Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kudala Sangama

KudalaSangama is my family deity's place... and mandates a yearly pilgrimage to the same. "sangama" is a confluence, rivers krishna and ghataprabha merge here and flow towards srisailam, another revered place in the neighbouring andhra pradesh. KudalaSangameshwara was also the personal deity of basavanna, a prominent kannada preacher and reformer who wrote "vachanas", short passages/poetry, teaching rightful conduct. the vachanas were a revolution at his time, because they were the first religious text to be written in kannada and not in sanskrit, as was the custom. these vachanas, much like kabir's dohe, form an integral and important chunk of kannada literature and feature in the state syllabus for schools

though i am not a big fan of temples/temple-towns, the note-worthy place here is the "aikya linga" of basavanna, placed at the point of confluence of the two rivers. old-time saints, when they died, left their souls in a linga. so, the linga, is actually at the bottom of the river, with a cylindrical structure built around it till the ground level. so you climb down a circular stairway to reach this place.

this is the 'ratha', the chariot, used during the annual festivities around shiv-ratri.

a few years back, the main temple and the rivers and the "aikya linga" mantap was all there was to kudalasangama. now, the temple has been given a facelift, with the courtyard done beautifully and flowering plants everywhere... and guesthouses and libraries and a museum and a bunch of other nice places to see.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

princesses of our times

"And then?" chimed the little girl with wondrous green eyes.
Her skin was as white as snow and the winter had turned her tiny nose red. She cupped her pale cheeks with her palms and looked up at the old man.

".. And then, the frog insisted that the princess let the frog eat out of her tiny golden plate. the princess got soooo disgusted. 'cheee cheee' said the princess"... and he motioned with his hands and wrinkled his long nose.
The little girl's eyes widened some more before she burst into a fit of laughter. The old man's wrinkled face was a canvas of animated expressions and the little girl was absolutely delighted.

"And then?" she asked again.

The story continued - slowly and surely and tirelessly - till the wondrous green eyes began drooping and her and-then's began fading.

The old man beckoned the girl's mother to carry the girl to her bed. He was too weak and bent with age to carry the little girl himself - the little girl who had lost both her legs, both her brothers, all her friends and her hearing to the incessant warfare that continued to ravage their village by the countryside. One of the few things she could now say was "And then?" whenever her grandpa, and now her only playmate, regaled her with his animated stories.