Thursday, October 7, 2010

First India Road Trip Part 2 - "The 1,000 Pillar Temple"

After we left the Jain Temple (and waited for what seemed like and eternity at a railroad crossing!!) - we headed back on the road up to Warangal.  We saw several other sites along the way...most noteably, two Catholic churches named after the Blessed Virgin Mary:  "The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes" and - in Warangal itself, the Diocesan Cathedral, "Our Lady of Fatima".  This is the very same Church that my friend, Vivek, went to as a kid...and his High School, "St. Gabriel's" is still in operation and seems to have a huge number of students!

We had made our reservations for the hotel, the Suprabha Hotel right in the center of town...and not too very far from our next destination...the famous "1,000 Pillar Temple" (see photo, above).  We got checked into the hotel just fine...much different from credit card needed, no money up-front - - you pay when you leave.  There was no problem bringing in Beloved, but - you never - we put her inside her "Bee Bag" and I toted her upstairs to my room.  I got Krishna a room down the hall from me.  I found it a little disconcerting that the desk-clerk wanted to know if I wanted to "get a room for my driver across the street in the dormitory?"  I said "No, thank you...a room in the hotel close to me would be just fine!"

Bee and I got unpacked and settled (water and kibble put out for her... and the T.V. turned on for me.)  There is really not much T.V. in English to watch without our super-duper TataSky package at home...NEO Cricket is one channel - - but - we opted for watching a Mister Magoo cartoon in Hindi...which was actually pretty funny!  I had told Krishna that we would head out to the 1,000 Pillar Temple at around 3:00 P.M. - which gave us a couple of hours to nap and freshen-up a bit after the long drive up (it took us almost five hours, but - we had made several stops!)

I called Vivek's friend, Bhaskar, and let him know we were in town...he seemed anxious to come right over to the hotel.  Through his wife, I got the message through (finally!!) that we were going to rest a bit and call him when we wanted to get together for dinner.  Then it was nap-time!!

We drove over to the area where the "1,000 Pillar Temple" is supposed to be.  We got a little lost, but I will say one thing about Krishna...he's not ashamed to pull over and ask local folks for directions...even if they're talking on the cell-phone when we do it!!  For such a huge tourist attraction in the town of Warangal, you would think that there would be a lot more signage for the temple...but, as it turned out, the tiny little side-street where we turned could easily be missed.

The "famous" Thousand Pillar Temple (I had never heard of it before coming to India!), was built in 1163 AD, by King Rudra Deva, and is an important historical monument situated near the Hanamkonda-Warangal highway. One thousand richly carved pillars and a magnificent black basalt Nandi bull are unique to this temple.  There are also some pretty cool ruins, an archeoligical site, and some nice carved elephants....because it's a temple, you have to take off your shoes to enter...which is pretty tough on tender soles when the last time you ran around barefoot was in Junior High School!!

The black basalt statue of Sri Nandi (Lord Shiva's mount, or "vehicle" as they say), is a monolith (carved from one rock!), actually has a lovely polished finish. There are many small lingam shrines surrounding the gardens. The temple is famous for its richly carved pillars, screens and detailed sculpture.  The temple, (so they say, it's hard to see from ground-level) is built in the shape of a star. The temple constitutes of three shrines, where the presiding deities are Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya.

Overall, I was not impressed.  Of all of the temples we were to visit, this was the only one that was not a "working temple" - - it was just a ruin and - really not much to see.  There are only five pics of the temple and surroundings (as I said - there really wasn't that much too it!) in my Facebook Photo Album entitled:  First India Road Trip - September, 2010

Directly after I got back to the car (I felt bad for Krishna....there was really no safe place to leave Beloved in the car and it was awfully HOT!! - so he watched her while I went sightseeing...) - - Bhaskar called and he was at the hotel looking for us.  I guess that my message about "meeting for dinner" didn't "get through" as I had thought....

We drove back and picked him and his friend Prabhakar up in front of the hotel.  They got in...and - then the adventure really began!!  These fellows really know the town of Warangal...have a lot of contacts...and were just chomping at the bit to show me everything they could in a short amount of time!!  Now it was off to the Warangal Fort and the Kush Mahal (both just outside of town) - - but - first - an unexpected side-trip!

To "Bee" Continued....

1 comment: