India Temples,

the meaning of the dance of Shiva

and Ganesha created from Shiva laughter,

photo-reportage by Wieslaw Sadurski.






SRI MANAKULA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE in Pondicherry was built before the 15th century. It is only 400 metres away from the Bay of Bengal in the White Town of Pondicherry. This shrine is dedicated to a form of Lord Ganesha – Bhavaneshar Ganapathy.

Trimurti is a concept in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction are personified in the forms of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Guardian and Shiva the Destroyer.

Lord Shiva has 1008 names and is a master of dance, yoga and art patron, ascet, benefactor, head of the family, the destroyer. Symbolizes killing and renewing aspect of divinity. Dance of Shiva symbolizes the destruction and the creation of the cosmos constantly made by him. If he would stop dancing - the world would cease to exist, but the dance of Shiva never stops, so the world will not perish. We are so lucky!

Shaivism is the oldest of the four major sects of Hinduism. The followers of Saivism worship Shiva as the Supreme Being. They believe that Shiva is the creator, protector, destroyer, revealer and corrector of all that is.

LORD GANESHA
is widely revered as he removes the obstacles so spiritual as well as material, patron of the arts and sciences, written letters, the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is the god of abundance, success and prosperity, represents vitality and strength.

Ganesha is depicted as polite, kind, friendly, humorous, clever, funny, and sometimes playing pranks. As God of beginnings he is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies. He is one of the most important, most popular, most available of all Indian gods, worshiped at the shrine in almost every street.

For devout Hindus statue of Ganesha is the first thing that comes to their new home. Blessing this house and promises happiness. In the philosophical interpretation embodies the human ego control and ensures that even the smallest creatures contain divinity. He is also on almost every invitation to the wedding. Embodies the ideal image of a Hindu family.

There are plenty of stories about Ganesha; I like the one that says that he was created from Shiva laughter.

Lord Shiva is often depicted with a third eye; when he loses patience, third eye opens, burns and turns all into ashes. On his head is a crescent; waxing and waning moon cycle represents the time during which the creation evolves from beginning to end. In his right hand is a trident, which can be understood as symbolic unity of the three worlds of man - his inner world, the next world and the general world.

Lord Shiva has 6 heads, of which only five are visible, while the sixth is visible only for the enlightened. Lord Shiva smears his body with ashes, what represents the end of all material existence. He wears five serpents on the neck and a garland of skulls as a decoration.

In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as a standard of integrity, power and terror, as well as a form of honor, joy and radiance. The duality of the terrible and beautiful attributes of Shiva appears in contrasting names. It occurs both as an ascetic yogi and as host - exclusive roles in Hindu society.

Lord Shiva is depicted with four arms. Holding ax and hand corner of the upper arm, in the lower pair bow and arrow. After the destruction of Tripura, the three cities of iron, silver and gold - on earth, in heaven and paradise - painted on his forehead three streaks of ashes. It has become a symbol of Shiva and is still practiced today by Sadhus and Shaivitus.

NATARAJA - one of the names of Shiva -
in dance of ecstasy has raised his left leg, pointing to the right, bent at the knee. Cobra is unwounding from his lower right arm and a crescent moon and a skull are on his chest.

Upper right hand holds a drum, which symbolizes the initial sound of creation and the passage of time. The upper left hand holds the fire that symbolizes destruction.

Lower left hand points to the raised foot representing the liberation. The second right hand in a mudra gesture manifests patronage against evil and ignorance for those who live in righteousness of Dharma. Snake around his waist is kundalini, a symbol of divine energy that lives in all things.

When Nataraja is dancing his dance in which the universe is created, sustained and destroyed - his long hair tied usually in a knot loosen up and hit the planets and stars, throwing them out of their orbits or completely destroying. Surrounding flames represent the manifest universe.

The meaning of the dance of Shiva can be explained by: Firstly, as the image of rhythm game, the source of all movement within the universe. Secondly, the purpose of the dance is to free the souls of all the people from the snares of illusion and ignorance. Thirdly - the place of dance, presented as the center of the universe - is actually in the heart.



MAHABALIPURAM SHORE TEMPLE
It's a beautiful romantic temple, destroyed by the wind and the sea, built in the middle of the 7th century AD century, later rebuilt. Two towers of the temple contain shrines for Shiva. A third and earlier shrine is dedicated to Vishnu and houses his reclining image.

Meaning Shore Temple is so great that a few years ago was placed on the World Heritage List. After that was built a giant rock wall, which is designed to protect the temple from further erosion. Although most of the details of sculptures disappeared over the centuries, an extraordinary amount remains, especially inside the shrines.

Varaha Cave Temple is a rock-cut cave temple located at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.
The temple is a small monolithic rock-cut temple with a mandapa carved into the rock face of pink granite formations, dating from the 7th century. The cave reflects a transitional style of architecture in its columns mounted on seated lions and frescoes carved on the walls inside the cave.

The walls inside the cave have several striking mythological scenes carved in relief. Vishnu rescuing the earth, Vishnu taking three strides, Gaja Laksmi and Durga are all impressive panels carved in the Adivaraha Cave. These monolithic temples are known as Rathas and it is an innovation of Pallava king AD 630-668.

A huge rock sloping from south to north was utilized judiciously to cutout different forms of temple, besides few animal sculptures. Relief sculpture on the wall with perfect balancing of the masculine and feminine features is considered to be one of the finest specimen of early Pallava plastic art. Their stupis are still attached with the bedrock.






Varaha Cave Temple is a rock-cut cave temple located at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.

The temple is a small monolithic rock-cut temple with a mandapa carved into the rock face of pink granite formations, dating from the 7th century.

The cave reflects a transitional style of architecture in its columns mounted on seated lions and frescoes carved on the walls inside the cave.

The walls inside the cave have several striking mythological scenes carved in relief. Vishnu rescuing the earth, Vishnu taking three strides, Gaja Laksmi and Durga are all impressive panels carved in the Adivaraha Cave.

These monolithic temples are known as Rathas and it is an innovation of Pallava king AD 630-668. A huge rock sloping from south to north was utilized judiciously to cutout different forms of temple, besides few animal sculptures.

Relief sculpture on the wall with perfect balancing of the masculine and feminine features is considered to be one of the finest specimen of early Pallava plastic art. Their stupis are still attached with the bedrock.