Saturday, December 28, 2013

Humayun's Tomb

These snaps were taken during my visit to Delhi in the second of week of December 2013. Visiting this imperial Mughal tomb had been one of my greatest desires and now it has been fulfilled .

The masterpiece 
The second Mughal emperor Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begam, also known as Haji Begam, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death.

looking back
Gateway to Humayun's tomb
View of the distant mausoleum through he gateway

It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect. The tomb was constructed at a cost of 15 lakh rupees (1.5 million).

Water fountains were a distinctive Mughal architectural innovation to beat the scorching heat of Indian summers

Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian, was the architect employed by Haji Begam for this tomb.

Steep steps leading up to the main terrace of the tomb

Close up view of the structure
The tomb proper stands in the centre of a square garden, divided into four main parterres by causeways (charbagh), in the centre of which ran shallow water-channels. The high rubble built enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storeyed gateways on the west and south. A baradari (pavilion) occupies the centre of the eastern wall and a hammam (bath chamber) in the centre of northern wall.

Minor Mughal tombs on the terrace 
Old ruined minor graves 
The square red sandstone double-storeyed structure of the mausoleum with chamfered corners rises from a 7-m. high square terrace, raised over a series of cells, which are accessible through, arches on each side. 

 Externally each side of the tomb, its elevations decorated by marble borders and panels, is dominated by three arched alcoves, the central one being the highest. Over the roof pillared kiosks are disposed around the high emphatic double dome in the center.

Here rests the son of Babur  and the father of Akbar

The grave proper in the center of this cell-complex is reached by a passage on the south. The octagonal central chamber contains the cenotaph, and the diagonal sides lead to corner-chambers which house the graves of other members of the royal family.

The central octagonal chamber contains the cenotaph, encompassed by octagonal chambers at the diagonals and arched lobbies on the sides. Their openings are closed with perforated screens. Each side is dominated by three arches, the central one being the highest. This plan is repeated on the second storey too. The roof surmounted by a double dome (42.5m) of marble has pillared kiosks (chhatris) placed around it.

Other Mughal family members

Thus the sun shines upon me for ever and for ever 

Tourists at the tomb

Steps leading the southern gate 

The back end of the main entrance to the complex

Bu Halima Gateway that lead to "Arab ki Sarai" , that used to house the foreign craftsmen engaged in the construction

Friday, January 11, 2013

How the mighty have fallen

The nearly 200 years old and more than 20 meters tall Arayaal Maram ( usually found in temples , kavu etc) located to the right side of the Napier Museum building as shown in the pics fell down on a monday in the dry,rainless December Month of 2012  . Just like the failed North-East Monsoons of this year this ancient tree also gave up and crashed with a blood-curdling roar during the late hours of the afternoon . Luckily other than a few park benches , masonry works etc there was no human casualty  . The concrete circle that was recently constructed around the old tree played a major role in weakening its roots that resulted in this tragedy . Sadly a mute witness to the history of the city and the vagaries of time has also bid adieu .

Ruins of the once awesome KWA Swimming Pool

These pics are the testament of the deplorable current condition of the Kerala Water Works Swimming Pool at Vellayambalam in Thiruvananthapuram . The once flourishing swimming pool was dug up for renovating it for the 14th National Games proposed to be conducted in Trivandrum . But the bad planning of the engineers and politicians ensured that the end result is this mess . They finally constructed a new swimming complex at Pirappancode in the rural Venjaramood region nearly 30-40 Km from the city by spending crores of rupees and probably pocketing crores of bribes themselves for the new project . 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Azhimala Rockcut Temple

The Azhimala Rockcut temple located near Vizhinjam in Trivandrum is one with an immense historical significance ,but whose importance and uniqueness isn't well known to the general public at large . This temple is one of the only two rock cut temples currently known in southern Kerala the other being the Madavoorpara temple also in Trivandrum district . This temple was constructed by the Ay Kings who originally ruled the Venad Kingdom before the establishment of the current Kulashekara Dynasty by the Southern branch of the Kolathiri Family of Kannur. The place name itself suggests that the hill on which it stands was the head quarters of the Ay Dynasty - Azhi -Mala ("Hill of Ay").
There were reports in newspapers about the discovery of ruins of fort and recovery of burnt ships from the Vizhinjam Harbour that could possibly have been as a result of the well documented  Chola Invasion of Kandalur War.  

This is a centrally protected monument under the control of Archaeological Survey of India since 1965.
Tri-lingual signboard of ASI

Path leading from the Vizhinjam road to the shrine

The temple which seems to be incomplete (possibly due to some Chola/Pandyan Invasion) consists of a cell  having an independent seated idol of Dakshinamurthi that is datable to 8th century AD .The two sides of the cell have the sculptures of Tripurantaka and Shiva as Nataraja with Parvati standing close to him.
Fa├žade of the shrine

Tripurantaka Sculpture

Tripurantaka carrying a bow and arrow in two of his four hands is a fine example of the 8th century sculptural art . His left foot rests on Apasmara , the crown of hair elegantly carved as a high head dress and is highly ornate .It is interesting that different forms of  Tripurantaka had evolved at such an early stage . This representation is a precursor of a similar type in metal during the time of Rajaraja- I . 

Unidentified possible Yakshas or Yakshini figurines at the pedestal of the Tripurantaka  sculpture

the incomplete Shiva and Parvati figurines on the right flank of the central cell.

"Key Hole"


remnants of the unfinished project

side view of the rock

back of the rock