Friday, August 9, 2013

Hemadpanti: Count Me Among Believers..


With simplicity, the possibilities are endless.....
                                                                                                             -Carl von'Bailiff
In our previous post we wrote about Baba Allauddin Khan rebuilding a languishing gharana, in which context we recalled the word of guidance we had received from B. Unnikrishnan, Senior Chartered Accountant of Trivandrum. Nacheez  harboured in his bosom, a secret ambition to build a Shiva Temple, we had confided in him. Rebuild an abandoned temple, was his quiet advice. Apart from the spiritual pay-off in the form of witnessing the good you do to the 'vastu', there is the 'regulatory pay off'- the authorities don't grudge the birth of a new temple on Government lands, the ' economic pay off', you save money on land, etc.etc.etc., various other Pay Offs....wow we said, that's why Keralites are everywhere...you know...

Question is why and wherefore would YT want to build a Shiva temple at all, given the fact that  we were never identified with overtly religious tendencies. No third person including Missus has been privy to this secret ‘monumental’ longing. It positively goes against the grain of our family-wisdom. Dad, who had a phobia for temples, once accompanied Mother all the way to Badrinath, just to squat outside the precincts, not allowing even the temple’s shadow to fall over him..In the case of our brother Sheikh Shekhar (a Saudi subject now), once as an engineering student he had donated a hundred bucks to a classmate, out to build a temple, and so remorse-struck was Brother, that he called on the friend the next day, and as he could not muster the courage to demand back the sum donated, pinched a set of pliers behind his back, estimating the worth of the pliers to be honestly around the sum donated, which quelled the pangs of his conscience..

Why we would like to build a Shiva temple has to do with the simple beauty of the traditional Hemadpanti style of construction, which can be practised by the humblest folks, and the holy shraddha or devotion with which they revere Lord Shiva. Then of course, Shiva’s character is outrageously off-beat, rich with possibilities- passionate, forgiving, gullible, all-powerful…. Mind you, in our home of adoption, that is the Christian State of Meghalaya, Mahashivratri is the only Hindu-God anniversary which is a Public holiday, yessir…a non-negotiable holiday under Negotiable Instruments Act. The explanation given to votaries of Janmashtami by non else than the CM is- this is a Tribal State, and Shiva is the only Tribal Indian God, only son of the soil.
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To come back to Hemadpanti temple architecture, it is an architectural style, named after its founder, Prime Minister Pandit Hemadri, or Hemadpant from the 13th century court of Seuna Yadavas of Devgiri , that is Daulatabad near Aurangabad. The form has a sort of eternal simplicity. [1]

The simplest representative of this style would be the common temple you’ll see on the top of a hill, provided there is one, in the vicinity of any Hindu settlement. The fact that every village surrounded by hills, whatever the altitude, boasts of such a temple is a tribute to human shraddha or dedication, and human endeavour. Imagine how they would have carried uphill the huge stones and other construction material…like industrious little ants carrying grains of sugar..

The process of building a temple atop a hill would commence with the discovery by the local populace, of a sadhu or Mahatma on one of the hills. Devotees would start frequenting the Mahatma and the need would eventually arise for a temple in order to keep the weather at bay...

The simplest to build is a Shiva Hemadpanti temple.The temples structure is infact congruent with the form of the Shivalingam. Fits like a glove..

THE STRUCTURE


CLOSE APPROXIMATION TO HEMADPANTI


 Simplicity Incarnate: Just keep two parallel girders atop the pillars, make tick-tack-toes at two   places, and the framework is ready: just cover with slabs



First you erect a simple structure with a dome on pillars Then, Shiva’s faithful Nandi has to be accommodated outside the sanctorum, which dictates the creation of an elongated verandah. Thereafter, simply by extending the verandah on either side of Nandi, the required space for devotees to sit, pray, chant, or be offered protection from the elements is created.  Extensions are permitted to any extent, and often they end up as pavilions. In the sanctum sanctorum, the idol is so easy to make- it’s found in nature- that’s obviously why jyotirlinga temples abound. The only construction material required is plenty of rough stone slabs for the ceilings, and maybe a few hundred feet of stone pillars for the columns and for functioning as the criss-crossing horizontal supports for the slabs. For a few hundred years now, the function of the horizontal columns has been taken over by iron girders. 

Variants of the Hemadpanti happen when different types of extensions are created, or the kalash made more elaborate, sculptures thrown-in….depending upon the budget of the village trust…with simplicity, the possibilities are endless.

While on the subject of roofs, find it all under one roof he, he, he, in http://arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/roofs-1.pdf
Dharsanam.com is a good guide so far as South temples are concerned. Here we display the mind-boggling variations of the architecture…

TEMPLE AT CHENGALPATTU, T'NADU: SIMPLEST FORM: NO DOME EVEN
BIT MORE ELABORATE: BHIMASHANKAR, M'RASHTRA
STARK HEMADPANTI: NANDI OUTSIDE
PONNERI SREE AGATHEESWARA, CHENNAI
KALARAM TEMPLE,  NASIK: DUAL GARBHAGRIHA
COPYBOOK HEMADPANTI: MAHADEV OF YEOTMAL
VIKHALE KAMALESHWAR: BEAUTY AND BRAINS
TAKALGHAT: EXPANSIVE PAVILION
ALL NEEDN'T BE H'PANTI : DUTTA OF VASAI, MUMBAI
That still leaves the end open: will we or will we not, mince ambition will be fulfilled or nyet...?

[1] Equally simple and masterful was the idea which Muhammad bin Tughlaq wove around the town in the 14th century, when he sought to relocate Delhi to Daulatabad, lock, stock, barrel and cattle, with tragic consequences...


5 comments:

sindhu bokil said...

9th A. Blog- I got knowledge of Hemadpanthi art.you have studied a lot.

Carl von 'Bailiff said...

Thanks!

Vijay Wadnerkar said...

Very interesting and good collection of scripts

carl von bailiff said...

Thanks Vijay ji, for appreciating the subject and the entry

Anonymous said...

great ...helped me alot..thanks