protection provided they accepted him as King and paid tax. The grateful farmers, who had been reeling under lawlessness for decades, accepted.
George then invited masons, carpenters, builders, craftsmen and others to settle down in his Kingdom. He then went on to build a mint to issue coins in his own name. So George was the first and last white King of Hansi from 1798 and his reign lasted a little more than two years.
By 1800, George of Ireland had settled down to become King George of Hansi. His Kingdom was bound by Patiala in the north, Bhatti in the north west, Bikaner in the West, Jaipur in the south, Dadari in the south east and Rohtak and Panipat.
He soon became ambitious and decided to extend his Kingdom and his eye fell on the Sikh states that surrounded Hansi and the Rajput Kingdoms.
He first took on the Maharaja of Jaipur and met his huge army at Fathepur. Though vastly outnumbered, King George ploughed into the Rajput ranks and went on firing his six pounder. Legend has it that he held off a fierce Rajput attack of two hundred and more Rajputs with his favourite six pounder.
By George, our Irish King of Hansi won the battle. Today, historians who take a look at his graph, rate George much higher than the Englishman Robert Clive or his French rival Dupliex.
Wherever he took his men, he tasted victory. In January 1800, he invaded Patiala and plundered the city. He then attacked Sirsa and expelled the Bhatti kings. It was then that Man Singh, the King of Jind, sought the services of the French General, Pierre Cuillier-Perron (1753–1834), better known as Perron, to tackle George.
Perron was the commander of the Maratha forces in north India. He to had an axe to grind against King George. He formed a confederacy of Sikhs and Marathas and marched against George in 1801.
George, by then, appeared to have lost his appetite for a fight. He was defeated. His body and mind too deteriorated and it appears that more than a decade of tough wars had exhausted him.

Though captured, he was treated with respect and given safe conduct to return to his own people. However, he died near Murshidabad in Bengal, August, 22, 1802 aged 46.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Purandara Dasa's Lakshana

The pioneer of Carnatic music Purandara Dasa (1484-1564) was a prolific composer and he has written in many genres. He is believed to have composed scores of Lakshana Geeta of which only a handful have survived.
For Purandara Dasa, the Lakshya or Lakshana geete was the most suitable medium for beginners to learn music. He, therefore, kept the geete simple and even today it is sung from beginning to end without any variation or repetition. 
When Purandara Dasa decided to simplify Carnatic music and make it easier for students to learn, he first went about composing the geete in a medium tempo. He also ensured that there was not much complication in the raga, taala or swara. 
Generally, the lakshana geete does not have pallavi, anupallavi and charana as its tempo is uniform. This makes the Lakshana a continuous composition.
Today, these compositions have historical and academic value, as many of the ragas contained therein have become obscure. Though many of his Lakshana geete are lost, a few do survive. Some of them have two or more sections. But all these compositions are simple and easy on the beginners.
Purandara Dasa’s introductory geetas in praise of  Ganesha, Shiva or Maheswara and Vishnu are sometimes called as Pillari geetas which are in praise of a chosen deity. Many of these were composed in Malahari and the most famous is “Lambodara Lakumikara”, which is one of the finest composition on Ganapathy.
Many of the geetas are sung from the beginning to the end without repeating the avarthas.
When the geetas have two sections, they are called as Khandikas. In a few of his geetas, Purandara Dasa has concluded these compositions by repeating a part or full portion of the opening lines.
Apart from the Pillari geeta, the Sanchari geeta too are in praise of a chosen deity. The sanchari geete is also called as samanya or  sadharana geete.   
Unfortunately, a major portion of the Lakshana geete of  Purandara Dasa appears to have been irrevocably lost. Noted Dwaitha scholar and philosopher, BNK Murthy, regrets that many of these geetas have not survived. He blames the Haridasas subsequent to Purandara Dasa for this act and says the shifting of the centre of gravity of Carnatic music from Vijayanagar in 1565 sounded the death knell of the Dasa Sahitya.

Saturday 18 January 2014

The Pancharatra Agama

It was Vaikunta Ekadeshi  and it was just a few days back and hundreds of devotees had come to the Srinivasa Temple in LIC Colony, Jayanagar 3rd Block, Bangalore on the occasion.
The temple officials and a large number of  volunteers were seen distributing Puliyogre and Laadu and scores of people were seen eating them on the temple premises itself right from early morning. A few devotees took away the Prasada home, saying that since it was Ekadeshi, they would consume it the next day.
Some others sought to know whether it would be appropriate to consume Theertha Prasada and Prasada in temples not run, operated and/or presided over by their community.
For them, I had one answer. The Pancharatra Agama, which is among the sacred texts for Vaishnavas and which have been extensively quoted in several works by Madhwacharya, has an answer to such queries.
I will quote a verse from the text which deals directly with the issue. The Smruthimanikya Sangraha, which is part of the Pancharatra Agama, in verse 1471 says:

“tasmAdeteshhu sthAneshhu naivedyaM na cha dushyati
chandaalaasyApi saMsparshe dUradeshAgupAgate
annAdyaM naiva dushTaM syAt.h madhusUdanashAsanAth

tIrthanirmalyapakvAnnaM pUrvaM yaddharisevitaM
venkaTAchalapUrve tu svayaM vyakte na dushyate”

This shloka makes it amply clear that the Prasada has to be or can be taken at pilgrim places, irrespective of who prepared it. More specifically, it mentions the Venkatachalapathy temple (first word of the last line) and also says in the line before that Theertha and Nirmalya can be taken at the temple.
Now the question is what is Pancharatras and how did Madhwacharya see it. The Pancharatra are Vaishnava Sanskrit texts, literally meaning five nights.
The term has also been attributed to the Shatapatha Brahamana  ( This is a prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda) wherein Narayana performed a sacrifice for five nights and became a transcendent and immanent.
Vaishnavas and Srivaishnavas adhere to the Pancharatra system of worship.
Madhwacharya has invested the Pancharatras with the status of Sadagamas and he has referred to them in many of his works. In Mundaka Upanishad, he says, “In Dwapara Yuga, Vishnu is worshipped as per the cannons of the Pancharatraw. In Kali Yuga, he is worshipped by the chanting of his name”.  
The Pancharatra Agamas are considered to be a continuation of the Vedic tradition and Madhwacharya considered them to be holy and valid as they emanated from Narayana himself.
What makes the Pancharatra Agamas so important is that the form and style of worship that we follow today is based on them. Moreover, different forms of Vasudeva or Vishnu are introduced here.
Infact, the Pancharatra derives its name from the discourse that Vasudeva gives to five seers over a period of five nights-Shandilya
Aupagayana, Maunjayana, Kaushika and Bharadwaja. Another legend says Vishnu revealed these holy texts to Garuda, Anantha, Rudra, Brahma and Vishvakasena.
Some of the important works that form the vast body of Pancharatra literature are Shandilya Samhita, Vishnu Samhita
Ahirbudhnya Samhita, Vishnu Tatwa Samhita, Sudarshana Samhita and Prakasha Samhita.
There are more than 200 such works in existence and Madhwacharya was perhaps the first Madhwa seer to quote extensively from them.
The Pancharatras are important for both Vaishnavas and Srivaishnavas as they contain a lot of information about Vishnu and the practice of the Vaishnava faith.
The Uttaradhi Matha says that “the dictates of the Pancharatra literature are followed in most South Indian Vaishnava temples”.
Some of the Pancharatra Agama texts known are: Shandilya Samhita, Vishnu Samhita, Ahirbudhnya Samhita, Vishnu Tatwva Samhita, Sudarshana Samhita and Prakasha Samhita.
The philosophy of the Pancharatras are beautifully expounded in the Jayakhya Samhita. Thus. The Agamas can be called as practical texts of Vishnu worship.
In general, the Pancharatra school of though and philosophy believes Hari manifests himself in or through five different forms. They are Para, Vyuha, Vaibhava, Antaratma and archa.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Sanctum Sanctorum of Rayaru in Mantralaya to be rebuilt

The Mantralaya Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha has come up with a plan to rebuild the sanctum sanctorum of the holy Raghavendra Swamy Matha in Mantralaya.
The plan of the highly venerated religious institution, the Mantralaya Matha, is to “rebuild the sanctum sanctorum of  Shri Rayaru completely to create a covered stone structure with pillars in ancient architectural style”.
The website of the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha, Mantralaya, and emails sent out to the subscribers of the matha newsletter states that the massive project is slated to cost about Rs. 10 crores.
The Newsletter and emails of the Matha state that “His Holiness Shri Shri Suyateendra Theertha Shripaadangalavaru has undertaken a commitment to rebuild the sanctum sanctorum”.
It says though the Matha is capable of constructing the stone pavilion, both the Swamiji's (this means the senior and junior pontiff of the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha) wish is to present the unique opportunity to all the devotees to make a contribution towards this project and be blessed.
It says Sri Subudhendra Theertha has taken over the leadership of the project.
The value of each stone slab that will be used in the construction of the stone structure is estimated to be Rs.5000. Every stone slab used in the construction of the interior enclosure around the Brindavana may be sponsored by devotees.
Each stone slab donated by the devotee will be offered only after taking their names in the Sankalpa. A devotee may donate any number of stone slabs. Every donor will receive a commemorative memento from the Swamiji along with his blessings.
After constructing and offering the Stone Mandap to Rayaru, the surplus funds thus accrued will be utilised for the new building construction of Shri Gurusarvabhouma Samskruta Vidya Peetha.
Devotees can send their contributions through Cheque / DD / M.O to The Manager,
Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha
Mantralayam - 518 345 Andhra Pradesh
Cash donations will be accepted only through authorised representatives or at the Donation Counters at Mantralaya.
The matha says online funds may be transferred to the account given below.
Syndicate Bank, Mantralaya
Name: Shilamantapa Account: No. 33982200017846
IFSC : SYNB0003398
This donation is eligible for tax concession under Section 80G of Income Tax act.

For more information, devotees and donors may contact Office of H.H. Sri Swamiji : 08512-279429
The Manager : 08512-279888
Public Relations Officers : 08512 279700 / 279498
Web Page :
Email :

Sunday 12 January 2014

The image of Rayaru in a matha

These are some photographs of the Raghavendra Swamy Matha in Kalyani Gardens in Ashoknagar just off Thyagarajanagar. It is popularly called Kalyani Rayara Matha. An image of Rayaru is coming up on the left outer wall of  the Prakara housing the Brindavana of  Rayaru. Here are some pictures of  the manifestation. No other matha has reported such an event.     

A sole bulb illuminates the face of Rayaru which can be seen evolving.

The image of  Rayaru is garlanded with flowers. 

The image is now encased within a wooden frame with glass.

One can see the image slowly taking shape

The entrance to the Kalyani Rayara Matha 

Another view of the entrance of the Rayara Matha

There are scores of  Raghavendra Swamy Mathas in Bangalore
One such Matha and it is also among the oldest is the one at Kalyani Gardens in Ashoknagar just off Thyagarajanagar. This Matha is popularly called the Kalyani Raghavendra Swamy Matha or the Sathyabama Seethamma Kalyani Sri Raghavendashrama.   
The Kalyani Raghavendra Swamy Matha it is located next to the Madhwa Patashala and both are near Vidyapeetha.
The Matha has been drawing visitors and devotees because of a unique phenomenon. An image of Raghavendra Swamy is manifesting itself on the left outer wall of the Prakara housing the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy.
The image is slowly becoming more and more visible each day and the outlines of the face with eyes and nose can clearly been seen. There is no doubt that the image on a wall is that of our beloved Rayaru.
Till a few days ago, the image was left as it is on the wall. When the image was touched, the concrete surface was smooth than the rest of the wall. Many devotees and the priests told us that when they reverentially touched the image, it felt soft.
The image is developing by the day and as many people were touching it, the temple management decided to protect it by encasing it in a wooden frame with a glass front.
So if you go to the Matha, you can see the outlines of Rayaru through the glass. This is perhaps the first time in Bangalore that any such image of our Rayaru is manifesting on its own. 
The Kalyani Rayaru Matha is one of the oldest in Bangalore and it was established almost 70 years ago.   
It was Mrs. Seethamma and Ananda Tirthachar Kalyani who had built the Temple, performed Pratishtha and Utsarga of  Raghavendra Swamy at this very place (where the Brindavana is located) in 1942-43.
Thereafter, Mrs. Seethamma and Mr. Kalyani were functioning as Dharma Karthas of the temple. In 1953, the whole establishment was transferred to Mr. A.V. Krishna Murthy. However, in 1957 Mr. A.V. Krishna Murthy re-transferred the Temple Mutt and Pathasala to Mrs. Seethamma Kalyani requesting her to manage the Temple poojas and kattales
The Kalyani Gardens is a small industrial area that lies between Banashankari 1st Stage and N. R Colony.
The temple of Raghavendra Swamy is off  the 6th Cross and one can easily access this road from Chennammana Kere road and from Vidyapeetha on one side and N.R. Colony-Thyagarajanagar-Ashoknagar on the other.  
The temple is located just off a 30 feet road which is open to both way traffic. Since there are several industries, business and commercial establishments in and around the vicinity, the road has traffic. All the above photos were taken by us and they depict the image of Rayaru. The last two photos are that of the Kalyani Rayara Matha Brindavana.    

