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Temples: History, Architecture & Distribution - 2
<b>32 antique statues found in Choudwar temple muck</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Cuttack, June 3: Thirty-two black granite statues, believed to be more than 800 years old, have been found from a well inside the precincts of the 12th century Chateswar-Bateswar Temple in Choudwar.

“We stumbled upon the exquisite pieces when we were clearing the well. The work began from Sunday,” said Gagan Bihari Raul, the head of the temple managing committee today.

“They appear to belong to a period before the temple was constructed, in 12th century. Their exact date can be ascertained by archaeologists,” Raul said.

According to historical records, Choudwar, located 11km from Cuttack on the northern banks of the Mahanadi, served as the state’s capital for 270 years till the Ganga rulers shifted their capital to Cuttack between 1211 and 1230 with the construction of Barabati Fort.

<b>Eight prominent Shiv pithas (temples) were established between 989 and 1211 by the Keshari Dynasty in and around Choudwar, most of which are now in ruins.

The Chateswar-Bateswar is one of the temples that survived the ravages of time. It had a well in its precincts. </b>

The one-foot-long, black statues of granite were once a part of the temple and were later “dumped” into the well — believe the committee members.

Though the well water was frequently used for rituals, the well had not been cleaned for a very long time. “The last cleaning may have been done a century ago, as superstitions run that those who enter the well never return. We decided to undertake clearance when our priest complained of the quality of the water,” said Rabindra Kumar Behera, a member of the temple committee.

“The work was started on Sunday after a performing a puja,” he added.

The statues were found in tonnes of silt that was cleared out of the well.

<b>The statues are of Hindu gods and goddesses such as Shiv, Nataraj, Durga, Laxmi, Ganesh and some Buddhist deities. Presently, the statues are in the custody of the temple managing committee and are being displayed in the temple</b>.
Revival of Hindu temples
See: http://www.conserveheritage.org/projects.html Structural restoration of Kailasanatha temple : Uttaramerur

REACH Foundation's contact is: reach.foundation.india@gmail.com

REACH Foundation's Blog has more details on Hindu temple restoration efforts in Tamil Nadu by its volunteers, including software engineers:

From greatandhra.com news quoting PTI.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tirupati temple reaches out to Dalits and STs

Hyderabad, June 19 (PTI) Reaching out to Dalits and backward classes, the administration of the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirupati has launched several initiatives for the community including training them in performing temple rituals.

<b>"The idea of taking up programmes with a social emphasis is to spread 'Sanatana Dharma' (universal religion) among the masses," </b>B Karunakar Reddy, Chairman of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the body that administers the temple, told PTI.

"Saints of yore like Sankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Telugu saint poet Annamacharya spread the ancient culture during their times. <b>That tradition lost momentum for whatever reasons. This resulted in Hinduism facing threats. We have decided to take up social programmes as per the advice of elders to help sustain the credibility of religion,"</b> he said.

<b>The social schemes being carried out by the TTD,</b> one of the richest temple administrations in the world, includes <b>'Dalita Govindam' </b>wherein the priests of the Tirupati temple carry the idols of the Lord and his two consorts to Dalit colonies and perform prayers there.

<b>'Matsya Govindam' </b>is another revolutionary initiative <b>to train fishermen along the East Coast in Andhra Pradesh in performing rituals</b>.

<b>The fishermen will be taught the basic tenets of Vedic religion, evolution of temple system, the 'do's and don'ts' of idol worship, rituals, conduct of festivals and so on besides increasing rapport with devotees.</b> PTI


Maybe a good idea to have vasudeva govindam (Govindam for all) for all people and not just these targetted schemes.

Can someone check the TTD webiste for more info?

Thanks, ramana
India's Temples Go Green
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->An array of solar panels installed atop the Tirumala Temple's "Nitya Annadanam canteen" in Tirupathi, India, to facilitate operation of steam cookers.<b> This is the world's largest solar steam cooking system.</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->ike Tirumala, dozens of holy places across India are moving quietly towards green energy. Muni Seva Ashram, in Gujarat, which combines spiritual practice with social activism, is working to make its premises entirely green by using solar, wind and biogas energy. A residential school for 400 students is already running exclusively on green energy. Starting this year, the ashram will also sell three million carbon credits. A similar movement is afoot at the revered Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra. "Our aim is to avoid pollution in every way," says Raghunath Aher, the temple's chief engineer. "A holy place should be pure and completely in harmony with nature." <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Different topic, but still relevant enough to belong in this thread. Does anybody know of any modern buildings in India or elsewhere that basically reproduces any of the styles of Hindu temple architecture or at least incorporates certain elements of it within its structure? For example, several public buildings in the United States were influenced by the Neo-Classical movement which sought inspiration from the architectural styles of temples built in Ancient Greece and Rome.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Veyyi Stambhala Gudi (’1000-Pillar Temple’), a Symbol of Our Culture. Thanks Ancestors!

