Nandi: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shiny

This post is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shiny

This photo shows a statue of Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva. This Nandi has been gazing at an idol of his master for more than a thousand years through the entrance of a temple in Pattadakal, India. Carved from a single piece of stone, this Nandi gleams because it has been caressed by humans for centuries.

 

Why we went to South India

We went to South India for several reasons, but the primary reason was to take this picture at the Hampi Temple Complex.

The object of this picture is a chariot carved from stone.  The chariot originally contained a Garuda, an eagle-like creature from Hindu mythology. The chariot represents the type of cart that Hindu idols are carried in during religious processions. This chariot stands guard outside a temple to Vishnu and is oriented so that the Garuda can gaze at the idol representing the god inside.

Vishnu is one of the three main Hindu gods.  Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu is responsible for its continuation, and Shiva is responsible for its destruction. Each Hindu god has an animal-like vehicle for travel and Vishnu travels on the back of the Garuda. Vishnu is incarnated at times of need. Two incarnations of Vishnu that are familiar in the West are Buddha (not everyone in India agrees with this) and Krishna, whose American supporters — the Hari Krishnas — made it difficult to pass through airports in the 1970’s because of their chanting and soliciting of donations. It wasn’t clear to us if the Garuda gets reincarnated also.

Fun facts:

(1) This chariot is of such significance that its image is on the money.

(2) For centuries, the stone wheels could be turned, but the Indian government decided to cement them in place.

Nandi at Sri Meenakshi

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Blue.

In 2013, we visited the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai in the South India state of Tamil Nadu. The Hindu goddess Parvati and god Shiva are known here as Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, respectively. Just outside Sri Meenakshi is a large statue of Nandi, the bull that is the vahana (vehicle) of Shiva. The body of the bull is white, symbolizing purity and justice. While I could not find the reason for the blue highlighting on Nandi’s body, I think that its source is the same poison drunk by Shiva, that also turned Shiva’s throat blue during the Churning of the Cosmic Ocean.

 

This photo was taken on March 11, 2103. Specs are:

Olympus TG-1, ISO 100, f/4, 1/1250 sec, 7.9 mm

(With apologies for any inaccuracies in describing the Hindu religion.)

Places of Worship

Since today is Easter Sunday, the featured topic is places of worship from around the world. The pictures are presented alphabetically by country.

Since, by necessity, the description of the religious significance of each site is very short, the interested reader is encouraged to research further.

Cambodia

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This photo shows the sun rising behind Angkor Wat in Cambodia. During its long history, Hinduism and Buddhism have both been practiced here.

This photo was taken in March, 2013.

Egypt

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Temple of Kom Ombo, Aswan, Egypt

The Temple of Kom Ombo is located  in Upper Egypt for the worship of two gods: the crocodile god Sobek (god of fertility, who created the world) and the falcon god Horus (son of Isis and Osiris; god of the sky, war and hunting). Images of Hathor, depicted as a cow goddess, are also  prevalent here.

This photo was taken in February, 2013.

France

Notre Dame
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

This photo of the historic Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral was taken in October, 2015.

India

Here are photos of Indian temples for each of three ancient religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism) and two newer religions (Islam and Sikhism).

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Sree Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India

The Sree Meenakshi Amman Temple is located in Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and named for his wife, the goddess Parvati. Shiva is the destroyer, recycler and regenerator of universe and all life. Parvati is the goddess of love and devotion. Shiva and Parvati are the parents of Ganesha and Kartikeya.

There are 14 towers; the tallest tower is the southern one, at 170 feet.

This photo was taken in March, 2013.

 

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Jain Temple at Ranakpur, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

This photo shows pillars in the interior of the Jain Temple at Ranakpur, in the city of Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan, India.

This photo was taken in October, 2014.

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Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India

This photo shows the Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath, about 13 kilometers north-east of Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Sarnath is the site of Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment.

This photo was taken in October, 2014.

 

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Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, India

This photo shows the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi; it is one of the largest Muslim mosques in India. The photo is taken from a window at the top of one of the towers, a twin to the taller tower reaching above the skyline. The two (shorter) minarets visible in the middle are 130 feet high.

This photo was taken in March, 2013.

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The Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India

This photo is of Sri Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, which is the holiest Gurdwara (place of worship) of Sikhism.  The Golden Temple is located in Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India.

This photo was taken in October, 2014.

Spain

 

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Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

This photo shows part of the exterior of the Sagrada Família, a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Antoni Gaudi.

This photo was taken in April, 2015.

Thailand

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Buddha statues, Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

This photo shows a row of Buddha statues inside Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand. The photo was taken in March, 2013, before the restoration of the wall behind the statues.

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Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand.

This photo shows the Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand.

This photo was taken in February, 2016.

Vatican City State

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Sistine Chapel ceiling, Vatican

This photo shows part of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Roman Catholic Vatican.

This photo was taken in February, 2013.