Ulavi is famous for it’s Ulavi caves (cow caves). And many people go to Dandeli National park and anshi national park for the jungle experience.
Ulavi happed to be yet another beautiful discovery as I walked the forest of this areas at the stike of first light.
But as I have stated earlier, speaking to locals can be serendipity. I was exploring the jungles of Ulavi on foot when I met and made a new friend called Sufi. This guy again, opened up with so many stories and myths about this place.
This place is full of stories like jungle our very own India jungle lores that were shared arround camp fire.
Ali Khan Hulvi who lived for 125 years was the jungle healer of this village. He had knowledge of the forest and has healed everything from snake stings to broken bones. Sufi told me a story about a bull who’s leg was broken, and Ali Khan healed it. The bulled worked in the farms for ten more years and died. They dissected the leg to see hoe the broken leg was healed miraculously to find out that it had a joint like been wielded together.
The knowledge of this healer rests in hands of his son and disciples in this village.
The forest of Ulavi are rich in flora. As the black Panther, Bisons, deers, barasingha, Tigers and leopard find resting places in the canopies of the trees that reach the sky. The birds of the trees sing the songs that reminds of the silence.
There are many indeginous masala plants trees and herbs found in this region. Most special of all is the Dhup (gum trees secrets) is burnt on coal and used in many local rituals and pooja.
There are many caves near Ulavi, but this natural spring of water cought my attention to spend hours arround this place.
This places finds its inspiration in cow which is native breed of India and can still be found in many places of South India and Konkan region of Maharashtra to the Sri Lankan island country. This breed is short and grazes in the mountains unlike the Jersey and some cross breeds that are omni present in India Today.
From a religious place where Basavanna came wandering and settled, to the the dense forest and wisdom it has shared with the people of this place, Ulavi in need has marked itself on the map of this trip.
Very rarely I would dedicated a post to a travel experience. This happens to be the one.
The road ahead was indeed one on the most unforgiving terrains I have come across. Steep slopes and roads full of rock. Karina has shown and proven her strength to her limits. She is a strong old lady 🙂
I was tempted to spend the night here but could not resist the temptation to move ahead towards Ulavi, because of the stories I had heard about the place.
Night in Ulavi
To be frank when I reached Ulavi, it wa dark. And I thought that this is it, yet another religious place where people come in the day and return at night.
People rushing to and fro to the temple. The loudspeakers and strangers asking for liquor was what I was welcomed with to Ulavi village. My first thought about the place were like a this would be just another place which has seen deprivation of habitablity and hospitality due lack of percolation of rooted culture. But this was contradicted when I got out of the sleeping bag next morning.
After hoping arround from Gadag to Hubali I wen to Mundgod to experience Dzogchen in the Tibetan Settlement of Mundgod.
It is interesting to see how India as imported and accepted cultures of the world in the past. There are conflicts within the culture which again lead to more disruptions and evolution. Like Marks theory, where thought are in conflict with each other and the best of it survive through winning and symbiosis.
Land of India is fertile enough to welcome and let the cultures from the north and east to find grounds to survive on it. Tibetan settelment finding Refuge in South India is one of the most significant event in cultural history after Aryans and Mughals form the north and east respectively.
The Buddhism, that Padmasambhav took to the virgin platues and montains of Tibetan has found its was back to India. Mature and shining more than ever. And with it it brings the offsprings of the art, architecture and culture which was incubated in Tibet where Buddhist teaching were merged with Shamnic stories and rituals. The outcome is astonishing. The imagery which depicts mysticism and a lifestyle that banks in the uncertainties of life.
Mundgod was celebrating New year when I reached there. And guess what, beting with 100 rupees on the crate of cold drinks is how they celebtarted it. I had my own bet, which I lost 🤷♂️
But I bet to see how this new found soil to the Dzogchen might spread it’s roots in the roots of the land of it’s past. A one more jwell in the ornamentation of Indian beauty.
I felt welcomed and accepted by the Tibetan people. They have learnt our language and have an open heart. Most of the population in Tibetan culture is of monks and none of them failed to interact after striking a conversation. Felt home oo.
After spending a week in Badami, my journey took me to Lakkundi. An architect and good friend of mine Santosh Ramane insisted to visit this place for the research and I had to add it to the list. I am so glad I did.
Lakkundi was an extension to the stream of consciousness, while I was exploring the Chalukya architecture and artisanship. The temples of Lakkundi and Dambal have recently cought attention and they were to the mercy of locals who even till date use them. 101 temples and 101 wells is what they proudly proclaim while introducing Lakkundi. Only few of them come under control of the Archeological department.
As it should be, the people have evolved arround these temples making it intigeral part of there life style. And the temples involved with them. They have changed over time and I guess it is way better than vandalism.
There is constant change in culture, religion that influences the style and trends of the era. If the the usability of the the art is not lost, kept within the utilitarian realms, the art too evolved with the people.
Dambal is a very small village near Lakkundi. Which show the traces of colonisation. As I mentioned earlier, the colonisation in many parts of India has seperated the art from its people. Documentation and exhibition was never our way of experiencing art. The compounds arround the temple for preservation and conservation have ripped apart the art and religion. It has put these wise examples of India art into prison. The revolution stoped the evolution which lead to dormancy. I cannot imagine any other fate other than contamination.
I would like to state and example of Gadag to elaborate my point further. The Trikuteshwar temple of Gadag, has evolved over centuries under reign of Chalukya. There are layers of history to this architecture from 9th to 11th century. A disruption rather than interruption.
What I mean to say is that, every rulers that have ruled India, added to the glory and beauty of her art, architecture, food and culture. Accept for the intruder colonists, who created a void in the people, culture and there art. The only motion of intrusion was looting the country of its wealth and supplementing there own culture. I nothing against Brits, Portuguese and French 😆, but this journey has formed a quest to find a missing links in Indian art and reinstalling the Indianness. How it would have been if was not interfered with and was left alone to the beauty of evolution rather than revolution.
And too be frank, I don’t think preservation and conservation too make any sense. I hold nothing against the Graffiti lover who mark there thoughts on the ancient walls. This is how it should be. What meaning does the person standing in front of the artwork, canvas finds to be true. And anything that needs saving, is proved to be weak and bound to get distroyed.
Let’s build something new in these ruin of past, and let it fall again to become something else… Change is constant and let’s accept it.
Want to thank Kiran Guad (Studying theology) from Dambal and Manikkani (was associated with ASI and now an independent Guide and archeology enthusiast) who graciously showed me many things which would have been inaccessible otherwise. True Joy in this journey is to meet interesting people.
You will see all the caves in Badami. They are even numbered chronological, very hard to miss, no matter how inaccessible.
But what you might have to take an extra effort to see the rock paintings at the end of the mountain cliffs of the Badami Village. And the interesting thing about this paintings is that these are made by Homo Erectus, a Homo sapiens (our ancestors) like species from our genes which roam this land. Until we came and pushed them to brink of extinction. Some speculation also suggest that we interbred with them and absorbed them into our genes.
These paintings kept me pondering upon the context and language. The depictions of the animals and lifestyle and hunting seems to be the context of almost all the rock paintings depicted world wide. Art used to communicate the skills and noteworthy points essential for survival, which disurupted to the spirituality and art of being. Art has found its way to be what is through the vehicle of communication.
Visual art is a Medium of expression and more so ever it is a form of communication.
Any given language is to be understood by the context of the situation, and looking at the paintings of the past without knowing the context would be like judging them on the basis of visual information merely.
Like judging the verbal language by only it’s words. For instance “ich heiße Daigo” the literature translation would be I am called Daigo. Same is the case with the visual language, without know the context of the language it would be like judging it by the evidences of the words, objects when it comes to paintings.
Context prophels the story and story is what interest people. Sometimes life can depend on it.
These paintings have survived for thousands of years. They will survive until the nature decides on there fate. Some of them have already disappeared. I wouldn’t have liked to see them in museum, they look beautiful where there are. They are suppose to be there and hence there they reside. Puting them in a museum, or constructing some hideous structure arround it would take away the contexts of there existence. All we can do is enjoy them until they survive. Having said that I have just discovered an another layer to the story of disruption, from Homo Erectus to Sapiens, from Dravidians to Aryans.
