Kote Venkataramana Temple

It has been hard to get back to regular posting. To break our mental block, we decided to go through each day in our last trip to South India and find a picture from that day to post.

It took us a full day to get from our home in the US to Bangalore, our first stop in India. Bangalore seems like it might be a good place to live but — from a tourist perspective — the most interesting location seems to be the modern international airport.  Bangalore was a capital city in times past which has been renamed Bengaluru to help confuse visitors. Today, it is a modern place known as the “Silicon Valley of India.” If you have ever called customer service in the evening for help with an electronic device, it is likely you have spoken to someone in Bangalore.

The first day of our trip was a drive around to see the few remaining historical sites in Bangalore. Being driven in Bangalore is like riding in an amusement park thrill ride. Two or three inches separate cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians that are bobbing and weaving while constantly blowing their horns (except for the pedestrians, but they would if they had them).

One site we stopped at, which is really atypical of modern Bangalore, was the Kote Venkataramana Temple. The guide said we’d be seeing a lot of temples in India (he was right) so we saw this one from outside only. It is part of the Tipu Sultan Fort complex. According to an eBook we bought on Amazon, the tower in the left of the photo represents a mountain where gods live. A god comes down the mountain to a sanctuary, representing a cave, that is reached after passing through the tower. In this “cave” there is an idol of a deity that the god inhabits during worship. The worshiper gazes at the idol; the god, through the eyes of the idol, gazes back at the worshiper. In this way, each benefits. (Note: This is probably 100% wrong, but it is enough to get past American tourists.)

Bagan Photo Shoot 3: The Monk at Prayer

After our photo shoot at the colonnade, our photographer guide, Maung Maung Bagan, loaded us and the monk into his car and started driving down dirt paths. It was getting hot and we noticed that the only part of his air conditioner that still seemed to function was the ON light. On the other hand, we were zipping down roads at 40 miles per hour when other vehicles were crawling along at about 10 mph. We also left quite an impressive plume of dust.

We arrived at a temple and entered. At Maung Maung’s “suggestion”, we bought a pack of candles from a small shop inside the temple. We then went through an arched doorway which, to our surprise, led to a long cave containing only a large reclining Buddha. Placing the candles on stands and on the fingers of the Buddha, Maung Maung lit them and our little monk began to pray. The following photos show the  results.

iBallRTW-Maung Maung-1-2
Praying Monk

Specs: Canon 100D, ISO 400, f/5.0, 1/6 sec, 37 mm

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Praying Monk

Specs: ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/25 sec, 32 mm

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Reclining Buddha with Praying Monk

Specs: Canon 100D, ISO 6400, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 43 mm

Both closeup photos of the monk were taken with tripod-mounted cameras. The long view of the Buddha was taken with a camera propped on a table.  For all the photos, the only illumination in the dark cave was the candelight seen in the photos.

For our earlier posts on our photo shoots that day, visit:

Bagan Photo Shoot 1: I need a map

Bagan Photo Shoot 2: The Firewood Seller