Dec 18, 2011

2012 Mahamastakabhisheka Venur, Karnataka

महामस्तकाभिषेक वेनुर कर्णाटक २०१२

Mahamastakabhisheka image courtesy google 

Venur is a small town in South Kanara District of Karnataka state situated on the bank of river Gurupur. Venur, though a small town was once a great seat and capital of Jainism in Karnataka. The main attraction of Venur is the Monolithic Statue (Single stone and Joint less structure) of Bhagawan Bahubali also known as Lord Gomateshwara.

This monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali is about 38 feets in height and was erected by the Jain ruler Thimmanna Ajila in the year 1604. Interestingly he was a direct descendant of King Chamundarya, who built one at Shravanbelgola. The statue is supposed to have been sculptured by Amarashilpi Jakanachari. This statue of Lord Bahubali is one of the 4 giant monoliths found in Karnataka (the others being at Shravanabelagola, Karkala and Dharmasthala). Biggest Statue is the one located at Shravanabelagola and the smallest at Venur.

Mahamastakaabhishekha ( महामस्तकाभिषेक ) is the most important festival for these 4 statues of Lord Bahubali and is held once in every 12 years. Thousands of ardent devotees of the Lord gather to see the Lord being bathed and decorated by milk, saffron, flowers and other exotic fragrances.

 Last Mahamastakaabhishekha of Lord Bahubali at Venur was held in year 2000 and next one will be shortly performed in early 2012. This Grand Festival of Jainism will begin at Venur on 28 Jan 2012 at Venur and will go on till 05 Feb 2012.

Below are a few memories from our last trip to Venur and Karkala captured by me...

 Jain temple at the entrance of Venur Bahubali

Another view of Venur Bahubali from the same temple

Statue stands on a hill top with a giant flag post at the entrance to the temple

Lord Bahubali of Venur, a Monolithic statue 38 feets in height with 2 giant bronze lamps on each side

Venur statue was erected by the Jain King Thimmanna Ajila in year 1604, sculpted by Amarshilpi Jakanachari

A closer view of the Lotus feets of Lord Bahubali at Venur 

This snap gives a good idea of how tall the lamps are

Rakshak of Lord Bahubali at the entrance pillar of the Venur temple

Below are a few photographs from Karkala Bahubali Temple. Thought it might be an interesting comparison for you all

Karkala Bahubali stands tall on a hill top. Photograph above shows the last few steps leading to the entrance of the temple

This monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali at Karkala is 42 feet tall and the second largest, little shorter than the Shravanbelgola statue which is about 57 feet tall

A closer view of the Lotus feets of Lord Bahubali at Karkala

These Jain Tirthankar statues stand right behind the Karkala Bahubali statue and were found during archaeological excavation of the site of Karkala 

Interestingly this temple and the site is also protected and maintained by ASI, the famous Archaeological Society of India

Here is a fun pic taken at the site. Conventionally people get themselves clicked while standing on the ground, we just thought otherwise....

Mahamastakabhisheka Video Link:

Will upload the pics of this rare festival after we have attended 2012 Maha mastaka abhisheka at Venur. Hope u enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing. Thanks for visiting. Stay in touch...

जय जिनेन्द्र

Oct 13, 2011

THEWA - The Exotic Art of Jewellery

You must be wondering why I chose to post this topic. Then I must say that, being from a Jeweller’s family I have always had an inclination towards Jewellery designing. The process involved is so interesting that it just pulls you in, to know more about it.


India is a land of colours. Our rich cultural heritage is what makes us different from the rest of the world. Indian Jewellery has inspired many designers since time immemorial. With time and passing generations Jewellery designs have also evolved. However there are certain Traditional Jewellery designs and patterns which have never really gone out of trend. These in fact are the ones which have kept our culture alive over the time. Thewa is one such art form.

Vibrant, Colourful, Exotic, Traditional, Fascinating and Royal, this is one exceptional Jewellery art form of Rajasthan which stands out from the rest of the Jewellery types. Before I take you back into the History and the process used in making this unique jeweler which has been a very closely guarded secret, let me just give you a few very Interesting Facts about Thewa.


Thewa Jewellery was discovered by the Mughal dynasty in seventeenth century, roughly about 400 years ago and was very popular among many Maharajas and their Courts men.

Pratapgarh, a small city in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan for many decades was the only place in the world where this Jewellery was being designed.

Families who are involved in crafting of this rare form of Jewellery are so less that they could be counted on fingers. Shrouded in complete mystery, the artisans involved in crafting Thewa keep their doors closed with the fear of divulging family secrets to their daughter-in-laws. As a result the legacy and the art are being carried forward from the father only to his son.

This is apparently the only Jewellery type which uses 23 Carat purity of gold in making the Jewellery.

A special Thewa gift was given by the Government of India to Prince Charles on his marriage.

One of the leading craftsmen, Mahesh Raj Soni of the traditional artisans family involved in designing Thewa has won National Award 8 times and got his name registered in the Limca Book of Records for this scintillating art.

To encourage and felicitate this rare & unique form of Jewellery designing, Government of India has also issued a Postal stamp and a miniature sheet in year 2004. Photographs below:

Thewa Stamp Issued by Gov of India in year 2004

FDC, First Day Cover Issued on the theme Handicrafts of India promoting Thewa and other art forms

Miniature Sheet Issued on the Handicrafts of India theme. Upper right corner stamp on Thewa


Origin of Thewa dates back to year 1767, when Maharaja Samant Singh, King of the Princely State of Kishangarh, Mewar decided to patronage this art and granted a jagir to Nathu Lal Sonewal, who is believed to be the invented the art in year 1707 and also gave them a Title of “Raj Soni”. The art which was popular amongst the Mewar Kings however flourished especially during the Victorian era when a number of pieces were being sent to European countries and gained recognition in the British Antique Market. Some of these pieces about 250 years old can be seen in the personal collection of Queen Elizabeth and some local Indian and British Museums. For hundreds of years the skill and expertise required to create Thewa Jewellery was only known to the craftsmen of Pratapgarh (Rajasthan) and Rampura (Madhya Pradesh). However, recently the cities like Jaipur, Ratlam & Indore have also achieved widespread fame for this jewellery craft.

Maharaja Samant Singh, The King of Princely State of Kishangarh where Thewa originated

Royal logo of The Princely State of Kishangarh


THEWA is a word derived from the local Rajasthani language which literally means “SETTING”. Thewa is an art of fusing 23ct gold with multicoloured glass. The process followed is very detailed and intricate. A 23ct gold piece is first beaten into a very thin sheet. Intricate designs are inscribed on these gold sheets using very fine chisels. This gold sheet also called as “Thewa Ki Patti” is fixed to a lac-resin compound spread on a board by slightly warming the lac and then pressing the gold sheet onto it. An open work pattern is pierced thru these gold sheets placed on the lac-resin covered board by knocking off the portions which ultimately create the intricate design required by the customer. This gold sheet is being gently peeled off by heating it. Themes used in such Thewa design range from Floral patterns, Historical Mughal Courtly scenes, scenes from Battles, Portraits of Queens and Hindu Mythology, most popular being Krishna Leelas.

The gold patterned sheet is now thoroughly washed and all extra substances are removed with a mild acid. A piece of glass of the same size as the gold pattern is chosen and encased in a frame of silver. The thin sheet of patterned gold is then fixed to the silver border. While it is still hot, the rim of silver and film of gold are delicately slipped over the edge and pressed on to the surface of the glass. The piece is then heated until the gold and the glass are firmly fused together. A thin silver foil is fixed on the other side of the glass to provide the final finish. The flat piece of transparent glass which is used as a background for the gold pattern comes in different colours such as maroon, green, blue & so on suggesting Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire finish.

As the work requires intricate detailing and skilful fusion of the gold into the glass base, the wastage is high. Overheating can break the glass or melt the gold. Alternatively, if not treated properly the gold pattern sheet does not fuse well and soon comes off. The craftsmen at Rampura have been using Belgian glass, from windowpanes of old houses and buildings, as the base for Thewa articles but this source has now been exhausted and finding glass with the right colours is becoming difficult. As a result, Thewa pieces can now be found in a new range of colours and materials: lemon, white, black. Some of these are original, while others are obtained, often using plastics.

Unlike other form of Jewelleries the actual value or price of a Thewa Jewellery lies in the skill and the time that goes into hand crafting each incredible piece of jewellery rather than the intrinsic value of gold.

Photograph of a Necklace designed by me as a gift to my wife on our First Wedding Anniversary. Decided to go with a Green glass as I wanted it to look very traditional & ethnic. Centre piece has a scene taken from “Raas Leela” of Lord Krishna & Radha with peacocks sitting on each side. And the next piece to the centre piece on either side has a Gopi standing with a Veena in Her hands. Needless to mention that this is one of its kind piece as it is my own design. The craftsmen took approx 2 weeks to complete the piece.

Hope you like the post. Will appreciate your valuable comments.

Oct 5, 2011

Rani Tero Chirjeeyo Gopal


Haveli Sangeet is Vaishnava temple music practiced by the 'Pushti Margi Sampradaya.' Nathadwara in Rajasthan was the main seat of the Vaishnava devotional cult which created a rich historical tradition of temple-based music. 'Haveli' here is referred to a palace that the deity chooses to live in. In comparison to Dhrupad, Haveli Sangeet, as it is known in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, claimed superior resilience as it claimed that Lord Krishna himself was the very audience for its performances. In this music practice every activity revolves around Krishna Bhakti and is sung in the form of Kirtans, Bhajans, Samaj Gayan and Bhava Nirtya. Known to incorporate a fusion of classical and folk music, the dominant style of singing is still Dhrupad and Dhammar. The temples of Radha Vallabh at Vrindaban, Krishna at Nandgaon, Shri Radha Rani at Barsana, and Sri Nathji at Nathdwara are all known to reverberate with Haveli Sangeet.


Indian Classical vocalist Shri Pandit Jasraj is perhaps the only known and the biggest exponent of Haveli Sangeet. Have created this post to share with you all one of his most famous compositions "RANI TERO CHIRJEEYO GOPAL". This song which was originally written and sung by Surdas is taken from the "Ashish ke Pad of Janmashtmi". It is unbelievable to know that this composition which has opened eyes of many people over the time and is enough even now after ages to turn an atheist into a devotee of the Lord, was actually sung by person who never had eyes to appreciate Lords beauty.

Click on the Video & Audio links below to listen to this all time famous composition of Pt. Jasraj, written by Surdas, glorifying Lord Krishna's childhood pastimes and wishing Mother Yashoda that may Her Kid Live for thousands of years.


रानी तेरो चिरजीयो गोपाल ।
Oh Queen Jasoda, Oh Queen, May your Gopal protector of cows, (read as protector of the entire mankind) live a thousand years..........

बेगिबडो बढि होय विरध लट, महरि मनोहर बाल॥१॥
His hairlock which has the ability to charm anyone, which is growing so fast and so beautifully, oh mother! your child is a true charmer. He can charm the entire universe. My heart blesses him to live a thousand years.....

उपजि पर्यो यह कूंखि भाग्य बल, समुद्र सीप जैसे लाल।
Oh mother, your destiny has blossomed like no one else's, having a son like this is like having the rarest red gem from the immeasurable ocean of life....

सब गोकुल के प्राण जीवन धन, बैरिन के उरसाल॥२॥
Oh Mother! your child is the life of the entire Brij (the village read the entire community of mankind) and the enemy of the evil....

सूर कितो जिय सुख पावत हैं, निरखत श्याम तमाल।
Surdas in the immortal hymn then says, I am in eternal bliss after seeing the glory and charm of Shyam (Nandlal or Krishna)....