After exploring Aihole for 3 days, I finally could find some reconciliation with Patadakallu. It took me another 2 days to explore the temple complex and places arround this Heritage site.
Aihole still being my first love on this Badami affair Patadakallu can be regarded as the step further of Aihole. The lines and reliefs of the Aihole seems like gaining more mass and form in Patadakallu. The word and sentences from the visual imagery of Aihole becomes a language in Patadakallu with the glory of more refined and three demonsional shapes.
There were multiple shapes and patterns on the pillars and columns of same temple in Aihole. The patterns are now seen to be woven in a theme at Patadakallu. Having said that the structure here also play out the drama of different cultures and influences like Dravid from the south and Aryans of the North.
Detoured in the farms near by.
I have found a keen interest in the figurines of Lajjagauri. These carvings, reliefs and sculptures are spread across all india. The interesting point of Lajjagauri is that she dates back even before inceptiona of god and religion.
Lajja is often interpreted as a shame in the case of Lajjagauri. But nudity was natural to land on of South Asia. I have seen depictions shyness until now, on this trip and no depictions of shame whatsoever in the sculptures seen so far. Infact the expression seems to be non existent in this land, until colonists asked us to bate there shame. Which disurupted the core identities of our culture.
Then the only rational interpretation I was left with is the modesty in identity of the figurine. The ego that we identify is dissolved. The lotus head represents the cosmic consciousness and birthing as creativity that accompanies the cognition. No wonder a female body, naturally abled to be creative and productive bares the responsibility of depicting the process of recieving, incubating and manifesting of a realised being.
Aihole came to my surprise. As an artist we always tend to explore the unfinished paintings of the European masters, or debate over the Salvatore Mundi been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci or his student.
India has a tradition of guru shishya parampara (master disciple tradition). And most of the knowledge that is shared was oral. It was stuning to see such a magnificent documentation of the “sharing of the knowledge” of 6th to 9th centuries.
I won’t give you details of the palces or feed with the historical information either. But there is something significant that you might miss on, if you don’t pay attention.
Look at the details on the sculptures of the temple. It certainly reflects the identities of the each and every artist who worked on them. At first glance it seems like they are portraying gandhrvas and gods in there art, but we cannot deny the fact that they had to take inspiration from the real life situations.
Aihole is a Testament of the naturalness in the culture in the Chalukya era. Women chit chatting, and lovers gazing towards each other, the gandhrvas striking the Stanze to impress the godess. Godess of the god who walked this earth from the imagination of artists and master visionary.
Morover the point to be noted is that this school of thought had acceptance for every flower in its garden. It was acknowledgement and naturalness in being that allowed the young, experienced and masters to work together from line towards mass and thoughts towards meanings. The zest to learn the device and technique which sees it’s fruition in the space where every body matters and becomes a matter.
Aihole is pinacle, where you get to see the open wounds of the art and architecture of India, it shows wonder which scars utterly fail to depict.
Acceptance of madness to such extinct that they had created a temple for the hucchi (mad lady) at hucchimalli gudi (temple where the mad lady lives). She lived and so the madness in the society and so the stupidity disrupts from realism to Oriental.
A breif note about the locales.
People of this village are very friendly and humble, and away from commercialisation inspite of Aihole being a tourist destination. Kids would ask for 10 rupees like a custom in Indian household; where kids are showered with ten rupee notes for sweets.
Even shopkeepers gracious point you towards other shops and hotels if they don’t have what you need. In my case it was non veg and Thumbs up!
Like every other culture who’s ruins saw the brink of modern world, most of the archeological structures are claimed by the locales. In the farms, alleys where children run half naked in the summer heat. Rest of it is reserved for the cattles.
The locales are lucky in many ways, they live and get to poop in the heritage site. It can be seen on every street and corner of this village. I have had my own anatomy class in the morning when I reach earlier than expected. Having said that mind your steps even in the heart of the durga temple where archeological museum is located. Watch while you walk, it can also be a meditative experience 🤷♂️
As I left Kolhapur, I knew I was leaving many things behind. Some intentionally and some otherwise. The apartment which I recently sold, to the street of desire and people walking on them. Embarking on the journey that would take me months to fulfill, I am humbled. May what come, me and my vintage 1983 Royal Enflied (Karina) are going to gallop on the streets and muds of this land spread on South of India; was the promise I made to myself. I Gently recalled a German Proverb shared by my friend Roberto on his Dehradun bike ride. “Wir sind nicht auf sucker” (We are not made of Sugar).
Adi hills near Kagal marked the end of Sahyadri and begining of the Dakhan (Deccan). Transition from province I know to the province I have heard off. From people I know to people I use to know.
Mudhol holds a special place in my heart. My grandmother and great grandmother were native to this place. Once a Marathi speaking province now takes no pride in any one language. I met man who spoke five. But still had only one advice, to get married and come with your family next time. Advice don’t change in any language I guess 😜.
The land has forgotten it’s king as the language of the past. Only one of the 10 people could point me towards the Rajwada (Royal Castle). The Ruins of the fort that once stood here are claimed by the locales and they have build there houses on whatever is left of the epicenter of a kingdom. The castle is a private property and nobody recognised the name Ghorpade when even asked to the people of adjacent compound.
Reached Badami to see Bail bazar (bull market) at it’s high beneath the raging Sun. It was beautiful to see how people were passionate about geting themselves a new pair of beast. The nature of purchase might differs in many ways, much from the scenes of bull marketeers of Dalal Street. But people like to know what they buy is the common fact. Life is flux still we are so connected to it…
World seems like Mesopotamia. It uses the resources arround and keeps on building. Brick by brick, city by city and culture by culture. It trembles to find the its way back to build something new on the ruins of the past.
कोल्हापूरला कलापूर म्हणून जागतिक नकाशावर घेऊन जायचे छत्रपती शाहू महाराजांचे स्वप्न भवानी सामाजिक संस्थे ला पूर्ण करायचे आहे. मराठी मातीची जाण आणि ओळख रोमारोमांत भिनलेले कोल्हापूर कायमच कला, साहित्य, चित्रपट या क्षेत्रांमध्ये अग्रेसर राहिलेले आहे. भारताला पहिला ऑस्कर मिळवून देणाऱ्या भानू अथय्या असो किंवा जगाला वास्तववादी चित्रपटांची ओळख करून देणाऱ्या तांबडी माती सारख्या कलाकृती या कोल्हापूरच्या माती ने जगाला दिलेल्या आहेत. आणि या कलाकृतींचा गाभा आहेत ते म्हणजे करवीरनगरीचे अनेक प्रतिभावंत कलाकार. महाराष्ट्राला अशा अनेक कलावंतांचा वारसा लाभलेला आहे ज्यातून अनेक कल्पना रुजून त्याची सृजनशील बीजं जगभर पसरली आहेत.
पण अलीकडच्या काळामध्ये कोल्हापूरची आणि महाराष्ट्रातील मराठी कलावंतांची परिस्थिती खालावलेली दिसते, त्यांची अवस्था मोडकळीला आल्यासारखी दिसते. सध्याचे कोरोना किंवा इतरही अनेक कारणे यासाठी असू शकतात, पण एक प्रमुख कारण म्हणजे कलाकार वर्गाला असणारा राजाश्रय किंवा दातृ वर्गाचा आश्रय. आणि पहिल्यांदाच कलाकारांवर आपल्या कलेला आणि पर्यायाने स्वतःला प्रतिष्ठा मिळवून देण्याची, आपली गुजराण करण्याची जबाबदारी आलेली आहे. एका अर्थाने ही जमेची बाजू असू शकते, कारण यातून कलाकार स्वावलंबी होणे महत्वाचे आहे. पण या पार्श्वभूमीवर कला क्षेत्राला बऱ्याच बदलांना समोर जावं लागत आहेत. पण दुर्दैवाने या बदलांचा पोत समजणे कलाकारांना कठीण जात आहे. कारण घडणारे सर्वच आंतरिक, सामाजिक बदल आर्थिक दृष्ट्या स्वावलंबनाकडे वाटचाल करण्यासाठी मदत करतात का हे बघणे काळाची गरज झाली आहे. मग यासाठी काय करता येईल असा प्रश्न चिंतेचा आणि चिंतनाचा होता. फक्त चिंतनाचाच नाही तर सन्मानाने स्वतःच्या बळावर स्वतः पोट भरण्याचा आणि जगण्याचा सुद्धा.
