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Old 28th March 2009, 15:10   #1
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Arrow El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the Booty:

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the Booty:

When a routine post and a couple of mails between Ashish Gupta and me happened, I had no idea about the direction that would take me the next week.

I was attracted to his blog @

http://www.oktatabyebye.com/myselfblogger/MyStories

and wanted to meet him; we’re friends through the Scorpio Fans club at Yahoo, another lovely group of road-heads who love the scorp and SUV’s in general. The NCR gang is pretty well-knit; stretching the idea of e-kinship to a heart-warming level. I feel, the banter, transparency and comradery of this gang and those who regularly interact are more warmer than normally seen
in BB based clicks. Well…….. let me steer back to story…

Ashish (we’ll call him AG from now on?) has back-packed thro Rahastan and reached Ahmedabad. We planned dinner for on 20th, was a packed day and had tight scheds on 21st and 22nd too, no way I was going to miss the meet, was hooked by his blog and intriguing story. My curiosity was wide awake with boiling questions. How anyone can up and take 3 months off his life to travel all over India and blog it, how can a young person with a family afford it, what’s this all about? The AG I know is no son of a Sheik or Quixotic, nor had won a lottery. The dinner meeting had me stumped; AG has resigned from an IT job, taken a partly / fully paid back-packing 3 months trip and is going where his heart is pointing; his wife has bought into the idea….. the story I’d like to film in Bollywood, if wishes were cows.. !!!!! There’s lots more to this man… but then I’d be leading you off the main story, so, let’s get back on track.

It was decided that IAG would go to Lothel on Saturday, I’d work on Saturday to keep my job, delegate my tasks to a colleague of mine on Sunday and we’d take a 300+ km Chakkar thro. Patan, Siddhpur and around (the scorp was sulking, hasn’t been getting exercised lately and needed a highway run anyway) I’ve heard of Patan but was never prepared for the rich
architecture, living history and serials that flash-backed thro. mute sculptures with loud stories.

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-1-ashish-amr1.jpg
Picked AG up at 8 am and promptly gave him the log book to write, should say he did a pretty good job of log-keeping when he remembered The plan was broadly to hit:

• Sun temple at Modera
• Rani-ke-wav at Patan
• The world famous Patan Patola, weavers &
• Siddhpur Rudra Temple

I was expecting a run-on-the-mill ruins at all these places, over confidant. Me thought; if there’s something good to be seen so near home I’d’ve have seen it anyway, AG must be going hyper on these or he has a different chemistry. Man could I be more wrong, what a revelation and a find it turned out to be!!!!

While on the drive, AG was at his laptop filling out, uploading the previous blocks of story and also trying to be nice talking to me (I realized this later and stopped my chatter). The 1 hour drive took us to the first spot, Sun Temple at Modera.

Sun Temple – Modera:

We parked, took 5 Rs. Ticket for entry, no charge for still camera and enter thro. a gate. In the distance, thro. the trees, we could see some structures and well-maintained greens all around, well…. that’s normal. As we walk closer, we see remnants of stones, carvings, columns and some steps on the right side. Go nearer, we can see more steps going down under and shimmering green water. I realize my heart is racing now, joy wafted down unconsciously, autacoids were prodding my elated left ribcage; the el-do-rado of architecture was wide open wherever eye could see. This has to be seen to be believed!!!!!

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-2-modera.jpg

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El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-5-mod.jpg

Built by Bhimdev of Solanki dynasty in AD 1026, the temple is on the now-dry banks of river Pushpavathi. Aladdin Khilji, pretty much flattened out everything on his way….may God bless his soul!!!! It’s surprising so much was left over for posterity, he must have been on a forgiving mood if you compare this to what he did to Rudra Temple at Siddhpur. Around the same time, Ghazni, another Enlightened Soul, on his Sunday afternoon plunder was enjoying himself at Somnath, dismembering it brick by brick!!! This conjures up images of these Cretans after tea in the morning asking each other, “shall we plunder a couple of temples in India today or shall we test the 200 mm cannons on the Siddhpur market place” and tossing a gold coin who would have the first rights to rape the chief priest!!! What bats fly on these bell-frys is beyond a normal person like me.

