Friday, 1 May 2020

Fascinating legends and tales in India

India is home to the most fascinating stories and myths and some of them come in forms of architectural wonders, monuments, even temples and schools.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Imagine a 6th century temple in the heart of South India, with half a dozen secret vaults hidden in its basements, hundreds and thousands of kilos of treasure inside each of these vaults; now imagine all of it to be true! Indian temples have forever been shrouded in supernatural and mysterious legends but nothing gets bigger than the legend of Vault B at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Located under the sanctum of one of the oldest and holiest Hindu temples, Vault B is one of the six vaults tucked under the sanctum of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and the only one that has never been opened. Believed to be protected by the mystical naagpasham (serpent noose), the vault, say locals, can only be opened by chanting the Garuda Mantra by a pious and siddha acetic. They also narrate tales stories of how, when the state was afflicted by a famine 100 years ago and the authorities had tried to force open the vault they had heard sounds of ocean waves crashing against its doors. Some claims say there was hissing of snakes too. The vault doors could ultimately not be opened. And so, while the temple remains a bustling centre of spiritual activity on the ground, the vaults underneath remain home to the supernatural.

Black Hole Monument, Kolkata, West Bengal

The one event that can be touted as the turning point in the colonial history of India is the Black Hole Tragedy. On the night of 20th of June 1756, after the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula, captured Fort William from the East India Company, a tussle broke out between the troops, following which the prisoners of war were locked by the Nawab in a dungeon. While the numbers are controversial, accounts say that the event caused 64 of them to die.

In the memory of those who perished British Governor General Lord Curzon erected a 15-meter high obelisk in 1901, which became controversial during the Indian Independence movement and had to be ultimately removed. Today the obelisk stands inconspicuously among other graves and monuments in the St. John’s Church compound in Calcutta of which Job Charnocs’s ornate Mausoleum and Lady Canning’s grave are most prominent.

Also Read: Heritage arts & crafts of India

Also Read: Unesco-listed world heritage sites in India- North and West

Khaba Fort & Ruins, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan


via Lonely Planet India

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