आपल्या मातीचे सुपुत्र डॉ ज्ञानेश्वर मुळे आणि यांच्या सोबतच काही विशेषज्ञ लोकांशी चर्चा करून भवानी सामाजिक संस्थेने ज्ञानेश्वर मुळे फाउंडेशनच्या चांगुलपणाच्या चळवळी बरोबर एक उपक्रम राबिवण्याचे ठरवले आहे.
याच्या पहिल्या टप्यात, कोल्हापूर, महाराष्ट्र आणि देशातील कला क्षेत्रात पूर्ण वेळ काम करत असलेल्या कलाकारांना एकत्र घेऊन एक नेटवर्क तयार करण्याचे काम सुरु झाले आहे. कलाकार श्रोत्यांशिवाय अपूर्ण असतो म्हणून त्यांची कला आणि प्रतिभा प्रेक्षकांपर्यंत पोहोचविण्याचं काम, विविध ऑनलाईन आणि हळुहळू ऑफलाईन प्रदर्शने आणि इतर बरेच उपक्रम, baramati.org या website द्वारे ही संस्था करणार आहे. त्याच बरोबर कलाकारांसाठी उपलब्ध असलेल्या स्थानिक ते राष्ट्रीय आणि आंतरराष्ट्रीय पातळीवरील, सरकारी तसेच बिगर सरकारी योजना, शिष्यवृत्त्या, फेलोशिप आपल्या मराठी कलाकारांपर्यंत पोहोचवणे; त्यासाठी त्यांना अर्ज करण्यासाठी मदत करण्याचे काम या संस्थेमार्फत आणि मुळे सरांच्या मार्गदर्शनाखाली चालू झालेल्या गिविंग बॅक मिशन तर्फे करणार आहोत. भरपूर सरकारी योजना आणि शिष्यवृत्त्या कलाकारांसाठी उपलब्ध असतात पण त्याचा लाभ घेतला जात नाही, कारण या योजना सामान्य माणसापर्यंत बऱ्याच कारणांमुळे पोहोचत नाहीत असे लक्षात आले. आणि म्हणूनच भवानी सामाजिक संस्था(Baramati.org) आणि गिविंग बॅक मिशन या कामासाठी पुढे येत आहे.
याच बरोबर, baramati.org एक सामाजिक उपक्रम म्हणून उभी राहत आहे. Crowdfunding द्वारे एक फंड गोळा करून त्या देणगी मिळालेल्या रकमेमधून प्रतिभावंत कलाकारांच्या कलाकृतीचा संग्रह करण्यास सुरुवात झाली आहे. यातून कलाकारांना आणि त्यांच्या कलेला योग्य आर्थिक मोबदला मिळावा आणि त्यांची कला सन्मानाने रसिकांपर्यंत जाऊ शकते. या कलाकृती बघण्यासाठी आणि त्याच्यावर चर्चा करण्यासाठी एक आर्ट स्पेस आणि खुले व्यासपीठ सगळ्या लोकांसाठी समर्पित करत आहोत. दीर्घावधी मध्ये या संग्रहासाठी पन्हाळा येथे आपली खाजगी जागा सुद्धा या उपक्रमासाठी सौ. सुमन साळोखे अध्यक्षा – भवानी सामाजिक संस्था) यांनी उपलब्ध करून द्यायचे ठरवले आहे. स्वातंत्र्यानंतरच्या काळात भारतात एकाही नवीन संग्रहालयाची बांधणी झालेली नाही. पन्हाळ्याला रिसॉर्ट किंवा हॉटेल बांधण्या बरोबरच असे काहीतरी उभारले तर, कोल्हापूर आणि महाराष्ट्राच्या कलाकारांना व्यक्त होण्यासाठी एक हक्काची जागा तर मिळेलच पण प्रेक्षकांना पण रसग्रहण करून आपल्या जीवनाच्या इतर पैलूंमध्ये सौंदर्यदृष्टी आणण्यास प्रेरणा सुद्धा मिळेल. हे या उपक्रमाचे उद्धिष्ट आहे. हे ठिकाण आंतरराष्ट्रीय दर्जाचे व्हावे, त्याच बरोबर स्थानिक आणि भारतीय कलाकारांना आंतरराष्ट्रीय कलाकांबरोबर या क्षेत्रात सक्रिय आणि सकारात्मक सभाग घेता यावा, यासाठी पण हे संग्रहालय समुदाय केंद्राचे म्हणजेच community hub चे काम करेल.
