Maharajah Curly Toes

 Maharajah Curly Toes
 Takes you on 'PILGRIMAGE' to a consecrated kingdom................. 

 

BISHNUPUR
 WEST-BENGAL


Bishnupur, formerly known as Mallabhum, is an ex-principality in the Bankura region of West Bengal. Once the seat of great power & patronage for the Malla kings (7th-18th century), their 1,000-year rule coupled with a fervent devotion to Vaishnavism (a branch of Hinduism that sees Lord Vishnu as its primary subject of veneration) reached its apogee through the creation & building of exquisitely decorative terracotta temples. 

These temples demonstrate not only the unique & ever so charming, Eka-Ratna & Chala styles of Bengali architecture of that period, but also the intricacy of terracotta bas-relief and sculpture in general. They also help elucidate the beliefs, legends and social mores of the Mallabhuri people. Carvings depict popular rituals and the interplay between subjects & their gods & goddesses, most notably Bipodtarini Devi, an avatar of West Bengal's most beloved goddess, Durga. The divine worship of Lord Vishnu and the goddess Bipodtarini (amongst other deities) makes Bishnupur a stage for significant religious festivals and thus an important cultural center. Add to this a history of majestic (rural) artisanship (famous for pottery/terracotta tiles and hand-painted, imperial saris), staggering temple structures, sacred elements and serene rural setting, and you have yourself a place of true pilgrim's providence and peaceful allure.


 Once a walled imperial city, ancient
 remnants remain, forming part of the vast temple enclosure



Temple edifices of an earlier era 
are looked upon by fading facades of the fifties



Curvaceous, compact & richly decorated with 1,000's
of individually carved terracotta tiles - 
 Jor-Bangla Temple (c.1655)



Ornate octagonal collumns 
supporting the arches



A sumptuous section of wall



Close-up/detail of one of the tiled
deities adorning the temple exterior 



Another temple of carved terracotta, stucco
& oxidised chatris (domed roofs)



Blue doors & baskets for Vishnu



 Rasmancha (c.1600) -
A perfectly-proportioned pyramid temple



Bipodtarini Devi & Narasimha (avatar of Vishnu)


 
Rasmancha - a maze of low, tiled arches 
& smooth domes upon a raised plinth



Richly woven Bishnupur baluchari sari with depictions
of mythological scenes. Pieces like this were patronised by the Mala kings, 
responsible for the temple building, & mirrored the same artistic inspirations.



Airy, cool & cavernous contours



Pretty Pancha-Ratna Temple (c.1643) - with its
ambulatory pathways, arches & doll-house-like dimensions



 Smaller shrines, for personal
adoration, lie outside the temple enclosure



 Elegant Radhamadhab Temple (c. 1737)



 Many fixtures & figures of the deities have 
long been removed from inside the temples



 Locals mingle in the village centre
surrounded by history, relics & red earth



 The 'Rasa Mandala'- A veritable wheel of deities.
Highly detailed bas-relief from Shyam-Rai Temple



Towering Lal-Ji Temple (c.1658)



A resplendent Howdah of Hindustan (Carrier)



Frontal view of Jor-Bangla Temple.
Every square inch, a consummation of carving 



Priceless, painted, silk baluchari saris. 
Months in the handloom mastery & making  



 A zoom-in on the elaborate craftsmanship
of Pancha-RatnaTemple

THANKS LOVELY PILGRIMS FOR WALKING WITH ME
(There are more sights to see below)

Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to me.
#All writing & photography by Rani.Cee
#These are just some of the temples in the Bankura/Bishnupur region.

**************************


Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a 'TEMPLE' Walk.................. 


KALNA
 WEST-BENGAL


The town of Ambika Kalna is located in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal. A rarely visited agricultural area & once prominent port-town - its name derives from the worship of the powerful deity 'Kali' or 'Maa Ambika'.  Most notable is the 'Rajbari' temple-complex of 108 Shiva-Lingas, built in the 18th Century by Maharajah Tej Chandra Bahadur to celebrate the acquisition of a new Imperial centre. Comprising two concentric circles of 74 outer & 34 inner temples which house the cosmic representations of Lord Shiva. (The 'Lingam' sees the regenerative energies of male & female combined in a universal, phallic formation) The beautiful, well-formed temples showcase the distinctive Bengali 'Ath-Challa' style of Architecture, which incorporate slanted/domed roofs, shapely rotundas & delicate use of clay/terracotta tiles.



Sun shines on three domes at Rajbari Temples Kalna West Bengal
The Gods are smiling brightly



Entrance doorway to Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
A 'Fixed' abode for 'Shiva'



Etching of man preying, Rajbari temple entrance, Kalna, West Bengal
Imperial etching rests on a lintel



Garden around inner Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
An intimate space of calm & serenity



Curving section of 74 outer circle Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Beautiful, though modest 
ornamentation by Indian standards



Old woman with small prayer water bowl at RAjbari Temples, West Bengal
Pilgrims & pundits



Sacred tree dominates courtyard at Rajbari Tempes, Kalna, West Bengal
A consecrated courtyard



Arched entrance to parayer room with white Shiva Lingam, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengalin
One-on-one, with Shiva



Close-up of white Shiva lingam in Rajbari Temple prayer room, Kalna, West Bengal
White lingam is said to be reserved 
for the most pious/serious worship



Garnder around inner circle of 34 Rajbari temples, Kalna, West Bengal
The temples welcome a well-tended garden...
& a wheelie-bin!



Flowers, incense and other offerings to stone engraving of figure riding sacred cow, India
Where there are flowers....
there's fervour & festivity



Two ath-challa-style domes with sun emblems on top at Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Blazing burnt orange against 
a brilliant blue sky



Pot of holy basil (tulsi) in Rajbari temple courtyard, Kalna, West Bengal
Holy Basil (Tulsi)



Three-doemed prayer rooms and doorways, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Bengali domed roofs were devised 
to manage/direct the monsoon rains



Outer ring of 74 temples, Rajbari complex, Kalna, West Bengal
Outer-temples house a combination 
of white & black lingams



Three faded, old wooden devotional planquins, Rajbari Temples, Kalna, West Bengal
Pretty palanquins used for deity devotion


THANKS FOR ACCOMPANYING ME TO THE TEMPLES.

 
Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.
#Writing & photography by Rani.Cee

**************************


Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a PALACE Walk..................


BUNDI
 RAJASTHAN


A remote, enchanted, walled city, south of the state, famous for its exquisite paintings, water-wells & extensive underground tunnels. Home to centuries of proud Rajput warriors as well as notable author Rudyard kipling, who's 'Jungle-book' was inspired & written in this charming town.



A section of the decadent but decaying 
edifice of Bundi's 'Taragarh (Star) Fort'  
(C. 1354)



Original, intricate frescoes 
depicting some Rajput revelry



Majestic Stone silhouettes



The 'Bundi school' of 
Painted palace facades



Solid stairway to Palace heaven
A Vista fit for a king



The power of a fierce mono-brow!
Maharaja Raghubir Singh Bahadur of 
Bundi (1888) Fancy & formidable**



Triumphant Arches, pillars, 
lattice-work & carving
Endearing elephant eaves



Magnificent Moghul murals






Turbaned & bejewelled 
Prince or Princess?




Sloping ramparts & a turret with a view



Sublime salmon-colored sandstone



Bundi surrounded by the lush Aravalli hills



Jali screens of heart-piercing beauty



Palace on high



Serene sari-scenes below

HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR PALACE WALK

 
(**) Is courtesy of  'The unforgettable Maharajas' - Roli Books. (Personal Copy)
Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.
#All writing & photography by Rani.Cee

**************************

Maharajah Curly Toes
Takes you on a PALACE Walk..................



UDAIPUR
RAJASTHAN   




Located on the east bank of Lake Pichola & considered the Largest Royal Complex in Rajasthan, the City-Palace stands as a symbol of mighty Mewar Rule, flamboyancy & romance. A long history of Majestic kings, whimsical art & sculpture, with the current Maharajah, Arvind Singh still in occupancy. Startlingly beautiful & often referred to as the 'Venice of the East', Udaipur will leave you simply breathless.



The Wondrous City Palace (C.1559)






 I need to ask my daddy first!!
  

 
Rajasthani - Mughal, Magnificence.



 A Turret of love



Elegantly crafted marble & stainglass






A 'real deal' bonafide, Palace interior.

  


  





Back to the drawing-room 






The Pleasure-principle



Enamel & mirror panelling






All the king's horses.
  





A warm elephant welcome.
The 3 trunk salute!
 


Floating 'Monsoon Palace'
in the background
Tranquility in the foreground.
#All writing & photography by Rani.Cee
Top image of 'Maharajah Dalip Singh' from a post-card, gifted to Rani.