Skanda Prana says this area was known as Dharmaranya, Lord Rama after killing Ravana chose this place for a pilgrimage as advised by the Raj Guru Vasistha. Lord Ram established a village called Sitapur which became Modhera later.

The Modera Sun temple has 3 parts:

1. The Surya Kund: A stepped tank with awesome steps and carvings all around; never imagined such a beautiful structure existed. The 100 sq mtr rectangular pond was probably used to store water for the township and was also used for ceremonial worship of the Sun God. 108 small shrines are carved all over the steps of this tank, the number 108 was Auspicious?

There are signs of restoration all over this tank, it must have been a sight to see in it’s hay days; even as we looked at it, it was dazzling in the now hot sun, AG was gaga about this place and I was speechless. We just stood on different corners deep inside the well and gaped. The emerald green water, different shades of granite, stone and the green lawns around it, the Sun Temple in the back ground… WOW, that was some sight to see.

2. Sabha Mandap:

The hall for religious meetings with a vaulted dome, something akin to the Ranakpur ones. There are 52 beautifully carved pillars, with motifs form Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna Lila. Signs of restoration is clear, most of the carvings have lost out details, the sand-stone have lost details to cruel time. Even while I sat watching and photographing, some of the Sunday crowd was trying to scrap and scratch and see if there’s gold underneath the carvings, one bloke used his car key just to see what it could accomplish, when he saw me staring, he slinked away!!!!!! What a shame we do not know how to respect and preserve the priceless treasures we have.

I was discussing with AG how foreigners make a hoop-la about the pieces of history they have; they light up the place, rail it off, make lovely gardens around it, print art material glossies, conduct exhibitions about it, flout it, display it and feel proud of it and charge you 10$ as entrance fees; we have history EVERYWHERE in India!!! Guess we get what we deserve, as a great man once said.

3.Sanctum Sanctorum:
Does not look like anything Sanctum or Sanctorum in there, no poojas done here now. This structure is on a lotus based theme, something like the Konark one which is on a Chariot based theme on a much larger scale. You cannot compare Modera to Konark, Konark is on a grander scale, this is a miniature, yet impactful like Sachin Tendulkar, Konark I think, is the Dravid of Sun Temples. The design is such that the rays of the raising and setting sun will fall on the The IDOL on the equinox day, some engineering feat that!!! Our friend Gazni ensured that posterity would not be fortunate to see this idol

The place is looked after by an old man who told us bits and pieces of story in Gujrati (which I understand reasonably well). Place is a heaven for bats of all sizes and shapes with a couple of pigeons to give them grudging company. The carvings were awesome, the bats fearsome. I would imagine this as a place to which you’d lead inside a troublesome and difficult aunt,
close the door, take a deep breath and blow an ultra-sound whistle to blast the slumbering bats… ha…ha.... bye-bye aunt!!!

There’s a dance festival around 3rd week of January after Uttrayan for 3 days in Modhera, organized by the Gujrat Tourism Department. This is pretty popular with the locals, you can see authentic and classical dance styles during this time.

AG and me did not talk much here (as if we had chewed a tube of superglue) the place was SOOO impactful. An exchanged look, pointed finger at a carving, turn of the face to look at a pillar, pointing of the camera to shoot an arch, was communication enough. At moments like this I could feel the pulse of what consume AG to embark on a journey like this AND spend sleepless nights blogging it.

It was about 12 noon, blazing hot; we try the Toran Cafeteria for some chow. We get decent Potato Powa with Mazza + Coke to wash it down, place does not look like it’s used much for eats though it has decent enough space to sit and unwind. The Scorp is an inferno now, we hurry and park it under a tree to cool off and turn the A/C full blast on, soon enough, life is back to living temp, we turn left and head towards Patan, about 25 kms, AG opens his laptop and finishes up his uploading task while I drive slowly to see the sights.

The roads we drove through were all well maintained, OK signages and a pleasure to drive. Still it would be appropriate to ask around, there are many turns and small roads but people more than willing to give you clear directions. They seemed very tourist friendly and wanted to help.

