Banavasi is a small yet significant town in Karnataka. The first time I went there, all I knew was that there were some really nice old sculptures. Second time around, I knew no better. But thankfully I had a very knowledgeable companion with me. I was told that Banavasi used to be the capital during the Kadamba dynasty. This lush green town is rich in both beauty and culture.
The main attraction is the Madhukeshwara temple, built in the 9th century by the Kadambas. The structure is monolithic and is beautifully carved. The other rulers of Banavasi went on adding structures to the main temple. But we will come to that later. Although I am not much of a ‘temple person’, this place sure had a certain mystic calm about it.
The Shiva temple has a huge stone Nandi placed at the entrance, its more than 8ft tall. There are many ornately carved pillars and there are stone benches, with a central circular floor, giving the feeling of a ‘sabha’. It is said that a very famous dancer Shantala used to dance here (she later on married a Hoysala ruler – another dynasty which made many wonderful monuments and even has sculptures inspired from her).
The area surrounding the temple has many idols of nearly all the main deities. There is a vertically half idol of Ganesha, signifying his bachelorhood stage and it is believed that the other half is in Varanasi. There is a five-hooded Naga sculpture dating back to the 2nd century. It has an inscription in Prakrit (the old language). There is also a very unique idol there, unique because when you see it in the morning, the face looks childish, in the afternoon it looks like an adult and in the evening – that of an old man! I saw it in the evening. Buddhism and Jainism influences can also be found in Banavasi.
Outside the temple, you will also find a huge rath minutely carved ofcourse. Those ancient people wouldn’t have it any other way.
The river Varada flows nearby. There are also many beautiful ponds in Banavasi. Pampa, the first Kannada poet and also the court poet of Chalukyas, stayed in this town and wrote many verses praising the beauty of Banavasi.
It is said, that during the reign of Samrat Ashok, Banavasi was a learning centre for Buddhist monks. Banavasi finds a mention even in the Mahabharatha. In 1st centaury A.D. Greek geographer Ptomlemy mentioned Banavasi as ‘Banousi’ in his famous book. I was told that recently a 5th century copper coin was discovered here with an inscription in the Kannada script, one of the oldest such coins ever discovered.
There are many artisans in this town who make sandalwood sculptures, Yakshagana masks, etc. “Kadambotsava” – a cultural festival is organized by the Govt. every year featuring folk dancers, drama troupes, classical musicians and art exhibitions.
It was quite a pleasant second visit, I hope I get to see the ‘unique’ idol in its childish face stage when I visit Banavasi again.
TGIPB – Part 8 : The Second battle and my vote
The Great Indian Political Battle – The Second phase
April 23 , 2009
195 million eligible voters.
2,22,350 polling stations
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand
Key Contestants : Rahul Gandhi , Sharad Pawar , Sushma Swaraj , HD Kumaraswamy , Captain Gopinath , Ananth Kumar
This second phase of election is memorable for me for the sole reason , I casted my vote for the first time. So was I thrilled ? Yep ! Me and my wife got up around 7 , had garam ginger chai and went to caste our votes. The polling booth is quiet near to our place . There were many booths made , so there was not much crowd and it was a smooth event and I pressed the button and got the ink on my finger as a proof of voting ! Whom did we vote ? I pressed the button for BJP while my wife clicked Congress. so 50 : 50 verdict !
Bangalore votes :
So Bangalore being my adopted city now , I had enrolled in the voters list and casted my vote in Bangalore north constituency. To be frank , I was disappointed with the contestants of Bangalore north. Though my voting affiliation is with BJP , the candidate was a big let down. BJP has fielded Chandre Gowda , who defected from Congress just few weeks back. The 70 plus candidate who quit last minute to grab the BJP ticket got my vote in spite of my disliking for the political opportunism he displayed. Well , its another fact that politics and opportunism goes hand in glove but reality bites. Some of my friends asked my why I root for BJP , allegedly “ communal ” party , Well , would write a post on that some day soon. Congress has fielded yet another good old Jaffer Sharief . After delimitation , I think it would be a tough call to predict the winner in Bangalore north.
Bangalore South has impressive candidates . Ananth Kumar , the three time MP and the number two in the power hierarchy of Karnataka BJP is facing Krishan Byre Gowda , a young seemingly impressive candidate from Congress . To add excitement to the already active young list of candidates is Captain Gopinath , the Deccan aviation chief. Captain may not win the seat but am interested to see how much he would fly the electoral race. I am also eager to see , If the hype that was build around Byre Gowda would match the confident Ananth Kumar. Tough fight in cards !
Bangalore rural sees “farmer “ Deve Gowda’s Son HD Kumaraswamy seeking revenge on “Giant killer ” Tejeswani Gowda , who stunned everyone last time by defeating Gowda Senior. Other day , I followed the Tejeswani on a local channel and was impressed by the lady’s energy and campaign . I would like to see her defeat Gowda Jr but then again it would be a tough battle ..
Assembly Election :
Orissa and AP also have their state assembly election alongside. So its time for voters to review Naveen Patnaik and YSR . Chiranjeevi is contesting from Tirupati and also Chandra babu naidu hoping his grand alliance will push him back to limelight. Lets wait and watch ..