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Ladakh Diaries Part 9: Lamayuru

Lamayuru is one of the most ancient monasteries in Ladakh, the oldest surviving structure dating to the 11 th century CE. What makes this monastery particularly fascinating, is its location, amidst what is today called the “moonscape”, for the spectacular natural rock formations, which truly are “out of the world”! As per legend , there once existed a huge lake in this area, populated only by the Nagas (serpents). It was prophesized that there would be a great monastery built here. This prophecy came true when the great acharya Naropa (756-1041 CE) arrived. He emptied the lake, meditated for many years inside a cave, and built the first monastery here. The present structure is a new one, built around the cave where Acharya Naropa is said to have meditated. This legend seems to fit well with the geological formations seen in the area, which suggest this was a paleo-lake, which disappeared around 1000 years ago. Lamayuru is about 130 km from Leh , and the Indus River flows along th

Diwali Tour part 7 – Around Kumbakonam – Dharasuram

Recently bestowed a World Heritage Status, Dharasuram is surely one of the most beautiful temples in this area. It forms a sort of trinity along with two other grand temples – the big temple at Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram. While it was Raja Raja Cholan who built the Brihadeeshwara Temple at Thanjavur, it was his son, Rajendra Cholan who was responsible for the beautiful architecture of Gangaikonda Cholapuram. His son, Raja Raja Cholan II is the one who built this beautiful temple at Dharasuram. Thus, across three generations, from grandfather to grandson, they kept alive the tradition of creating beauty aligned with faith, and leaving behind stones which speak more about their creators than records will ever do.




Dharasuram is the place where Indra’s elephant Airavata performed penance and was blessed by Lord Shiva. Hence the main deity is Airavateswarar, and his consort is Periyanayaki.

Here is a photo blog about this wonderful temple.


From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip
Well kept lawns welcome us to Dharasuram. This is thanks to the world heritage status


From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip
The main entrance to the temple.



From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip
Carving of chariot wheels in the temple. These are carvings on the base on which the sanctum stands.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
This is the first Pragaram of the temple.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Here is the main gopuram.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
One of the paintings on the outer walls of the temple

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Another painting



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
This is a channel through which the water poured on the lingam during the abhishekam flows out into a well outside the sanctum. Look how beautifully it has been made into an arch big enough for a man to pass through.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
The early morning sunrays peeping through the gopurams.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
One of the smaller gopurams



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Bhikshatanar on the outer wall of sanctum



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Ardhanareeshwarar




Here are a few sculptures on the pillars of the main temple. They depict various scenes from day to day life.

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
One of the gopurams, depicting Gajalakshmi


From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Detail on base of the temple.

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Another view of the temple


Here are a few carvings on the base of the Sannidhi. Most of them depict animals, mostly lions and elphants, with a few cows here and there.

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Painting on outer wall of Sannidhi

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
Another painting

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
A sculpture on the base of Sannidhi

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
A parrot sits on a Nandi on the gopuram

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
A window carved from a single piece of stone


Here are some more carvings from the temple

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2

From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2



This is a carving on the pillars of the Amman Sannidhi. They aren't half as ornate as those in the Shiva sannidhi.
From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2


From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
We are back at the main entrance.



From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
This is all that is left of the main gate of the temple. The outer pragaram, which once enclosed both the Shiva and Amman Sannidhis is no more, Till a few years back, apparently, some parts of the ruins were still standing,but now none are left, save this solitary reminder that yes, there was once a wall here.........


From Diwal 08 Thanjavur Trip 2
As we bid goodbye to this beautiful temple, we catch a glimpse of the beautiful gopuram through the trees....

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