रज आरज लागो मेरी अंखियन, रोग दोष जंजाल॥३।
He says pick the dirt from his holy feet and put it on my eyes for I'm sure the touch of his feet would liberate me from all worries and miseries and deliver me to the eternal bliss...

रानी तेरो चिरजीयो गोपाल ।
Oh Queen Jasoda, Oh Queen, May your Gopal protector of cows, (read as protector of the entire mankind) live a thousand years..........

Jay Radhe

Sep 21, 2011

Janmashtmi Celebration, Aug 2011

I have been inactive for quite some time. Have lots to post on my blog, but somehow was not able to find time to share it all. Thought what else would be a better occasion to start it again. Here are some pics of the Janmasthmi Celebrations 2011 at my house in Mangalore. Shri Krishna Janmashtmi, also known as Gokulashtmi in South India is one festival which has been celebrated with great joy & grandeur at our home since time immemorial. Celebrating this festival has been a kind of tradition which has been passed on to the generations in our family. Feels proud to say that I'm a part of this and inherit this tradition in my blood.

According to the Hindu Calender, Shri Krishna Janmasthmi or the Birthday of our beloved Lord Krishna is celebrated at the Ashtami tithi or the eight day of Krishna paksh of the month called Bhadrapada. Festivities of the day begin early in the morning and go on till the Birth of the Lord in midnight, when devotees break their fast to celebrate the joy of His arrival. Although I've been away from home since past 10 years, but the sheer enthusiasm and the joy of celebrating this festival has grown bigger by every passing year. Just wanted to share a few memories of this years Janmashtmi Celebration at our home in Mangalore.

हे नन्द के आनंद भयो,
जय कन्हैया लाल की,
हाथी, घोड़ा, पालकी, जय कन्हैया लाल की


This is the entrance to our home. Buddha as a mark of peace and Lord Ganesha bringing auspiciousness to the house. In the center is an old photograph of my Mom taken on her wedding day. And in front of the frame is a Singing bowl or a Buddhist bell which according to the Buddhist beliefs brings positive energy to the house

Lord Buddha decorated with a candle and frangipani flowers inviting peace

Urli, a part of South Indian tradition is a brass urn which is placed at the entrance of homes and decorated with flowers and floating candles. In the center of the Urli is Tara, the Buddhist goddess who represents the virtues of success and achievements

Lord Ganesha siting in the midst of a Jharokha at the entrance wall to our house

The altar of the Lord guarded by His Dwaarpaals, was decorated with flowers, candles and lamps, with fruits and sweets as an offering

Best of the flowers were choosen to grace His altar

On the left of the Lord Radha Krishna is Lord Narasimha Dev, the savior of devotees and on the right is Lord Krishna's image of the famous Ududpi math founded & established by Madhavacharya himself

and near the Lotus feet of Lord Radha Krishna are famous poets and beloved devotees of the Lord singing and playing music for His pleasure

Radha & Krishna were decorated by new Mukut's (crowns) and assorted jewellery for the occasion. Silver jewellery courtesy dad

Garlands adorned by Radha & Krishna were designed by us by plucking one one leaf from various flowers and then folding them and taking them thru a thread to form a beautiful garland for the occasion

A closer look of Krishna wearing a garland made out of roses and tulasi leafs

Gems studded in the crown of Radha ji are a perfect match to the beauty of Her face

Smiling face of the Lord reminds us that once you come to Him, all your worries will be taken care of

Obsevere this photograph closely to see the eye shadow details of Radha rani

A closer look of Radha ji wearing a garland made of Tulasi, Red roses, Jasmine and Yellow rose

Lord Narasimha Dev, the savior of devotees sitting on His simhaasan

A closer look of the eight armed Lord Narasihma, the killer of daemons

Special Lotus lamp aarti being offered to the Lord at His birth

Peacock lamps lighted near Radha & Krishna to grace Their altar

May our hearts and minds find rest always and forever in Their eternal service