We ride thro. Patan town, a busy town filled with people compared to the Village like air of Modhera and find the parking place. Surprisingly, from the town to the Rani Ki Vav, signages were POOR, something the local authorities need to attend to immediately.
Attached Thumbnails
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-1-.jpg  


Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th March 2009 at 15:15.
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Old 28th March 2009, 15:37   #2
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Arrow More photgos

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-6-mod.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-7-mod.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-8-mod.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-9-mod.jpg

More Photos:
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Old 28th March 2009, 15:50   #3
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Nice travelogue. Nice pic of the Sun Temple.
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Old 28th March 2009, 16:37   #4
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Snaps & snaps and Snaps
Attached Thumbnails
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-10-mod.jpg  

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-11-mod.jpg  

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-12-mod.jpg  

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-13-mod.jpg  

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-14-mod.jpg  

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-15.mod-.jpg  

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Old 28th March 2009, 17:31   #5
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Default PART 2 - Rani Ka Vav:

This one from the Sun temple, parting shot.

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-16.mod.jpg

PART 2 - Rani Ka Vav:
This is one of the best step-wells built in Gujarat around 1022 AD. Widowed queen, Rani Udayamati, wife of King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty probably built this in his memory. She finished up the project and the place was believed to have been used by the Royal family to cool themselves off during summer; the Saraswati river was flowing thro. here and the water descending down the well must have kept the whole place humidified and cool. That could be real because the depths of the well were pretty cool and the lawns outside sweltering hot.
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-17-rani.jpg
When we walk thro the huge greens we see a ground level entrance, only when seen from there you can realize the depth and size of the works. When you descend you can see on the wall around you panels of sculptures all around, mostly dedicated to Vishnu, the Avatars prominent. The sculptures of Kalki and Vamana were exquisite, the sudden appearance Durga in between the Avatars is surprising, somebody must have added this recently to fill up the place, the logic of this introduction into the Vishnu Avatar Serials, I could not understand!!!!
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-18-rani.jpg
This was more like a gallery of art, lots of carvings and statues on the walls, columns and chambers in different stories again with lots of carvings all leading down into what must have been water, now dry. Reportedly, there were Ayurvedic plants here, the water in the well had powers to heal. This appeared to be a cool place for the Royals to relax, cool off, enjoy and meditate.
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-19-rani.jpg
Half the portion is blocked off to protect the monuments, the caretaker and tourists. Protect Caretaker and Tourists ???
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-20-rani.jpg
Caretaker said there huge bee-hives with horny bees (yes horny bees), tourists disturb them, get stung and complain to the Government against him !!!! I was wondering why tourists examine bee-hives from close quarters and what historical value there could be in bee-hives and why they should poke their preciousextremities into bee-hives… God’s creations sometimes leave me wondering whatever He was thinking when he crafts tourists like these ?????? God (Sir, are you in a listening mood today) please unleash these pests inside the Sashen Geer Forests; the lions are starving out there.

Story has it that there was a 30 kms tunnel which went to Sidhpur (now this is blocked off though we saw the entrance at Siddhpur at the Rudhra Temple). The whole place was buried under a field until a farmed found it in 1992, the archaeology department dug it up and turned it into a UNESCO World Heritage sight. The area around has lots of potential for more diggings, there must be palaces under all this ground.

Here we were joined by Ashim Giyanani, AG met him on the train and it was fixed up he’d team up with us for the day.
El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-21-rani.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-22-rani.jpg
======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th March 2009 at 17:45.
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Old 28th March 2009, 18:13   #6
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Arrow Rani Ki Wav - More Photos

SOME MORE RANE KI WAV PHOTOS;

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-23-rani.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-24-rani.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-25-rani.jpg

El-do-rado @ Patan – Wowed by the  Booty:-26-rani.jpg

Today I am at my village Palakkad for a family function and more or less unwinding and uploading this in the post-lunch time; can't think of attempting this on a work-day, would go mad waiting for these to upload.