<b>BJP Govt to renovate Hindu temples in K'taka </b>


BANGALORE, July 16, 2008: The Government has decided <b>to renovate 20,000 temples, which are in dilapidated condition</b>. The Muzrai Department would renovate temples <b>with the financial support of Non-Resident Indians and philanthropists,</b> Minister for Muzrai and Housing S.N. Krishnaiah Setty told presspersons on Wednesday.

There were no archaks in a majority of the temples and daily poojas were being conducted in about 20,000 temples belonged to the Muzrai Department in the State. A few temples have been generating an annual income of Rs. 100 crore, the minister said.

<b>With the involvement of film stars, sportspersons and NRIs, a campaign would be launched soon in Bangalore to raise funds for renovation works of temples. </b>The local citizens and leaders have been asked to submit detail estimate plans containing information about temple history, location, funds required for renovation, to Deputy Commissioners and tahsildars in all districts. Out of 34,000 temples, only 185 temples have sufficient funds for maintenance.

<b>Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa would lead a delegation to participate in the U.S.-based Association of Kannada Kootas of America's Kannada conference in Chicago, US. The meet will commence from August 29.</b> The delegation would appeal to the NRIs from Karnataka to donate funds for taking up renovation works of temples, the Minister said.

<b>Hundis (donation boxes)</b>

The department has decided to electronic "hundis" in all temples. The first electronic "hundi" will be established at the Banashankari temple in the City soon. Tenders would be invited to set up such "hundis". The cost of each "hundi" would be around Rs. 1.5 lakh, he said.

<b>On encroachment of lands belonged to temples, the minister said a squad would be constituted to recover such lands.</b>

<b>Rs. 80 crore Master Plan to renovate Kukke temple </b>

BANGALORE: The State Government has prepared a Rs. 80 crore Master Plan for renovation of the Kukke Subramanya temple located in rural village called Subramanya in the Western Ghats of the State, about 105 km from the coastal town Mangalore.

The temple is one of the famous pilgrimage sites in the state. A sum of Rs. 80 crore of the temple funds would be utilized for renovation work of the temple, construction of guesthouse, commercial complex, booking counter, bus-stand and other facilities. The work would be launched soon and would be completed in a year, Minister for Muzrai S. N. Krishnaiah Setty told presspersons on Wednesday.

Kukke Subramanya is on the bank of river Kumaradhara. There are quite a few guest houses at Kukke. The funds would be utilized for construction of more guest houses for providing accommodation for visiting pilgrims from the other parts of the country and abroad, he said.

Kukke Subramanya was in the news last year when cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Utthappa and film celebrities such as Shilpa Shetty and the Kapoor family visited the temple.

<b>Tirupathi Temple </b>

A decision has also been taken to construct a 1,000 room guesthouse on 7.5 acres, land adjoining the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Tirupathi, for providing accommodation for pilgrims visiting the temple from Karnataka.

Mr Setty said that the land dispute between the State Government and the Andhra Pradesh Government has been resolved. An agreement would be signed soon between two states for construction of the guesthouse. Thousands of devotees have come forward to donate funds for the construction of the guesthouse which would be built in a span of two years, the Minister said.

The land dispute had come to the surface over the past decade after the Karnataka Government stated that the land belonged to it and the Andhra Pradesh Government claimed that the land was taken over by that Government in 1958.

The 7.5-acre land was donated by the then Maharaja of Mysore and after the formation of the State the land became a Government property. Over the last few years, the State Government has given a narrow piece of this land to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to widen the road adjoining the Lord Venkateshwara Temple.

Misconceptions about Indian Architecture

The history and classification of Indian architecture suffers from the stamp given by Fergusson in the 19th century. According to him, anything good and creative is derived from the west (West-Asia) or north (Central-Asia), thus from the outside.
Havell heavily criticized his stereotyped approach, and gives a balanced and realistic view, which most probably would have earned him the title of a Hindu-nationalist supporter. Fortunately, on one hand no one has branded him as such. But on the other he is hardly quoted by anyone when dealing with Indian architecture. Thus, standard works are still according to the Fergusson school of thinking.
In my opinion, in order to appreciate and understand Indian architecture during from 1000 CE on, Havell’s works “Indian architecture, its psychology, structure, and history from the first Muhammadan invasion to the present day” (1913) and “A Handbook Of Indian Art” (1920) are of the utmost importance for a restart. The next fase would be to (re)read the Shilpashastras with this balanced insight of Havell and then appreciating the Rajput structures more fully.

Below are selected quotations of Havell’s first chapter, criticizing Fergusson (and in a sense modern standard works too) and his misconception of Indian architecture, which I couldn’t have said better. It gives a good insight into the matter. The rest of the book (and other) can be read at: http://www.archive.org/details/

Indian architecture, its psychology, structure, and history from the first Muhammadan invasion to the present day (1913) by E.B. Havell

