During our AstaVinayak (Eight Sacred Ganapati Temples) tour, we stopped at a roadside eatery in rural Maharashtra. After a simple meal (roti & sabzi for us, yogurt and rice for Meera), I ambled over to the village square.
The Devi temple in lavender/pink stood out. As I walked around taking pics, I noticed this father and daughter resting behind the temple. Even though the father is sitting away from his daughter, his body language tells you how much he dotes on her. You see? Love how she is relishing that banana – the simple joys. Notice her silver anklets and hair tied in two “jutus”. Reminds me of baby Meera.
The mother was standing right next to her (see this pic taken a few seconds earlier), but I thought the father-daughter made a better opener. Agree?
Two Hero Stones flanking the steps to the temple. These were traditionally carved to honor villagers fallen bravely in battle. The stones typically depict the person in service of Shiva (notice linga in top panel), battle and other scenes. This region of Maharashtra saw some brutal massacres by the Muslim hordes of Alauddin Khilji in the 13th century. Conflict continued for the next 200 years as the Muslims tried to consolidate their powers in the Deccan. These stones likely pay tribute to some of the fallen heroes.
Crudely carved stone in front of the temple. Methinks this is a Sati Stone. Considering the nearby hero stones, it is likely this too was from the times of the Muslim conquests (12th – 15th century). A couple of women committed Sati near here. Before they walk onto the pyre, they would dab their feet (and hands) in vermillion and make prints in front of the temple. Family members would later etch these in stone. It is common to see similar hand prints. While I am glad that practice has ended, we should remember the sacrifice and courage of these women. This practice of sati was started by the Maharani Padmini of Chittor. After their capital had fallen to the Muslims, rather than be forced as brides of the invading Muslims, en masse the women jumped to their deaths. Later women took to immolating themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands, rather than be taken to serve in a harem.
A few stones in a sleepy village tells us so much. As I walk back to the bus, bullock carts loaded with sugarcane creaked and groaned their way to a nearby sugar factory. See more pics of bullock carts transporting sugarcane.
My Posts from Rural India:
- Transporting Sugarcane by Bullock Carts
- Sugarcane Fields: Making Jaggery
- Peanut Farm in Karnataka: Thankful for those who toil
- Precious Kids we met in Karnataka
- Fresh Raagi Flour
- Cashew Nuts: To Your Health
- Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers