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This is the tallest structure in this area and hence the first thing you would notice as you enter the Royal Enclosure. From a distance this looks like an ordinary elevated square stage. As you go close, the details emerge. The whole structure is made as a giant square structure in three layers.
There are mainly two stairways to reach the top. The front one (east facing) is highly decorated on either sides with carvings of elephants, horses and a host of other things. On the top there is nothing special to see except the great views on the campus around it. At the back of the platform a twin staircase is located. Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies. Generally one climb up through the front stair & get down through the rear, though there are no restrictions.
The sides of this three layered platform is basically fluted design with chains of sculptures (largely of elephants one behind the other). The most celebrated of the carvings are of the panels at the sidewall in the bottom portion. These dexterously carved sculptures and ornamentations depict any thing from the royal ceremony to the city life to the erstwhile foreign envoys to the kingdom to the hunting scenes to the…… Also any things from the Portuguese to Arabic to Chinese connections are visible. Probably this was made as a photo gallery for the benefit of the foreign envoys who had been visiting the capital. They could get the picture of the pompous celebrations held annually at the capital through theses depictions.
King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). Archeologists believe that this platform had undergone systematic enhancements by successive kings came into power. The greenish schist stone additions in the front portions stands out from the rest and vouch this theory.
The king used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations, the nine day-nine night state festival. And this was the annual occasion the governors of various provinces under the king visited the capital to pledge their loyalty to the king’s dominion. For the king it was an event to demonstrate the imperial pomp and power at his disposal.
A possible close replication and continuation of this you can still witness during the Dussera season at the Mysore palace, the later day capital of the state.
The city of Hampi bears exceptional testimony to the vanished civilization of the kingdom of Vijayanagar, which reached its apogee under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-30). It offers an outstanding example of a type of structure that illustrates a significant historical situation: that of the kingdoms of South India which, menaced by the Muslims, were occasionally allied with the Portuguese of Goa.
The austere, grandiose site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned.
As the final capital of the last of the great kingdom of South India, that of the Vijayanagar, Hampi, enriched by the cotton and the spice trade was one of the most beautiful cities of the medieval world. Its palaces and Dravidian temples were much admired by travellers, be they Arab (Abdul Razaak), Portuguese (Domingo Paes) or Italian (Nicolò dei Conti).
Conquered by the Muslims after the battle of Talikota in 1565, it was plundered over six months and then abandoned. Imposing monumental vestiges, partially disengaged and reclaimed, make of Hampi today one of the most striking ruins of the world.
The temples of Ramachandra (1513) and Hazara Rama (1520), with their sophisticated structure, where each supporting element is scanned by bundles of pilasters or colonnettes which project from the richly sculpted walls, may be counted among the most extraordinary constructions of India. In one of the interior courtyards of the temple of Vitthala, a small monument of a chariot which two elephants, sculpted in the round, struggle to drag along is one of the unusual creations, the favourite of tourists today as well as travellers of the past.
Besides the temples, the impressive complex of civil, princely or public buildings (elephant stables, Queen's Bath, Lotus Mahal, bazaars, markets) are enclosed in the massive fortifications which, however, were unable to repulse the assault of the five sultans of Deccan in 1565.
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Safdarjung's tomb was built by Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah, the son of Safdarjung. Safdarjung was the governor of Awadh and later became the Prime Minister of Muhammad Shah, the Mughal emperor. Built in 1753-1754, the Safdarjung tomb lies at the Lodi road, New Delhi. Safdarjung's tomb is set in the middle of a garden, which spreads over an area of 300 sq m. The garden of Safdarjung's tomb is laid down on the pattern of the Mughal Charbagh style. The Safdarjung tomb was erected roughly on the pattern of Humayun's tomb. Safdarjung's tomb represents the last phase of the Mughal style of architecture. The tomb of Safdarjung was built in red sandstone and buff stone. There are two graves here, one of Safdarjung and the other apparently his wife's. The square central chamber of the mausoleum is surrounded by eight rooms all around. All the apartments, except the corner ones are rectangular in shape, the corner ones being octagonal. The dome of the tomb rises from a sixteen-sided base. On either side of the Safdarjung tomb are beautiful pavilions, known as "Moti Mahal" or the pearl palace, "Jangli Mahal" or the sylvan palace and "Badshah Pasand" or the emperor's favorite.
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In Hinduism, Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा, meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; Bengali: দুর্গা, durga) or Maa Durga (Bengali: মা দুর্গা, ma durga, meaning "Mother Durga") "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress" is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having ten arms, riding a lion or a tiger, carrying weapons and a lotus flower, maintaining a meditative smile, and practicing mudras, or symbolic hand gestures.
An embodiment of creative feminine force (Shakti), Durga exists in a state of svātantrya (independence from the universe and anything/anybody else, i.e., self-sufficiency) and fierce compassion. Kali is considered by Hindus to be an aspect of Durga. Durga is also the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. She is thus considered the fiercer, demon-fighting form of Shiva's wife, goddess Parvati. Durga manifests fearlessness and patience, and never loses her sense of humor, even during spiritual battles of epic proportion.
The word Shakti means divine feminine energy/force/power, and Durga is the warrior aspect of the Divine Mother. Other incarnations include Annapurna and Karuɳamayi (karuɳa = kindness). Durga's darker aspect Kali is represented as the consort of the god Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing.
Durga Slays Mahishasura, Mahabalipuram sculpture.
As a goddess, Durga's feminine power contains the energies of the gods. Each of her weapons was given to her by various gods: Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandalu, Kuber's Ratnahar, etc.
According to a narrative in the Devi Mahatmya story of the Markandeya Purana text, Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight an asura (an inhuman force/demon) named Mahishasura. He had unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds, and he could not be defeated by any man or god, anywhere. The gods went to Brahma, who had given Mahishasura the power not to be defeated by a man. Brahma could do nothing. They made Brahma their leader and went to Vaikuntha — the place where Vishnu lay on Ananta Naag. They found both Vishnu and Shiva, and Brahma eloquently related the reign of terror Mahishasur had unleashed on the three worlds. Hearing this Vishnu, Shiva and all of the gods became very angry and beams of fierce light emerged from their bodies. The blinding sea of light met at the Ashram of a priest named Katyan. The goddess Durga took the name Katyaayani from the priest and emerged from the sea of light. She introduced herself in the language of the Rig-Veda, saying she was the form of the supreme Brahman who had created all the gods. Now she had come to fight the demon to save the gods. They did not create her; it was her lila that she emerged from their combined energy. The gods were blessed with her compassion.
It is said that upon initially encountering Durga, Mahishasura underestimated her, thinking: "How can a woman kill me, Mahishasur — the one who has defeated the trinity of gods?" However, Durga roared with laughter, which caused an earthquake which made Mahishasur aware of her powers.
And the terrible Mahishasur rampaged against her, changing forms many times. First he was a buffalo demon, and she defeated him with her sword. Then he changed forms and became an elephant that tied up the goddess's lion and began to pull it towards him. The goddess cut off his trunk with her sword. The demon Mahishasur continued his terrorizing, taking the form of a lion, and then the form of a man, but both of them were gracefully slain by Durga.
Then Mahishasur began attacking once more, starting to take the form of a buffalo again. The patient goddess became very angry, and as she sipped divine wine from a cup she smiled and proclaimed to Mahishasur in a colorful tone — "Roar with delight while you still can, O illiterate demon, because when I will kill you after drinking this, the gods themselves will roar with delight".[cite this quote] When Mahashaur had half emerged into his buffalo form, he was paralyzed by the extreme light emitting from the goddess's body. The goddess then resounded with laughter before cutting Mahishasur's head down with her sword.
Thus Durga slew Mahishasur, thus is the power of the fierce compassion of Durga. Hence, Mata Durga is also known as Mahishasurmardhini — the slayer of Mahishasur. According to one legend, the goddess Durga created an army to fight against the forces of the demon-king Mahishasur, who was terrorizing Heaven and Earth. After ten days of fighting, Durga and her army defeated Mahishasur and killed him. As a reward for their service, Durga bestowed upon her army the knowledge of jewelry-making. Ever since, the Sonara community has been involved in the jewelry profession .
The goddess as Mahisasuramardhini appears quite early in Indian art. The Archaeological Museum in Matura has several statues on display including a 6-armed Kushana period Mahisasuramardhini that depicts her pressing down the buffalo with her lower hands . A Nagar plaque from the first century BC - first century AD depicts a 4-armed Mahisamardhini accompanied by a lion. But it is in the Gupta period that we see the finest representations of Mahisasuramardhini (2-, 4-, 6-, and at Udayagiri, 12-armed). The spear and trident are her most common weapons. a Mamallapuram relief shows the goddess with 8 arms riding her lion subduing a bufalo-faced demon (as contrasted with a buffalo demon); a variation also seen at Ellora. In later sculptures (post-seventh Century), sculptures show the goddess having decapitated the buffalo demon
Durga puja (pronounced [ˈd̪uɾga ˈpudʒa], Bengali: দুর্গা পূজা ,Oriya: ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା ,‘Worship of Durga’), also referred to as Durgotsava (Bengali: দুর্গোৎসব, ‘Festival of Durga’), is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi , Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Bijoya Dashami. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha (Bengali:দেবী পক্ষ , ‘Fortnight of the Goddess’). Devi Paksha is preceded by Mahalaya (Bengali: মহালয়া), the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Pokkho (Bengali: পিতৃ পক্ষ, ‘Fortnight of the Forefathers’), and is ended on Kojagori Lokkhi Puja (Bengali: কোজাগরী লক্ষ্মী পূজা, ‘Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagori Full Moon Night’).
Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura where it is a five-day annual holiday.In West Bengal and Tripura which has majority of Bengali Hindus it is the Biggest festival of the year. Not only is it the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but it is also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and in Bangladesh where 10% population are Hindu. Nowadays, many diaspora Bengali cultural organizations arrange for Durgotsab in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others. In 2006, a grand Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum.
The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal. After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of Baroyari or Community Puja was popularised due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in the whole world.
Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartikeya. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols (murti) of Durga, exchange of Bijoya Greetings and publication of Puja Annuals.
Tags: Durga Durgostav Durga Puja Durgotsava India New Delhi Delhi 2012 October Goddess Divine Shakti Bengali D300 Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 C.R.Park Sati Parvati Shiva Rituals Culture Festival Hindu দুর্গা feminine Force Kali Devi Mahatmya Mahamaya Annapurna Karuɳamayi Mahisasuramardhini পূজা দুর্গা পূজা Ganesh Saraswati Kartikaya Lakshmi Buffalo Devi Paksha Mahalaya কোজাগরী লক্ষ্মী পূজা Mahishasur Maa Katyaayani दुर्गा the invincible মা © Mukul Banerjee Photography
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