The history of architecture is not, as Fergusson thought, the classification of buildings in archaeological water-tight compartments according to arbitrary academic ideas of style, but a history of national life and thought. The first duty of an historian of Indian architecture is to realise for himself the distinctive qualities which constitute its Indianness, or its value in the synthesis of Indian life. Fergusson only read into Indian architecture the values he attached to it from his knowledge of Western archaeology, and consequently the only result of his magnificent pioneer work has been to give the subject an honourable place in the Western architect's library among the books which are never read. At the same time Fergusson's authority among archaeologists has been so great that, except on minor points of classification, his views of Indian history have never been seriously disputed ; and the ever-increasing quantity of most valuable material collected by the Archaeological Survey of India year by year is still religiously docketed and labelled according to the scheme laid down by him forty years ago. (preface)

All of these misconceptions have their root in one fixed idea, the belief that true aesthetic feeling has always been wanting in the Hindu mind, and that everything really great in Indian art has been suggested or introduced by foreigners. (chapter 1, p.1)

…he treats all of Jahangir's and Shah Jahan's buildings as not being of Indian origin, but as entirely conceived by architects of Western Asia, and suggests Samarkand, rebuilt by Timur (A.D. 1393-1404), as the locality which would throw light on "the style which the Moguls introduced into India."
This persistent habit of looking outside of India for the origins of Indian art must necessarily lead to false conclusions. … but for the vital creative impulse which inspired any period of Indian art, whether it be Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, or Muhammadan, one will only find its source in the traditional Indian culture planted in Indian soil by Aryan philosophy, which reached its highest artistic expression before the Mogul dynasty was established, and influenced the greatest works of the Muhammadan period as much as any others. The Taj, the Moti Masjid at Agra, the Jami' Masjid at Delhi, and the splendid Muhammadan buildings at Bijapur were only made possible by the not less splendid monuments of Hindu architecture at Mudhera, Dabhoi, Khajuraho, Gwalior, and elsewhere, which were built before the Mogul Emperors and their Vice-roys made use of Hindu genius to glorify the faith of Islam. (chapter 1, p.2)

Even the term "Mogul" architecture is misleading, for as a matter of fact there were but few Mogul builders in India. The great majority of the builders employed by the Moguls including not only the humbler artisans but the master-minds which directed them were Indians, or of Indian descent. Some were professed Muhammadans, but many were Hindus. Mogul architecture does not bear witness, as we assume, to the finer aesthetic sense of Arab, Persian, or Western builders, but to the extraordinary synthetical power of the Hindu artistic genius. (chapter 1, p.3)

Practically all Saracenic symbolism in architecture was borrowed directly or indirectly from India, Persia, Byzantium, or Alexandria, though devout Muhammadans put their own reading into the symbols they borrowed, just as the early Christians did with those they borrowed from paganism.
Even the pointed arch only acquired from India the religious significance which eventually led the Saracenic builders to adopt it as their own, through the contact of the Arabs with the Buddhists of Western Asia ; and thus the very feature by which all Western writers have distinguished Saracenic architecture from the indigenous architecture of India was originally Indian. (chapter 1, p.4)

The permanent mosques of the first Arab disciples of the Prophet, like the churches of the early Christians, were in most cases not buildings specially constructed for their own ritual, but those belonging to rival creeds reconsecrated for the worship of Allah. When the Arabs started on their
career of conquest, the first objects of their iconoclastic zeal were the temples and monasteries of the hated idolaters the Buddhists of Western Asia. After smashing the images and breaking as much of their sculptured ornamentation as offended against the injunctions of their law, the buildings with the empty niches the quondam Buddhist shrines remaining in their solid walls were often converted into mosques.
The hallowed associations of generations of Buddhist worshippers still clung to these desecrated shrines, and the doctors of Islam found it necessary to explain them in a Muhammadan sense. Hence the mihrab the niche of the principal image of Buddha came to indicate the direction of the holy city of Mecca; (chapter 1, p.5)

All the forms of the pointed arch which characterise Saracenic buildings in the West are found in the niches of the temples of the various Brahmanical sects in India which inherited the early Buddhist traditions. Remove the images and the sculptured ornament of the niches, and you find the ordinary Arab arch, the stilted arch, the foliated arch, etc. …
The contemptuous name which Arabian historians gave to all the temples of the infidel in India Boud-khana, or "Buddha-house" is one of the many proofs of the early connections of Buddhism with Islam. (chapter 1, p.6)

The so-called stalactite pendentive is simply an agglomeration of miniature mihrab niches * geometrically arranged to perform the structural purpose for which it was intended. The pointed domes, pendentives, and other characteristic features of pure Saracenic architecture are therefore not to be derived from any natural motifs, but simply from the application of their religious symbolism to all the ancient constructive forms, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Buddhist, and Hindu, used by the builders of the many different races and creeds whom the Arabs employed. (chapter 1, p.8)

Buddhist art had spread all over
Western Asia in the previous centuries,- and Buddhist-Hindu art was at its zenith when India received the first shock of the Muhammadan invasions. As the armies of Islam, largely recruited from Tartary and Central Asia, came nearer to the north-west frontier of India, Saracenic art came into closer contact with Buddhist-Hindu civilisation and became more and more impregnated with Indian influences, until at last Arab, Persian, and Central Asian art lost their own individual
identity as creative forces, and merged themselves into different local phases of Indian art of which the aesthetic basis was essentially Hindu, and only Arab, Mogul, and Muslim in a political, ritualistic, and dogmatic sense. (chapter 1, p.10)

The Saracenic art which came into India had likewise been Indianised before it crossed the Indus ; for it was upon the basis of Buddhist-Hindu civilisation that the two earliest styles of Indo-Muhammadan architecture, which Fergusson calls the Ghaznavide and the Pathan, had been built. It was in the Gandhara country that Mahmud of Ghazni and his successors had the centre of their power, and Indian builders were employed in constructing " the palaces and public buildings, mosques, pavilions, reservoirs, aqueducts, and cisterns " with which Mahmud's capital was adorned " be-yond any city in the East." The builders were not the fighting Afghans, but descendants of the peaceful Buddhist builders adapting their art structurally as well as decoratively to the needs of a militant instead of a monastic community, and to the symbolism of a monotheistic creed. …
The Arabs, before they came to India as conquerors, had drunk deeply at
many sources of Hindu culture ; and though they detested Hindu sculpture and painting on religious grounds, they had the highest respect for the skill of Indian architects and artists.
Alberuni, the Arab historian who visited India in the beginning of the eleventh century and knowing all the architectural splendour of Baghdad at the height of its glory, before it was laid waste by the Mongols, expressed his astonishment at and admiration for the works of Hindu builders. "Our people," he said, "when they see them, wonder at them and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them." (chapter 1, p.11)

… Mahmud of Ghazni, in spite of his detestation of Hindu idolatry, could not refrain from expressing his admiration for Hindu builders. Ferishta tells us that after the sack of Mathura he wrote to the Governor of Ghazni extravagantly extolling the magnificence of the buildings and the city. …
When he returned to Ghazni he brought back 5,300 Hindu captives, doubtless the
greater number of them masons and craftsmen, for building the magnificent mosque of marble and granite known by the name of the Celestial Bride, which he caused to be built to commemorate his triumphs. Seeing how great the reputation of Hindu craftsmen was, and since we know that Harun-al-Rashid renewed the ancient intercourse of Mesopotamia with India and had Indian ambassadors at his Court, we may safely assume that Indian builders, artists, and craftsmen were among those of other nations which the great Khalif and his successors employed in the building of Baghdad, just as Timur, the founder of the Mogul dynasty, used them five centuries later in the building of Samarkand. (chapter 1, p.12)

[About Indo-Muslim architecture:]
It is Indian art, not Arab, Persian, or European, that we must study to find whence came the inspiration of the Taj Mahall and great monuments of Bijapur. They are more Indian than St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey are English. (chapter 1, p.13)

<!--QuoteBegin-Ishwa+Aug 13 2008, 03:21 AM-->QUOTE(Ishwa @ Aug 13 2008, 03:21 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->and suggests Samarkand, rebuilt by Timur (A.D. 1393-1404), as the locality which would throw light on "the style which the Moguls introduced into India."

This is grossly inaccurate assumption by secular historians and contradicts the undeniable facts.

I have read Taimur's memoirs where he most particularly mentions how during his invasion of North India, he picked up the Hindu architects and chief masons (besides elephants) and took them to his capital for the purpose of building mosques, and a grand tomb for himself in which he was interred later. He most contemptuously though humbly admits that only wretched hanood kafirs knew how to construct so beautifully.

Many of the middle age buildings of Samarkand even today have a permanent Hindu marker on them. Will post some images later if time permits.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Aug 12 2008, 09:11 PM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Aug 12 2008, 09:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I have read Taimur's memoirs where he most particularly mentions how during his invasion of North India, he picked up the Hindu architects and chief masons (besides elephants) and took them to his capital for the purpose of building mosques, and a grand tomb for himself in which he was interred later.  He most contemptuously though humbly admits that only wretched hanood kafirs knew how to construct so beautifully.

Yes, Timur sent streams and streams of kaffr artisans from Hind to embellish Samarqand. The so called Timurid architectural efflorescence was a result of these same artisans from our desh Dilli, Meerut, Jammu, Kangra etc. There are surviving central Asian registries listing these thousands of slaves taken from India. Not surprisingly the seculars have suppressed this work from gaining greater currency. Further, we also know that Babur disdainfully declares that he could indulge in big construction work because the kaffirs are available as artisans.
Dear Bodhi and HH, you are absolutely right.

Many standard work and tourist information drawing upon those standard works lean towards Fergusson's misconceptions.
Havell rightly criticized him for this. Havell everytime underlines the Indian mind and execution behind Muslim period structures.

My own conception, like of some other, goes further than Havell's. The Muslim structures are occupied pre-Muslim structures or Muslim-period Hindu structures reconverted or stripped off of Hindu/Jain elements. There was some minimal cosmetic change needed: getting rid of icons and idols and choosing an empty niche for the qiblah was enough. But they failed to get rid of of flower and some animal ornamentations in the walls and Jaalis.

