Saturday, January 22, 2011

Povestiri din Rajahstan 9. Cenotafurile regale Devi Kund, Bikaner / Stories of Rajahsthan 9. Devi Kund -The Royal Cenotaphs, Bikaner

Devi Kund cenotaphs in Bikaner represent the cremation place of the local royal family in Bikaner. In fact, there are 3 enclosures with cenotaphs here, from different historical periods.. As wikipedia tells us, a cenotaph represents an empty tomb or a monument dedicated to a person or a group of persons. I have seen such monuments before, i.e. London or Mevlana, Turkey, but nothing has prepared me for what I have seen in Bikaner for the first time.

The most impressive cenotaph here is that of Maharaja Surat Singh Ji, built in white marble, in XVIIth century.  On the ceiling there are miniature paintings in Rajput style. There are such paintings in other 2 cenotaphs. One of the painting represents Ganesha, the Elephant Deity, who offers a good fortune.


The story I picked up from the same book of Tarun Chopra says that Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, was born in Shiva's absence from home. After wedding, he went to meditate on a mountain and this took him some years. When he returned, he found before the door a boy, who would permit nobody to enter the house, where his mother was taking a bath. Shiva, unaware that this is his son, enraged, cut off the boy's head. Parvati was crying and asking him to bring the boy back. Then Shiva took the body to the Brahma, The Creator. Brahma told him to put the boy's head on his shoulders and he will give him life. But the head got lost. So Brahma told again to Shiva to kill the first living soul he will meet and put his/her head on his child. It happened it was a baby elephant's head that which Shiva put back on the shoulders. As Parvati was angry because people will ridicule her son, Shiva told her that he will be worshiped by people before any other god, as he will grant good fortune. So now, people invoke Ganesha first at any ritual or ceremony. One may find him everywhere in India: in temples or near them, in shrines and even on the walls of the houses, painted near the doors.

One may distinguish between a male or female cenotaph because of the "stela": for male, they are vertical and for women, horizontal with the form of feet on them. Almost always they were painted with henna on different ocassions like marriage ceremonies or festivals.

There are a lot of cupolae there, on which rest a many doves. Perhaps the few workers in the garden feed them. Going to the older cenotaphs, built in red stone I found other marvels: intricate labor on pillars or on the ceilings. A beautiful view if offered by the cenotaphs mirroring in the little artificial lake between them. It makes you day dream but we have no time as we have to hurry to discover other wonders in Bikaner...

In caz ca nu stiti exact ce este acela un cenotaf, cautati ca si mine si prietena noastra, wikipedia, va va spune ca un cenotaf este "un mormant gol sau un monument ridicat in memoria unei persoane sau a unui grup de persoane".  Sigur ca am mai vazut cenotafuri (ex. Londra, Mevlana), nimic insa nu m-a pregatit pentru ceea ce aveam sa vad in Rajahstan, fiindca acolo aproape in fiecare localitate importanta exista asa ceva.

Cenotafurile regale din Bikaner reprezinta locul de incinerare al familiei regale locale, din casa Bikaji Rathore. Exista de fapt 3 sectiuni diferite, din 3 perioade: cenotafurile mai vechi sunt construite din piatra rosie, in timp ce cele mai "recente", din secolul al XVIl-ea, sunt din marmora alba. Ele se afla pe malul unui mic lac artificial, cu rol de rezervor de apa.

Cenotafurile Devi Kund se afla la 8 km de Bikaner. Este un loc linistit, fara vanzatori ambulanti, doar cu un paznic care vinde biletele de intrare (10 Rp de persoana si 10 Rp pentru aparatul de fotografiat) si pazeste pantofii vizitatorilor fiindca si aici trebuie sa te descalti. Desi e decembrie, soarele arde si cerul de un albastru inchis este un fundal potrivit pentru minunile albe ce se ivesc in fata noastra. Pasim cu talpile goale pe marmora calda si ne indreptam spre grupul de chhatris din fata noastra. Un grup de eleve cred, mai mari, isi noteaza cate ceva in caiete, unele deseneaza. Tablitele explicative sunt foarte putine si scrise doar in hindi. Doar afara, la intrare, am gasit o tabla explicativa in limba engleza.
Cel mai frumos chhatris este cel al lui Maharaja Surat Singh Ji, construit din marmora alba si avand minutioase desene rajput pe tavan. Intre ele il disting pe Ganesh, Zeul Elefant, cel mai popular zeu in India pentu ca el aduce prosperitate. Pe Ganesh il poti vedea aproape oriunde: in mici altare individuale, in temple sau langa ele si chiar pictat langa usa caselor. El este fiul lui Shiva si Parvati.

Interesanta este legenda care explica de ce are cap de elefant. Am aflat-o din aceeasi carte a lui Chopra, despre care am amintit in postarea despre Mandawa. Povestea suna asa: Dupa casatorie, Shiva s-a dus sa mediteze pe un munte dar s-a adancit atat de mult in meditatie, incat au trecut ani multi pana s-a intors acasa. Fiul s-a nascut dupa plecarea sa, fara sa-si cunoasca tatal, iar cand Shiva s-a intors acasa, a gasit in fata ei un tanar care nu lasa pe nimeni sa intre pentru ca mama sa se imbaia. Furios, Shiva, care nu stia nimic despre existenta baiatului, i-a taiat capul. Innebunita, Parvati i-a cerut cu insistenta sa-i redea fiul. Zeul a luat trupul baiatului si s-a dus la Brahma, stapanul Creatiei. Acesta i-a spus ca trebuie sa-i fixeze capul la loc si ii va da viata dar capul, rostogolit undeva, s-a pierdut! Atunci, Brahma i-a spus sa taie capul primei vietuitoare intalnite si sa il puna pe umerii copilului. S-a intamplat ca aceasta vietuitoare sa fie un pui de elefant... Parvati nu era insa multumita, spunand ca toti ii vor ridiculiza fiul. Shiva a linistit-o insa, spunandu-i ca oamenii il vor cinsti si il vor invoca intotdeauna inaintea oricarui zeu pentru ca el le va aduce o soarta buna. De aceea, Ganesh este intotdeauna invocat primul la orice ceremonie sau festival.

Exista mai multe povesti care explica de ce Ganesh are un singur fildes. Dintre ele, o aleg pe cea care spune ca atunci cand scria Mahabharata, la dictarea  lui Vyasa, tocul sau s-a rupt si pentru ca odiseea trebuia scrisa fara pauza, Ganesh si-a rupt un fildes si l-a folosit pe post de toc.

Se spune ca burta sa rotunda, ca de bebelus, reprezinta Universul, iar capul - inteligenta. Urechile mari il ajuta sa auda rugile adoratorilor sai, iar sarpele cu care este incins, reprezinta energia cosmica. El calatoreste pe un sobolan.
Chhatris-ul lui Maharaja Surat Singh
Ganesh
Mormintele rajahilor se deosebesc de ale sotiilor lor dupa pozitia stelei funerare: la barbati ea este ridicata la verticala, iar la femei este orizontala si are imprimate amprente de talpi. De cele mai multe ori, aceste stele poarta urme de henna de la diverse sarbatoriri sau festivaluri. Stela lui Maharaja Surat Singh Ji are reprezentata pe ea pe Vishnu.
 stela funerara a lui Maharaja Surat Singh JI
Vishnu
 
 stele funerare pentru femei
Mai gasesc si in alte doua chhatris picturi frumoase pe tavan. Unul este mai spalacit dar totusi se poate remarca migala cu care au fost facute aceste miniaturi.



Oriunde te intorci, cupole si o multime de porumbei, fiindca aici nu-i deranjeaza nimeni. Probabil ca cei cativa muncitori care lucreaza ceva mai departe la restaurare, le dau de mancare. Ne indreptam spre celelalte doua sectoare unde sunt monumentele mai vechi, din piatra rosie.
Credeam ca maiestria cu care este lucrata marmora nu poate fi intrecuta dar iata ce am gasit:
 
Privelistea de aici spre cenotafurile de dincolo de bazinul artificial dintre ele, starneste visarea...Nu mai putem insa zabovi fiindca ne mai asteapta si alte minuni in Bikaner...


26 comments:

marianaesincai said...

Foarte frumos! Cred ca aceste locuri sunt oaze de multa liniste si meditatie.Interesante si datele istorice care confirma, incaodata, cultura si vechea civilizatie a acestui popor.

Traveling Hawk said...

Mai ales aici, la Bikaner dar si la Jaisalmer, la locurile mai departate de oras e intr-adevar liniste. Am intalnit doar indieni si aceia nu multi, iar vanzatorii lipsesc cu desavarsire.

VP said...

Another great set of images, I don't know much oh the Hindu Gods, but it's always interesting to learn.

Traveling Hawk said...

I didn't know either but in preparing for the travel I read more, and then it is that book I bought there which has good information.

Have a nice weekend, VP!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Stunning architecture wonderful monuments! Congratulations for giving us the chance to see all these beauties! Have a wonderful day.

Traveling Hawk said...

I am glad you like it, Phivos! Thanks for the visit.

magda said...

I was very happy we were!
I got a lot of knowledge and I saw great pictures! What is this richness in the cenotaphs! As the palace is!
Thank you for your visit and for your so kind words!
Glad you came to Meteora. And I have visited many parts of Romania many years ago.
Good weekend
Magda

Traveling Hawk said...

Thank you, Magda! A good weekend to you too!

DeeBee L. said...

What a great blog! Beautiful photos and very interesting stories...I have added you to my list of blogs to follow!
DeeBee :)

Traveling Hawk said...

Thank you, DeeBee! Please come again! I will also come to visit your blog. Have a nice weekend!

VertAnge said...

Adevarata bijuterii intiparite in marmura!

Traveling Hawk said...

A fost un moment mirific cel petrecut acolo, intr-adevar.

Randy said...

I love the story and the photographs as always are so wonderful.

Traveling Hawk said...

Thank you, Randy!

Rizalenio said...

The story about Ganesha transported me to that era. Wow! Thanks a lot for that story.

And the photos, as always, are jawdropping. I love the patterns created by your photo compositions.

Thanks for this wonderful series again, my friend.

Traveling Hawk said...

Those stories are fascinating, indeed, Rizalenio, as they are a mixture of mythology and religious elements. I am glad you liked the photos, thanks!

Liliana said...

Extraordinar de frumoase sunt detaliile. Fantastice! Multumim, TH!

pharaonx said...

impresionant de-a dreptul. detaliile sunt fantastice. oricum cred ca-n realitate te impresioneaza mult mai mult. da de fapt ce ma enerveaza intr-o calatorie de genul aceste sunt urmatoarele:
-trebuie de devii doctor in obiectivul la care te duci - astfel ai impresia ca se pierd o groaza de detalii. ajungi acasa, cu impresiile facute te apuci citesti si cind realizezi cam pe linga ce ai trecut vrei sa te duci si a doua oara, nu ca sa vezi ci ca pierzi in detalii.
- intotdeauna zici ca o zi iti ajunge. ajungi acolo si-ti dai seama ca o saptamina e putin.

dar dincolo de toate astea fotografiile tale ma teleporteaza intrun loc frumos, pe alta lume.

Traveling Hawk said...

Multumesc, Liliana! O saptamana buna!

Traveling Hawk said...

Pai, in general ma cam documentez inainte de a merge undeva. Asta nu inseamna ca nu scapa destule, mai ales cand stai putin. Dar asta depinde de ce-ti doresti de la o excursie: vrei sa si inveti ceva sau doar vrei sa te simti bine si atat. Nu exista o regula obligatorie pentru toti. Fiecare merge in calatorii cu o motivatie anume, care este una personala dar stii asta, pharaonx :)

Life Ramblings said...

OMG. great series of your travel photos. it must be amazing to see such exquisite beauties so up close. the cupolas look absolutely stunning and the details of the ceiling are astounding.

MKL said...

The architecture is so delicate. Nice shots :)

Traveling Hawk said...

I like the cuplolas, too, Life Ramblings, with all those doves on them!

Traveling Hawk said...

MKL, thanks!

Hanjié said...

Beautiful temple, all these details, great photos. What's the red/yellow color on the embossments?

Traveling Hawk said...

Thank you, Hanjie! It is henna put by devotees with several ocassions like festivals or marriage ceremonies.