22 comments:

  1. Another fabulous walk through the Palace leaves me utterly speechless! Except for " Arches….. such beautiful arches. Thinking of you lots Rani xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for your visit & appreciation dear Benita!
      Thinking of you too sweet lady <3

      Delete
  2. Beautiful! Thank you very much for these walks! I love them and all your photos are simply amazing. I have to see India, can't stop thinking about it and your blog is helping me. Cindy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dreadfully late & ashamed of myself ....but very glad you stopped by Cindy.
      Hope your interest & fascination is one day met & matched by the reality -- as in the vivid 'realness', & inexhaustible beauty of the Motherland.
      Appreciate your wonderful compliments Xx

      Delete
  3. Wow wow wow !!!
    Amazing photography and incredible info. I've been reading from your Blog page today - damn extraordinary Ms C ..and yeh you're stunning :)
    Why not more pictures of you? You're very talented and crazy beautiful.
    Congrats x.x Greig

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Greig for your time & keen interest.
      I'm delighted that you enjoyed some of my posts.
      Xx

      Delete
  4. This is good news - just got an notification. Gteat to see you back and doing what you do best - making the world smile with your mega-beauty, talent and fantastic brain. You are missed Char,but then you mysterious princess, can't be tied down. Excellent as always and from a true goddess - - would walk with you any time any place. Write again soon

    xxx Julian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blog Feedburner is working I think but no signs of twitter these days?? Just checked.
      Julian

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    2. Ahh my friend, just the prod I need to awaken & reconnect! Thank you for these precious words. I'm heartened.
      I've been more remiss than 'missing' ...& pretty much switched off all notifications for the longest time. So many things & feelings & reasons.
      I will post again when I can collect my thoughts & when feeling fully inspired.
      Hope you're happy, well & kicking goals in all the right directions
      Hugs & shimmies
      The not-so princess Xx

      Delete
  5. Wowzer! What a brilliant blog. These places are amazing and maharaja curly toes is so cool Lolol
    Love your photos and words so much oxo Maura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed this post & like the Maharajah! He's a handsome devil don't you think?
      Thank you so much Maura Xx

      Delete
  6. OMG I just checked my emails n saw an update and thought ya!! So happy to visit the beautiful palace again. In fact I got two of your old posts in my feed, my fave 'eastern belonging'and the one on kalkota. Well I love them all and seeing these photos is the best.
    You and your pics, writing, walks are a dream. The most beautiful, different and exciting stuff.
    Love you Princess C cant wait for your next post
    Big Kiss xxxx Amanda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello loveliest Amanda, I am smiling all the smiles!
      Great to see you here & read your gracious comments.
      Ah, the old posts you received were published randomly by blogger, not by me. It was a glitch, apparently. Sorry for that.
      But not sorry to 'chat' now. I'll send you a little email after I reply to the eleventy thousand comments I've failed to respond to!!!!!
      My mojo diminished on, & then disappeared completely, after April 21st. I haven't been able to write anything since my last post on the purple-one.
      An addendum is much needed.
      Signing off now, but not before saying a huge thank you for your uplifting words.
      Love & shimmies dear Xx

      Delete
    2. Sensitive, beautiful woman. That's why you are so loved
      Hugs xxxx Amanda

      Delete
  7. Outstanding. Loved taking a walk ! Great name, My palace walk, ANd reading som of your posts. I especially loved your soul page because I got to see the amazing person behind all this. Such a gorgeous exotic face you have and so many talents. Your writing, descriptions and photography are superb.
    Many will want to take a walk with you!
    Lisbeth x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO kind of you. Thank you Lisbeth.
      I am eternally grateful for the generosity of people I've never met, who share, care & connect like old friends.
      Wishing you happiness & many magical moments Xx

      Delete
  8. Oh how beautiful and spectacular. I've never seen buildings like these teracotta temples. So fascinating and I love the write up.
    You have a real way with words and are a very artistic and creative lady. I'm definitely going to read more. Thank you xo Hacic'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a sincere thanks to you Hacic!
      Makes it all seem worthwhile and truly wonderful to cross paths with beautiful people like yourself.
      So pleased you liked this. Appreciate your every word Xx

      Delete
  9. Amazing, captivating, mesmerizing >>> err I forgot about the temples and am just describing you!
    Stoked to see an update gorgeous girl. Missing your sparkling wit and infectious personality.
    Come back. Life is dull without your brilliance and radiant beauty :( Mitchell

    ReplyDelete
  10. Always charmed & ever charming my friend!
    Thanks for having faith in me in my blogger-absence & believing in 'time-out'.
    It has made all the difference Mitchell.
    Hope you're doing good & giving em hell where they need it. Hehe!
    Buoyed by your beautiful words. Keep in touch & be happy wonderful man Xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome architecture and fab to see you posting again. I read a few oldies and laughed out loud at your humor :)
    You are the full package babe - talented, classy, beyond stunning and brainy as all get out!!!!!!
    I miss your words and our chats xxxxx Chelle

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  12. Gorgeous walks with you and photographs that transport. Lovely work sweet Char.

    And about hopping time you put that exquisite face on display. What a great day!

    Even more of a beauty in the flesh and so clever XOXOX Lots of love, Bec

    ReplyDelete

#Thanks for bringing some extra sparkle & cheer to the Palace today. I'm delighted to read your comments (& Shimmying too!!!)