यासाठी शेवटी एक खूप महत्वाचे आणि कळकळीचे आवाहन मी वाचकांना करू इच्छितो. आधी म्हटल्या प्रमाणे कलाकार हा त्याच्या प्रेक्षकांशिवाय अपुरा असतो. आज कलेला लोकाश्रयाची गरज आहे. म्हणूनच आम्ही सध्या चालू केलेल्या funding campaign ला सढळ हाताने आर्थिक देणगी देऊन आपल्या शाहू महाराजांच्या कोल्हापूरला, कलापूर म्हणून परत नावलौकिक मिळवण्यासाठी सहभागी व्हा! आपल्या वाचकांमधील 1 लाख लोकांनी १०० रुपये इतकी जरी देणगी दिली तरी हा उपक्रम मोठ्या पातळीवर नेण्यासाठी आपली मदत प्रचंड मोलाची ठरेल.
Baramati.org एक सेवाभावी संस्था आहे, आणि याचा कुठल्याही राजकीय पक्षाशी संबंध नाही.
किंवा खाली दिलेल्या खात्यावर पण तुम्ही देणगी जमा करू शकता.
Virtual account name: artist with their livelihood – Milaap Account number: 2223330083979761 IFSC code: RATN0VAAPIS Bank name: RBL
या उपक्रमा शी संबंधित सर्व माहिती आम्ही Baramati. org या संकेतस्थळा वर उपलब्ध करून देत आहोत. अधिक माहितीसाठी आणि कलाकारांना या network चा भाग व्हायचे असेल तर पुढील क्रमांकावर नक्की संपर्क साधावा: 9764148789
मला तळ्याच्या काठी बसल्यानंतर खूप शांत आणि छान भासत होतं. मला आठवतंय मी पेंटिंगच्या तिसऱ्या वर्षाला शिकत होतो ‘इंटर’ ला. तेव्हा पासून मला पाणी आणि त्याच्यावर तरंगणारी कमळाची पाने आणि कमळ खूप भावायचे. आणि त्याच्या रंगामध्ये हालचाली मध्ये मी रमून जायचो. पाणी शांत आहे, अन त्याच्यावर हळुवार वाऱ्याच्या झोक्यामुळे मस्त हळुवार हालचाल करणारी ही कमळे, आणि त्याची पाने इतकी सुंदर वाटायची; वाह! तेव्हाच मी त्याच्यावर कविताही केल्या अन पेंटिंग सुरु केलं पण ते अपूर्णच राहिलं.
काही वर्ष गेली, आणि गेल्या वर्षी मी बुद्धाच्या मूर्तीकडे पाहिलं की मला तीच शांतता आठवायची. मग असा विचार आला की, आपण या शांततेचं प्रतीक, एक आठवण म्हणून दोघांना एकत्र घेऊ. पेंटिंग मध्ये दोन्हीही शांततेची प्रतीकं ‘पाणी’ आणि ‘कमळ’ असा एक छान निसर्गाच्या सानिध्यात गौतमबुद्ध आपली ध्यानसाधना करत आहेत असा विषय सुचला अन हे छानसं, एक अविस्मरणीय चित्र तयार झालं. आकाशाच्या सावलीत अन प्रतिबिंबामध्ये कमळाच्या विळख्यात शांत पाण्यात, शांत प्रतिमा खूप छान वाटलं अन पेंटिंग कडे पाहिल्यानंतर शांतता भासली.
अन तुम्हालाही शांतता मिळेल या चित्राकडे पाहिले की याचा मला विश्वास आहे.