Monday, February 13, 2012

Lonavala Wax Museum

Lonavala Wax Museum displays the wax works of sculptor artist Sunil Kandaloor. It is built on the lines of the Madame Tussauds museum London and the Paris wax museum. It is located at Lonavala (60 kms from Pune) at the start of the Lonavala Karla road. He has already established a similar museum in Kanyakumari. The museum displays wax statues of several famous personalities like Anna Hazare, Mahatma Gandhi,Babasaheb Ambedkar,Ch.Shivaji Maharaj,Swami Vivekananda,Kapil Dev,Sri Sri Ravishankar,Sai Baba,Ma Amrutanandamayi,Jackie Shroff,MS Subalakshmi,A R Rehman,Michael Jackson,Saddam Hussain,Hitler etc.
Some of the statues have a almost perfect likeness to their original counterparts and are difficult to distinguish apart.

 pic source (above pic) :

Also refer

Photographs: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha (except the ones credited).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Miscellaneous churches of Goa

Mae de deus (mother of god) church was built in 1873 in Gothic architectural style at Saligao (10kms from Panjim), North Goa.

Miscellaneous churches in Goa:

 St Cajetan church (prev.known as Church of our lady of divine providence) built in the 18th century in Corinthian architectural style by Italian friars of the Theatine order.

 Our Lady of  Merces , a.k.a Nossa Senhora de merces ,Colva built in 1630-5. Its statue of infant Jesus was brought from the Mozambique coast by a Jesuit priest Bento Fereira and placed in the church in 1648.
 Se Cathedral, Old Goa built in 1619 to commemorate victory of Alfonso de Albureques army against the moslems. It is built in the Portuguese Manueline architectural style.
 Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa built in 1604 in Baroque style architecture.It holds the mummified body of St Frances Xavier.
 Se cathedral, Old Goa
Church of our lady of immaculate conception, Panjim built in 1543-7 (rebuilt in 1619) in Manueline architectural style.
St Joachim church, Margao

Photographs : Nitin Pai

Narsobachi wadi, Kolhapur

Narsobachi wadi is famous for its Dattatreya temple and the samadhi of the saint Swami Narsinha Saraswati .

It is located near Kurundwad, 40 kms from Kolhapur.

The original temple was built almost 600 years ago and has undergone several renovations since then.

The temple exists at the confluence of the Krishna Panchaganga rivers.

Being a very popular holy site, Narsaobachi wadi has state transport buses plying at a regular frequencies from Kolhapur.

Text and photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ancestral Goa (Big Foot) Museum : Loutelim, Goa

Ancestral Goa museum is the brainchild of artist Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares.

Pics(above): Sachin Dinde

Built on a sprawling estate of 9 acres in 1994, Ancestral Goa acts as a showcase for Goan culture and history.

The museum is situated at Loutelim and is also known as the Big Foot museum, because of the presence of a stone imprint of a large foot which the locals believe to be that of a local saint.

Pics (above): Sachin Dinde

The estate has several clay models depicting Goans in their various professions, chores (e.g toddy maker, fisherman, salt bank, coconut splitting etc) and moods besides several Goan artefacts, handicrafts, paintings etc which are on display.

There is also a large sculpture of Saint Mirabai. It holds the Limca record of the largest laterite sculpture in India

For more details refer

Text and photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bhaja Caves : A Photo Feature

Bhaja caves are a ancient Hinayana Buddhist cave monastery excavated sometime from 2nd cen BC to 1st cen AD. They are located atop a mountain alongside the base village of  Bhaja (from which the caves get their name or perhaps vice versa) in Maval khore region around 2kms from Malavli railway station near Lonavala (64kms from Pune city).

The caves can be accessed by climbing a series of steep stone steps (which can be covered in half an hours time).
The caves were a part of the highway connecting the ancient trade ports of Kalyan and Sopara.
Traders often used these caves for a stopover before proceeding to the ports and back.
Bhaja caves are also in proximity (5kms away) to the famous Karla caves (Note: ancient name of Karla was Veluraka).In fact the architectural style of Karla and Bhaja caves is quite similar.
In vicinity are also the famous forts of Lohagad and Visapur.
Bhaja acted as a great learning centre for Buddhism and also provided accomodation for the residing monks.
Bhaja is a group of 18 caves.

The main cave is a 17x18 mtr chaityagriha (having a arched horseshoe shaped facade similar to Karla). The main stupa (3.45 mtr dia) has an apse background with a grooved ribbed ceiling made in timber.

There are shilalekhs (probably in the brahmi script) mentioning donor details found in various spaces.

Besides the chaityagrihas there are many viharas where the monks were lodged. The interiors of the viharas are very simple. They have a stone plinth that probably doubled as a bed and a chair. There is also a water reservoir outside the rooms to provide potable water for the monks.

Pic: Surya
Pic: Indra

Also present is a pillared hall with some beautiful carvings of various deities (Surya,Indra), dwarpalas, animals etc.

Then there is cave room that has 14 nos smaller stupas located inside(5 nos) as well as outside(9 nos) the enclosure. They are said to store relics and ashes of the departed monks.

All in all the Bhaja caves are a tourists delight and a fine specimen for study by visting historians, archaelogists and students.

The best time to visit Bhaja would be in the monsoons (though they can be visited 365 days in a year), where there are cascades all around and the caves themselves are enwrapped with a green blanket.

Text and Photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha