Old stones: Dhwaja sthambha of a lost and forgotten temple

I have been admiring and wondering about this pair of old stones for a long time now. Why are they sticking out into the sky in the middle of nowhere? At first we jumped to the conclusion that they were hero stones, of which there are many well known ones in the state. But when I looked them up, they didn’t seem to be anything like hero stones, which are smaller, squatter, and have a lot of inscription. Then I tried asking people I met near the stones. As you can see (maybe, if you have excellent eyesight) one has been converted to a Ganesha shrine. The other one has a Basava (Nandi) engraved on it, which is more visible.

But all they could tell me was that they formed the Dhwaja Sthambha, or flag poles, of a temple which no longer exists. Unfortunately my Kannada isn’t up to ferreting out any stories associated h with it.

As has been remarked often, we Indians have no sense of history. We tend to ascribe anything old to Rama, Hanuman, or the Pandavas. As in the Pandavar Malai near our farm, presumably so called because of the ancient dolmens on it (of which, more in another post). All over the country, you will find a rocky outcrop named Pavagadh, which is said to be a bit of the Oshadi Parvata carried by Hanuman to bring the life-restoring herb sanjeevani to Rama and Lakshmana, injured in battle in Lanka. All right, I only know of two such Pavagadhs, in Gujarat and in Karnataka, but one can extrapolate.

And, having established an object as sacred, of course, we proceed to desecrate it. Why, oh why, can’t we preserve our ancient heritage instead of just boasting about it and alienating those we consider as belonging to the more recent past?


5 responses to “Old stones: Dhwaja sthambha of a lost and forgotten temple

  1. You are welcome to call me a Yank, Harini, but I perceive that you and your countrymen do have a sense of history. You have ancient monuments. One of your category titles is “Old stones,” and another is “History.” It seems to me that you combine tradition with new trends in your farming. I think it is a superior culture that shows less interest in all things new. A strong sense of history and tradition is a bulwark against interference with traditions people retain over the years for good reasons, not because they are inertial or dull to progress!

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    • My whole point is, Lauren, that while we clung to tradition, we don’t properly value or appreciate what we have. For instance, we never kept accurate records of events and people and dates, and we allow our beautiful monuments to fall into ruin when often all that is required is the willingness and the funds to protect and keep them clean. It is true that my people once had a strong spiritual inclination derived from our reverence for nature. But like the rest of the world, we seem have lost those underpinnings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I understand in part, Harini, but coming from an entirely other culture, I cannot apprehend another culture that is at least or more profound than my own. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Harini – thanks for posting the insightful observations about the sthambas. These elongated structures appear to bear some resemblance to obelisks which were placed at the entrance to temples in ancient Egypt … those were dedicated to the Sun God Ra. Just check out pictures on the internet and let me know what you think.

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