Largest monolithic Nandi at Lepakshi

Granite Nandi at Lepakshi
Granite Nandi at Lepakshi

The monolithic granite Nandi (Bull) is believed to be the largest in India. Built during the Vijayanagar period(14th C CE) it is part of a large temple complex. The exquisite carvings of bell garland, jewellery etc. stand out beside the size.

It is 4.5 Mtrs high and 8.25 Mtrs long. The Thanjavur Big Temple Nandi is smaller.

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Monk at Chele La Pass

Monk at Chele La Pass
Monk at Chele La Pass

Chele Le pass is the highest point in Bhutan at 4000 mtrs. Yet it is easily accessible by a motorable road. We, a group of senior citizens, went near the peak in a van and trekked a few yards. Though we avoided the highest point we had a very good view.

A number of monks were also there enjoying the scenery. Here a lone monk walks through the ubiquitous prayer flags.

Badami

On the way to Shivalaya temple, Badami
On the way to Shivalaya Temple, Badami

On the way to the Shivalaya group of temples Badami, Karnataka.

Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town in  Karnataka, India. It was the capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for its rock rock-cut structural temples. See wikipedia for more….

It is real: not all bull

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Nonchalant Nandi  in a shop

In January 2015 on a visit to Varanasi, a curious sight caught our eyes. It was a bull squatting non chalantly in a textile showroom under a Shiva idol  while the  customers and the staff went about their business uninterrupted. We captured the image and moved on.

Only later we learnt that the bull visits the shop every day without fail. The locals attribute this to the Siva idol in the shop. Maybe the shopkeeper feeds the bull too. On holidays, the bull just hangs around outside. The shop is called Chikan House – Exclusive.

I have seen many social media posts of this bull and the shop. This post is only to assure that the bull’s visit is real and not all bull like many social media forwards. These images are taken by me. I can not, of course, vouch for the regularity  of the bull’s visit as I was there only for two days.

shiva's bull
Bull in a textile showroom
Nandi in a kurta shop
Chikan House – Exclusive. Kurta, pyjama,sarees, salwar suits, tops, and materials

There are episodes where the Nandi hides darshan of Shiva, but here is a situation where the Nandi provides not only unhindered darshan from the street but  uninterrupted business too.

There are a couple of YouTube videos  taken in 2011 and 2014. You may watch those too if you wish.

 

Frugal resting place of a mighty emperor

Most of us know Aurangazeb as a tyrannical and bigoted emperor who tortured and killed his family members, suppressed non-Muslims,fought many unnecessary wars which drained the exchequer. He is also known as the one who paved the way for the decline of the Mughal Empire.

But how many of us know the ‘softer’ side of this emperor? I have read in my school history book that Aurangazeb used to stitch caps and transcribe by hand copies of the Koran to sell anonymously to earn money for his burial and tomb.

The remains of the mighty emperor who lorded over the sub-continent for about five decades lie in a modest tomb in a non-descript town of Khuldabad, about 30 kilometers from Aurangabad.

Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar(1707 C.E.),  but he had a desire to be interred near the tomb of his Islamic guru, Sayyad Zainuddin Shirazi at Khuldabad.

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Entrance to the complex

Originally, his tomb was open and on all sides. Lord Curzon directed the then Nizam to put up marble panels all around. The top is still open to the sky.

A blind caretaker Sheikh Hakim was at the site when I visited and was most helpful.

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Sheik Hakim -the helpful caretaker

_DSC5063Aurangazeb’s son and his wife are also buried near the emperor’s tomb and Zainuddin Shirazi’s dargah is just behind. Behind the dargah there is a small room which is believed to house the robes of the prophet.

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tomb’s of Aurangzeb’s son, his wife and another woman
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The enclusre with the sacred robe and Md Altaf

Across the narrow and busy street is the dargah of Sayyad Burhanuddin another notable teacher. The tomb of the first Nizam is also in this complex.

The whole complex is devoid of any visual or architectural attraction but it stands as a testimony to the frugality of a mighty emperor who hailed from a dynasty which took pride in building grandiose monuments and tombs.