The Muslims deliberately choose structures like Ashtashra Mandapas or octagon sanctums. Maha-Stambhas or Towers (functioning as Dipa-Stambha or Kirtti-Stambha) of vajra=ashtashra and vrtta forms were retained, even though these were worthless for a muezzin.
In some structures the Bhitti-Stambhas in the walls of the edifice grew like Maha-Stambhas above the sanctum in the 4 corners giving the name of charminar. (the pre-Mughal palace of Mansingh Tomara has Bhitti-Stambhas in the corners and two in the middle towering above the walls)

The onion-shaped dome with lotus, etc. were all Indian inventions, for which they had the Shastra and executors. This becomes clear when in ca. 1654 Aurangzeb ordered Muslim dome experts to repair the cracks in domes of the Taj, which they couldn't for the most part.
The Hindus even had an ashtashra variant of this onion-shaped dome, like in Chittorgarh.

The influential indigenous Shilpa schools from Gaur (Magadha) in the east and Gujarat (Nagara) in the west interacted vividly with the northern, central (Malava), central-southern (Vesara) and southern (Dravida) Shilpa schools.
On can find the lost Panjab-Haryana and Doaba Shilpa schools in the Turk-Pathan-Mughal occupied structures, mostly tombs. (ekaratna, triratna and pancharatna domes, eka-,dvi-, catuh-shala Mandapas

On Babur
Like most Muslim and Mughal rulers, his information about his building activities contain much half-truths. He wasn't active with new structures, but like most Muslims ordered masons in many occupied cities to strip the structures off their icons and idols. Babur was a true Ghazi.
While showing his contempt for India it made him blind for what India had to offer. His assumption that there were no gardens or artificial watery works in India is a sign of his ignorance or his intention to cover up that he occupied and gave his name to existing Vapins (wain or baoli) and canals in his territories. Being totally ignorant of structures in Rajasthan, Vijayanagara and elsewhere.
How much could he have built just in four years, while being constantly insecure of his position, not having subdued Pathans and Hindus. (Mewar lost a battle at Khanua, but Babur didn't dare to attack Chittor or Jodhpur or Jaipur.)

A Persian manuscript giving names of workers constructing the Taj Mahal, give the name of Ramlal Kashmiri as the garden expert! Not a Tajik-Turk or Persian, but a Hindu from Kashmir (probably also responsible for the Shalimar garden).
The word Chahar Bagh is very misleading. Any garden divided in 4 parts can be a chaturbhaga Vatika. Hindu constructional planning is based upon Pada-metry. The Taj garden displays the 4/16-fold Pada concept.
A few miles above the Taj was the ancient garden palace of Raja Bhoja (as per ASI records), the Paramara.
Gardens were essential parts of palaces and temples.

The number 8 for palace courts is old, see Brhacchakatikam describing the palace of Vasantasena in Ujjain. The vivid description must have been of a real existing palace.
The number 8 is central to the Navaranga Mandapa, 8 Padas around a central hall.

In short, what is really originally Muslim in the structures of India upto Central-Asia? In my opinion, almost nothing.
Where are the most ancient shrines of vArAhI and indrANI surviving?

Aurangzeb and Moti Masjid Delhi

Aurangzeb was a fanatic fundamentalist Sunni Muslim. He is said to have ordered for building the Moti Masjid in Shahjahanabad in Delhi. Fine. But a Sunni Muslim ordering for a Masjid to be built could never have ordered for floral depections as that is against Islam! But see the floral depictions in the interior cusped or Nagabandha arches at http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritche...motimasjid.html
The minor decorative pillars outside have also floral (padma) motives. This Moti Masjid is clearly not a building of a Sunni Aurangzeb.

If Aurangzeb hadn’t built Moti Masjid, certainly not Shahjahan and no one after Aurangzeb, and the structure is in the same style as the Khas Mahal, Divans etc., we must simply admit that it is not a Mughal construction! The style of the Moti Masjid is completely within the style of the rest of the Shahjahan buildings, like the Khas Mahal, etc.. Are these also not Shahjahan’s? Did Shahjahan usurp existing buildings and give it some minor cosmetic changes like he did with Raja Mansingh’s Palace, famous as Taj Mahal?

There is a painting preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, reproduced in the Illustrated Weekly of India (page 32) of March 14, 1971. Shahjahan ascended the throne in 1628 A.D. This contemporary painting shows him receiving the Persian ambassador in ca. 1628 (!) itself, in the Diwan-i-Aam of the Red Fort. If true, how can Shahjahan receive a Persian ambassador in the Diwan-I Am in Shahjahanabad Red Fort in ca. 1628, if that city was supposed to have been built in the 1640s? Why was this information, correct or not, added to the painting?
Retrieved from: http://www.stephen-knapp.com/red_fort_photo_two.htm

Shahjahan certainly was capable of twisting history, which in fact he did. Keene:"Shahjahan surpassed all the Moghul emperors in autocratic pride, and was the first of them to safeguard the throne by murdering all possible rivals According to Roe who knew Shahjahan personally, his nature was unbending and mingled with extreme pride, and contempt of all."

Shahjahan ordered Kamgar Khan to make a new account of Jahangir's reign after the latter's death, to carefully eliminate from Jahangir's own chronicle all adverse references to the rebellious Shahjahan when the latter was a prince. Sir H.M. Elliot observes: "He (Kamgar Khan) was at last induced to undertake it (writing a spurious history of Jahangir's reign) at the instigation of the emperor Shahjahan in the third year of his reign."

Begley: "Shahjahan himself was probably responsible for this twisting of historical truth. The truth would have shown him to be inconsistent and this could not be tolerated. For this reason also, the histories contain no statements of any kind that are critical of the Emperor or his policies, and even military defeats are rationalized so that no blame could be attached to him. ... effusive praise of the Emperor is carried to such extremes that he seems more a divinity than a mortal man." [Begley & Desai: Taj Mahal - The Illumined Tomb, p. xxvi]

It seems to have been customary to have flatterers as court biographers (Abul Fazl and alike) who wrote down what they were ordered to or what did please their patrons, even though not true. Jahangir was also rebellious and had Abul Fazl killed in that period. Sir H. M. Elliot about Jahangir’s biographies: ‘There are several works which profess to be the Autobiographical Memoirs of the Emperor Jahangir and there is confusion in their titles.. There are two distinct editions of the Memoirs which differ entirely from each other, Major Price translated one, Anderson wrote upon the other. It will be seen also that there are varieties of each edition.’
<!--QuoteBegin-Ishwa+Aug 28 2008, 04:12 PM-->QUOTE(Ishwa @ Aug 28 2008, 04:12 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is a painting preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, reproduced in the Illustrated Weekly of India (page 32) of March 14, 1971. Shahjahan ascended the throne in 1628 A.D. This contemporary painting shows him receiving the Persian ambassador in ca. 1628 (!) itself, in the Diwan-i-Aam of the Red Fort. If true, how can Shahjahan receive a Persian ambassador in the Diwan-I Am in Shahjahanabad Red Fort in ca. 1628, if that city was supposed to have been built in the 1640s? Why was this information, correct or not, added to the painting? 
Retrieved from: http://www.stephen-knapp.com/red_fort_photo_two.htm

This painting retrieved from: http://www.stephen-knapp.com/red_fort_photo_two.htm
must be the same as:
Shelfmark and folio: MS. Ous. Add. 173, fol. 13v
Description: Shahjahan receiving the Persian embassy of 1628. [caption title] No. 13. Jehangir Padshah [caption on page]
Dimensions: 345 x 238 mm. ; Materials: opaque watercolour on paper.

At this site, one can see the painting in colour, but without the remarks above:

Title: [Shahjahan receives a Persian ambassador. 'No. 13. Jehangir Padshah' [caption on page]]
Description: Miniature painting, from an album of Indian paintings principally devoted to portraits of the Mughal emperors.
Date: 1640
Artist: Payag
Abstract: Court scene with imperial portraits. Mughal style, 17th century, c. 1640.
Note: References: Cat. Persian [etc.] Mss. in the Bodleian Library, 1899; Ebba Koch, Mughal art (2001), fig. 4.64; Binyon (1921), plate XXXVI, captioned 'Reception of an embassy by Aurangzib'; Topsfield (2007), 33.
Note: References: Cat. Persian [etc.] Mss. in the Bodleian Library, 2384;

Shahjahanabad was started to be built in 1639. Chandarbhan Brahman composed a verse in 1648 to commemorate the inauguration of the imperial palace-fortress. This verse is preserved on the “Char Chaman Brahman”, Persian Manuscript Collection, Or. 1892, British Museum, London, fols.141-2. [Peter. P. Blake: Shahjahanabad, p.ix]

Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi in 1648! That is the time of the inauguration with the verse by court noble Chandarbhan commemorating that. Which means that in 1639 the building activities were started and going on upto 1648, and no building should even have been there in 1640. It takes time to plan, contract workers, lay a foundation, etc.
But even if the painting information after giving the date of 1628, provides a second date of 1640, it is still 8 years too early! Official foreign ambassadors will never be received in an Diwan yet to progress in building in a dirty complex of unfinished, unprotectable buildings with workers making noise, etc.
Some fishy claims.
This is about the Hinglaj temple in TSP. If anyone recalls Jaswant Singh had led a group of pilgrims to the temple and there was some publicity to temples still in TSP.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Footloose: Sri Mata Hinglaj —Salman Rashid </b>

The setting is idyllic. A narrow gorge with walls of contorted rock rising up to heights of several hundred feet. The streambed, all of fifty metres wide, with a trickle of water richly endowed with trees of all sorts where white-cheeked bulbuls sing with abandon. Overheard, the tawny eagle quarters the peaks on broad wings with splayed primaries and, if you are lucky, you may espy a wolf warily eyeing you from a thicket of reeds before melting away as if it was never there in the first place.

Here and there, the dun-coloured walls of the gorge have been eaten away by eons of flowing water to create dramatic overhangs. And occasionally the streambed, gouged out by the infrequent flash floods sweeping down it, forms a deep pond of liquid emerald. <b>One of these overhangs is the shrine of Durga and right below it is the sacred pond. Considered unfathomable</b>, it is the recipient of coconuts thrown in with full force by pilgrims. The quantum of bubbles that escape tells the thrower of impending happiness or misery: the greater the fizz, the happier the person. Fast bowlers, take note.

