Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Virgin Temple and the Tower of Vultures


There is one remarkable temple in Orccha, which I didn't show in my previous post. The Chaturbhuj Temple, which you can see in its full glory in the picture above. There are some curious circumstances surrounding this temple, chiefly the fact that it was never taken into use. Another thing, which attracted me to this particular temple was the main tower on the roof, which has become the home of a healthy colony of huge vultures. For these reason I spent an afternoon with Nitoli going to the roof of the temple watching the sunset vultures coming home for the night. A strange young local man helped us get to the roof and kept us company for the rest of the night (more about that later).

The light was quite tricky (thus the grainy picture quality), but I did manage a couple of vulture pictures. Here is one landing on a corner tower

Vulture silhouette on the main tower

The top of the main tower, coloured all white by the Vulture's droppings. At night the tower is filled with Vultures - in this picture I can count 7.

Vulture in flight over Orccha

According to the locals the temple, which was built in honour of the god Ram, was placed directly across the river from the palace bedroom of the local Rani, so she would be able to do her morning puja (prayer) through her window rather than having to get out of bed and walk the way. However Ram himself did not agree to this plan of convenience, so he spiled the Rani's plans. The idol, which was supposed to be put into the Chaturbhuj Temple, had been placed in a small temporary building next door, and when the workers tried to move it after the temple's completion Ram had made it impossible to move! So the smaller building next door became the active temple instead of Chaturburj and the Rani would have to walk to honour Ram just like everybody else. But the Vultures were happy to get the place to themselves.

Main hall of the virgin temple

Nitoli and our guide checking their phones on the roof of the temple. One of the windows in the background is the bedroom of the Rani, from where she was hoping to do her morning puja

The Ram Raja Temple, which became the permanent home for the Ram Idol, which couldn't be moved. Still in active use today (and presumably it's been expanded since those days)

Sunset over Orccha seen from the top of the temple

4 comments:

oreneta said...

Your photos are, as always, stunning, but the one with Nitoli and the guide checking their phones is FANTASTIC! Love it completely.

Esben said...

Thanks Oreneta. It's becomming more and more rare to be genuinely unconnected isn't it?

staceyinchina said...

I wish I had the patience to take awesome pictures. I always have the intention of doing it, but when it comes down to it, I don't. Anyway, could you tell me what is the name of the place that is the picture in your header?

Also, if you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend seeing the movie The Fall, directed by Tarsem Singh. It has some amazing scenery in it, and much of it comes from India.

Esben said...

Hi Stacey,

Thanks for your comment and your recommendation. I will check out "The Fall" when I get back to India. I'm currently in Hong Kong on a small easter holdiay.

The city in my header is called Jaisalmer. It is in the Thar Desert close to the Indian border with Pakistan. The state's name is Rajasthan.