Thursday 9 January 2014

Museum in an airport

The National Museum in Kolkata is not only the oldest but also the largest museum in India. It has six main sections comprising 35 galleries.
It is also called the Indian Museum and it also the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific.
But in two weeks time, the National museum is all set to lose this distinction to a new upstart which is coming up in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital.
In just a little over ten days, largest museum where the entry will be on the basis of international airline tickets, will open its glass doors to the public.
The newly constructed museum in housed in the International Airport in Mumbai and it has 7,000 artefacts covering a range of  people, kingdoms and eras. What is more The museum will have a three kilometre long art wall which will feature works by over 1,500 artists.
This museum is built between the check-in and baggage claim and it is part of Mumbai's new integrated terminal T2. The art wall and the museum is so designed that it will showcase the best of Indian art, craft and designs to visitors, Indians and foreigners alike
The art wall and the art programmes will be one of the biggest of its kind in the world and no airport anywhere in the world will have this facility.
The installation at T2’s departure area occupies 80,000 sq ft and it will house ancient artifacts and finds some as old as the 10th century. A range of ancient articles including sculptures, statues, paintings, wood work, old temple chariots and articles of daily, religious and social use collected from villages, towns and cities will be on display.
The T2 is slated to open on January 15 and initially only passengers boarding or alighting from international carriers will be allowed to have a look-in. With a handing capacity of  40 million passengers annually, the museum could comfortably push Paris’ Louvre, currently the most visited art museum in the world with 9 million annual visitors, off its perch.
Similarly, the arrival corridor too has been given a massive brush up. It has works by several eminent contemporary artists such as Nek Chand, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Mithu Sen, Riyas Komu  Desmond Lazaro. All of them and of course several others have worked on the art wall that is 18 metres high and 1.2 km long. Like the departure wall, this wall too can be viewed from all levels.
Where there is Mumbai, can Bollywood be far behind. The best of Bollywood too is present here.
When the new integrated terminal will open on January 15, Air India’s Newark-Mumbai flight will be the first to arrive at the new terminal which is called T2.
T2 will have bigger areas for check-in, security check and baggage delivery. Spread over 439,000 square metres, the MIAL which will operate the airport is a joint venture of the GVK group, the Airport Authority of India, Airports Company of South Africa and Bids Services Division, Mauritius.

All of them are together executing the Rs 12,380-crore airport modernisation project. The work on the new terminal building began in February 2009.
While the old international terminal had 80 immigration counters, T2 will have 140.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Hanuman who okayed Bhava Bhoda

The aradhana of one of  the greatest Madhwa saints, Raghuttama Theertha, who belonged to the Uttaradhi Matha, is being celebrated on January 11, 2014.
Raghuttama Theertha, whose brindavana is near Tirukoilur in Tamil Nadu, was the pontiff of the Uttaradi Matha from 1557 to 1595.
Born as Ramachandra, he was the nephew of  Raghuvarya Theertha, the pontiff of the Uttaradi Matha  from 1502 to 1557.
Raghuttama Theertha has written several tippanis or commentaries on the works of Madhwacharya and Jayatheertha, including the Bhava Bhodas and they are Tatwa Prakashika, Brihadaranyakopanishad Bhashya, Geeta Bhashya Prameya Deepika, Vishnu Tatwa Nirnaya Teeka, Nyaya Vivarana Teeka, Anu vyakhyana, Vivaranoddhara and Nyaya Ratna Sambandha Deepika.
He stayed at Srirangam for several years where he wrote the Bhava Bhoda. Legend has it that he penned down the Bhava Bhoda only after an Anjaneya idol before whom he commenced writing nodded his head in appreciation.
This temple of Anjenaya exists in Srirangam even today and it is known as Grantha Sakshi Anjenaya Temple. The God here is called Sakshi as he nodded his head or stood Sakshi or proof for the scholarly five works which together are called Bhava Bhoda.  
The Sakshi Anjaneya temple is also known as Bhava Bhoda Anjaneya or Hanuman Temple.    
Srirangam in Tamil Nadu is near Trichy and it is the first among the one hundred and eight Divya Desams for Vaishnavas. This is  the place where Ranganatha reclines and it considered to be very holy as Brahma meditated upon Vishnu.
Raghuttama Theertha has written Tippanis or commentaries on  Brihadaranya Bhavabhoda, Nyaya Vivarana Bhavabhoda, Gitabhashya Bhavabhoda (Prameya Dipika Bhavabhoda), Vishnutatvanirnaya Bhavabhoda and Tattvaprakashika Bhavabhoda.
All these five works were written in Srirangam and in the temple of Bhava Bodha Anjaneya. The temple is now under the Uttaradhi Matha and it is located at 194, East Uttara Street, Srirangam.
The temple looks like a house and it does not have any gopura. Raghuttama Theertha sat here and composed the five Bhava bhoda looking at the Pranavakara vimana of the Ranganatha Temple.
It is said that Anjaneya himself stood beside the seer and whenever Raghuttama Theertha looked towards Anjaneya after composing a  line, Anjaneya nodded his head in approval.
The idol of Anjaneya is eight feet high and it faces West. The left foot is placed a little ahead of the right foot.
There is a room in the temple with an idol of Anjaneya and this is where Raghuttama Theertha wrote the Bhava Bhoda.

By the way, there is another Grantha Sakshi Temple of Hanuman in Yeregol near Gulbarga, It was at Yeragol that Jayatheertha or Teekcharya wrote most of his works. The cave where he composed his works in Yeragol can still be seen.