<b>Hindu legend maintains that upon her death, the goddess Durga was rent asunder in many parts. The bits fell all over the earth, each sanctifying the spot where it came to rest. One of those spots was under the rock overhang in this dramatic side valley of the main Hingol River valley. The place became one of the most celebrated shrines in all India and though the annual pilgrimage takes place every year in the third week of January, stray pilgrims are met with any other time as well. </b>While the Hindus burn their sacred lamps for Durga, Muslims perform obsequies after their own fashion for Bibi Nani who is believed to be buried here. It is not without interest that during the annual pilgrimage bus caravans from Karachi and other parts of Balochistan bear followers of both religions.

<b>Now, Durga is fine. But who is Bibi Nani who</b>, besides being buried here, also rests under a bridge at the south end of the Bolan Pass not very far from Sibi town? Five thousand years ago, the people of Mesopotamia worshipped Nania, goddess of love and war, who was also known as Ishtar. She was evidently a much-revered goddess whose divinity was jealously acknowledged even in southern Persia.

In 2280 BCE, Kudur-Nankhundi, the king of Elam (southwest Persia), attacked Erech in the kingdom of Ur (Mesopotamia) and among other booty made off with the idol of Nania. For sixteen hundred years the Mesopotamians smarted under the shame of this debacle. Then in 645 BCE, king Assurbanipal, taking advantage of the weakness of Elam, sacked Erech, retrieved the Nania idol and restored it to its rightful sanctum in the Land Between Two Rivers.

Now historical record shows that Nania’s land was Mesopotamia. But we have her being worshipped here in Balochistan as well. Archaeology shows us that Mesopotamia and the valley of the Sindhu River enjoyed regular and heavy human traffic both ways. There were traders, craftsmen, professionals, fakirs, what have you, who worshipped her and their other gods and travelled across the lands under their protection. As they came and went across this vast landmass, they sanctified suitable sites across the Balochistan-Iran seaboard to different gods. Hinglaj near the banks of the Hingol River was dedicated to Nania.

<b>A few thousand years were to pass before the fair-skinned singers of Vedic hymns descended into the subcontinent.</b> The cult of Nania may then have been moribund and the new-comers found the lovely, well-watered and sylvan valley good enough to worship their own deities.<b> Durga was thus grafted over the dying memory of Nania</b>. But as in the work of a poor plastic surgeon the graft did not make the scar tissue altogether disappear. <b>As part of the collective human memory, Nania remained barely discernible under the Durga legend.</b>

Two more millenniums went by and Islam became the prevalent religion in the region. But the crowded and lively pantheon of the subcontinent corrupted the purity of its strict monotheism. The newly-converted Muslims, unable to shun the graven images they had worshipped for thousands of years, turned to prostrate at the tombs of those at whose hands they had received conversion. They also incorporated early, sometimes pagan, worship sites into their ritual after duly giving them ‘Islamic’ names. Hinglaj was just one among dozens of such ancient sites.

<b>To worship Durga was out of the question, however. Fortunately there was at hand the lingering memory of Nania wafting like a ghost on the fringes of consciousness. The Muslims converted her to become Bibi Nani — Respected Elderly Lady. Today, Hindus and Muslims alike attend the annual festival to petition, each according to their own sensibilities, Durga or Nani nee Nania for sons and wealth.</b>

In the pre-dawn darkness of a cool January morning in 1986, I rode an army truck from Karachi to the Hingol River. The truck was loaded down with a concrete mixer and once off the RCD Highway short of Uthal we were on dirt trails. Because of our ungainly payload and fear of overturning, the journey was excruciatingly slow. We bumped and lurched along, first in darkness and then in the golden light of a winter morning, through a landscape of weirdly shaped hills and sand dunes. The journey lasted seventeen hours.

My most memorable image from that trip is of the several mud volcanoes we passed. Though the driver did not agree to stop to permit me to climb up and look into the maw, the image is yet etched into my mind. I had to wait sixteen years for the chance of climbing up the cone to watch the grey concoction bubble and explode upward in little shafts.

Then Sri Mata Hinglaj was rather unspoilt, the absence of roads making it nearly impossible to reach. Pilgrims during the annual festival travelled from Karachi in buses that took three days to complete the journey. Though I was on the heels of the festival, the place was still clean despite the splotches of blood at a place where the ritual slaughter of goats takes place.

Returning in 2002, my friend and I sped along the brand new Coastal Highway that connects Karachi with Gwadar. Compared to the seventeen hours in the army truck, it took us less than four hours in a car. Hinglaj was a bit disappointing. A black-top road now branches off from the main highway to lead right up to the shrine which now has a steel gateway as an entrance. Inside, there is an ugly shed and bathrooms for pilgrims and the shrine of Durga is now duly affixed with fancy bathroom tiles.

Even in 1986, I was disappointed to see the ugly masonry cubicle stuck under the overhang. The primal setting, I strongly felt, should have been left as it was. This time around it looked even more tacky with the bathroom tiles. The stench from the toilets and the heaps of discarded plastic and paper packing material did nothing to uplift. Between my two visits, much had been taken away from pristine Hinglaj.

<b>We do not know if Nania was created in the Sindhu Valley and sprinkled across the two thousand five hundred-kilometre landmass separating the Sindhu from the Tigris-Euphrates system, or if it came the other way. But one thing we do know without a shadow of doubt: that Nania is the longest-surviving cult. It has weathered six thousand years with the same name. That is what we know from the records. Who knows if she had been around even earlier?</b>

Salman Rashid is a travel writer and knows Pakistan like the back of his hand. He can be reached at odysseus@link.net.pk


Maybe Ishtar and all are Durga forms from the Hindu civilization? If so those three goddesses in Kaaba are Durga forms?

HH can you look you Lalitha Sahasranama and see if there is any homologues?
Back from shrI ekali~Nga shrine, I find myself with questions, answers to which I could not find.

A request to hauma hamiddha ji to share his clarity and insight in these matters. Here are the observations:

1. While gaNapati rules, kumAra is all but forgotten. totally ignored. why?

2. There is a shrine in the complex, comparatively older one, with a shivali~Nga submerged in water, and place for a vigraha behind it, although no vigraha unlike other such shrines here -- this probably removed from here. But what is surprising is that the entrance to this shrine is guarded not by usual gaNapati and bhairava, but chaturmukha-prajApati and chaturbhuja-viShNu themselves. I have not seen such arrangement before.

3. indra himself climbing on his elephant guards the shrine to the 20-bhujI, 10-mukhI chaNDI. This vigraha of indra is quite literally the same replica of another such in the bramhA temple of puShkara. In the prajApati shrine at puShkara, there are two such mUrti-s guarding the entrance. The one at left is called indra and exactly the same on the right hand side is called kubera, both riding on massive elephants. I doubt the accuracy in calling them indra/kubera? But then the exactly the same "indra" guards chaNDI's entrance...

4. Once a week, on mondays, the present royal in the seat of mewar himself performs the duty of the priest in the main shrine.

5. Temple is full of stone prashasti-edicts. While a majority of these carry the traditional seal of mewar (Cow feeding her calf under the glare of sun and moon), there are some of an older layer. I noticed two such stone edicts, almost lying in abandoned state. What was striking was the image inscibed as the seal. In one, depicted is a sexual union of a human female with a boar-like person. The female is resting on the ground with both legs and the right hand, while the boar is mounting her. In her right hand she bears a spherical object, like a ball, between the hand and the ground, while with her left hand she holds the neck of the boar. I for once speculated it to be depicting vArAha and bhU-devI, but then the image depicts the female figure as dominating and the primary person. The writing on the edict is in nAgarI but completely illegible. The other set, right next to this image appears to be slightly newer than this, and in this one, the boar image looks more like a horse, and so does the female image. There is absolutely no writing on this stone. I wished to take a picture of these, but was not allowed.

6. You had indicated that this shrine was originally a pAshupata shrine. But the coinage of bappA rAwala supports that he was actually initiated in nAtha tradition. The traditional story told about his initiation into nAthamata by a nAtha yogI, and then blessings by devI, is strikingly similar to the one about pR^ithvI nArAyaNa the founder of nepal's hindu shAhI. (Or tulajA-bhawAnI's blessings to shivAjI)
came in email:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>ISKCON, Hyderabad has received a demolition notice</b> to enable road expansion. The devotees have undertaken a protest marathon harinam. The collector said that he was not aware it was ISKCON. But the notice has not been withdrawn as yet.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Can someone from Hyderabad verify?
Confirmed..christo YSR
Vigil to protect brass on Kerala temple roof</b>
November 10th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS -
Chengannur (Kerala) Nov 10 (IANS) A 2,000 year old temple in Kerala's Alappuzha district is being closely guarded by villagers after many foreign companies showed a keen interest in buying a piece of brass that caps the shrine's roof. Residents of Muthavazhu village, about 100 km from capital Thiruvananthapuram, are on alert since many people have visited the hamlet in the past few months to convince the priests to sell them the "thazhikakodam" - the piece of brass covering the Sreekumara Mangalam Subramaniyam Swamy temple's pointed roof. In return, they are willing to give gold.

"Several agents of national and foreign companies have been approaching for some time with promises of building an auditorium, getting the dome of the temple covered in gold and also installing a gold staff in front of the temple. In return, they want us to give them the piece of brass that occupies an area of less than 100 sq ft," said Gopakumar, president of the temple board.

According to legend, the brass cap of the temple roof protects the temple and its surrounding area from lightning and also has supernatural powers.

"We have decided that it is our duty to see that we protect our temple from evil eyes. We have formed groups of 20 people who take turns to guard the temple 24 hours," said Gopakumar.

The temple, which is built on a 1.5 acre plot, houses an idol of Hindu god Subramaniyam.

"We have decided to appoint a committee of experts to find out the science behind the piece of brass. There must be something special about it or so many people would not have offered to buy it. But no matter what, we will never part with it," said Gopakumar.

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