Monday, January 21, 2008


Kolhapur is a historic city nestled in southwesterly portion of Maharashtra. It is famous for its architecture, cuisine, footwear, jewelry and also has religious significance for Hindus. It houses the Mahalakshmi temple, which translates as the temple of the "Great Goddess of Wealth." This post is not Hinduism 101 so there will be no lesson in theosophy. This post will share photographs I had taken in Kolhapur two months ago.

The Mahalaksmi temple complex belongs, architecturally, to the Chalukya empire and probably built around 700AD. The Chalukyan empire ruled the central and southern part of India. What is interesting though is that the architectural style of the temple is not Dravidian, which is so characteristic of temples in the southern part of the country.

The above structure is located in the vicinity of the temple complex. I am not certain what the building is being used as. But one does get a feeling of being in a time warp.

This is a close-up of a gate in the vicinity of the temple complex. Don't miss the modern sign next to the traditional architecture.

This is a view from the other side. There is a clock on the facade and it actually works! It was indeed a little after 3PM that afternoon.

This is one of entrances into the temple complex. There are stores here selling ritualistic stuff and offerings to the Goddess. I was highly amused to see these two women sit right at the entrance and gossip.

The guy in the foreground is selling flowers to offer to the Goddess. He had a beautiful garland of lotuses.

The complex is strewn with tiny shops like these. I particularly loved the way this vendor had displayed his wares.

The pillar in the background holds oil lamps. When lit in the evening the sight must be spectacular.

This group of pillars also hold oil lamps.

The temple building. I totally dislike how they have painted the spires called "shikhar" in Sanskrit. It takes away the natural beauty of the building and its massing.

Another view of the temple structure and its vicinity.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I had taken a hiatus from the blogging world. I was in India during Thanksgiving break and returned a little before Christmas. I missed writing my random nonsense hence I am back to the blogosphere. Last evening K and I went to see the movie "Juno." Here is the review from New York Times. We went to the Princeton Garden Theatre in downtown Princeton. I prefer that to the multiplexes because it takes me back to my childhood and young adulthood and reminds me of the theatres back then, which was a more family experience than these crazy multiplexes with 24 movies playing at a time!

We enjoyed the movie thoroughly especially for a humorous take on a rather grim situation, which is teenage pregnancy. Neither does it have a high handed moralistic take on this situation nor does it trivialize it. I especially loved the humorous writing and dialogues. I love sarcastic humor and people who come with sarcastic and intelligent retorts make me laugh....hence I enjoyed it for that. On a deeper note the fact that a 16-year old girl is sexually active and gets impregnated by her 16-year old boy friend is very disturbing. What was more disturbing in the beginning of the movie was that her father and step-mother were totally unaware that she was sexually active? One would think that it is a highly dysfunctional family but then they rally around her and support her makes you tear up. Initially Juno seemed like a precocious teenager who irritates you but then you end up loving the character for the maturity she displays. You watch her grow from the cocky teenager into this mature young adult and find true love with the boy friend. She puts up her baby for adoption with a yuppy couple in their thirties and you watch how the facades are dropped and their true personalities are revealed. The ending is very sweet and therefore makes the movie very enjoyable.

PS: I cried at the ending and even sobbed. I think K might have been a little embarassed when we walked out of the theater as my face was all puffy and red!