Each picture is taking abotu 3 minutes to load from my reliance laptop connection, its a painful wait....

OK.... I think its worth the time to share it with people who may want to know about this place.

I need to scram now........ more in the next and last instalment.

Its all about the World Famous Patan Patola, Queen of silks, the one and only silk weaving of its kind in the world. Not much know in India, but the entire world seems to know about it and admire it!!!!

Also about Siddhpur, not much is known about this palce, until you start digging into the archives of history. What a find this turned out to be; Rivers Saraswati and Ganga was reported to flow thro. here and this was a religious Rishikesh ages ago!!!!

Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th March 2009 at 18:20.
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Old 28th March 2009, 22:17   #7
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Smile Great show Ramky!!

You have covered the points I may have missed. I have cross referenced your blog at the site where I am uploading.

Waiting for more meat from your end on the trip esp. your fact finding on Sidhpur.

You are too kind with your description about me!!

Cheers
Ag
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Old 28th March 2009, 22:52   #8
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Some nice pictures and great write up.

I visited sun temple of Modhera when I was 12 years old. You have brought back those childhood memories. And I am glad that you decided to share this travelogue. Whenever I visit Ahmedabad, this is now on my to-do list.

Please keep progressing through this journey. I am thoroughly enjoying it.
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Old 29th March 2009, 01:06   #9
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Smile Khilji and Candour

If Khilji were to read your blog today - he would die laughing. I had breezed over your blog earlier and missed that part (I was uploading my pending blogs actually!) - but this is hilarious.

You got the bat pictures well, my beat up camera has a handicap in low light. You are right about "we the people" visiting these places - given their condition at some, I sometimes wish that it would have been better if the marauders would have destroyed it completely for, collectively, we still do not understand our heritage for its worth or else we would have been a much more caring society and better human beings. But a fatalist that I am I think this is to be!

Anywho, I think I did a bad job of keeping your log book since I know I missed the last part of turning towards Sidhpur and back, sorry about that.

As for your talking while I was blogging - well I was wondering why you stopped, was it something I said? But you were just being nice - so thanks.

The wikipedia links to Patan and Modhera will be good reference points on your blog to those interested in further reading.
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Old 29th March 2009, 14:26   #10
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The "batty" shots of the ceiling and the column are great...

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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Snaps & snaps and Snaps
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Old 30th March 2009, 13:04   #11
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Default Absolute Wonders!

Ramky,

I visited Modera as a small kid, maybe was around 7 or8 yrs old. This has stirred some memories!

An interesting thing I noticed is a similarity between the Suryakund ( pond ) architecture at Modera and the one at Hampi ( see pic below ). One difference seems to be the number of steps in Hampi are odd numbered.

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Look forward to the rest of the snaps and the travelouge.
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Old 30th March 2009, 13:14   #12
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Wow, Ramky Nice snaps.

Quote:
Picked AG up at 8 am and promptly gave him the log book to write, should say he did a pretty good job of log-keeping
Oh man, now I know how AG was feeling

And yes, you did a nice job of clicking too...lol
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Old 30th March 2009, 13:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smsrini View Post
An interesting thing I noticed is a similarity between the Suryakund ( pond ) architecture at Modera and the one at Hampi ( see pic below ).
Exactly the same thing came to my mind, seeing that snap.

Ramky, waiting for the next episodes.
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Old 30th March 2009, 17:56   #14
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Mahesh, I don't know how HVk & Ramky maintain such detailed logs and kudos to those navigators who assist them inthis. I, in 2006, once tried doing this on my drive to Bombay from Gurgaon. Asked my better-half to do the logging.

As soon as we crossed the Jaiour bypass the register was consigne3d to the boot..

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Oh man, now I know how AG was feeling

And yes, you did a nice job of clicking too...lol
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Old 31st March 2009, 11:40   #15
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Hai PPl,

I've been trying to load for 2 days the rest of the episode, I get only one bar on my Reliance USB card, somehow got this up.

Will try to load the rest once I move withing better range of some tower. Pl. wait till then, and thanks for all the replies and posts.

--Ramky

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