Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hall of Heroes at the Mandore Gardens

I'm into folk tales and folk heroes. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of materials to find about North Indian folk stories in Manila. I should probably content myself with the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It's such a blessing then when, during my travels, I get to find places with attributions to these colorful, mystical stories.

Within the Mandore Gardens' compound stands a "Hall of Heroes", a decidedly guileless hall dedicated to Rajput folk heroes by way of a single piece of rock! Yes, a single huge rock has been used to carve out 16 figures dating back 17th to 18th century. The hallway is supported by white pillars. If you look at the roof, it's the same piece of rock displayed inside the hall. Such masterful work. How they were able to preserve this - when they've pretty much neglected the amazing rock terrace temples nearby - is also a wonderment.

These statues have been exquisitely conjured, coated with fine plasters, and painted with white or light brown (tan), a far contrast to the luridly painted figures of deities and Hindu Gods at the bigger hall (Hall of Deities aka Hall of Demi-gods) next to this hall. Earthy heroes, monochromes: check! Demi gods and Hindu deities, vivid colors: check!

In front of this hall is a grassy lawn with a shrub shaped like a camel and a solitary bench facing sideways. You could rest there but there's so many better places for introspection or relaxation in the compound than here.

It's an easy visit and it's free of charge! Nearby this simple building is a sparse working Hindu temple with few locals offering flowers and other stuff. It's comforting to watching people exercise their faith. We all have prayers to offer, and it's always an inspiring thought to know that people believe in a Higher Being. Otherwise, this sentient life is but an accident of nature. I'd rather not be one. I'd prefer my existence to mean something more than the vagaries of accidents.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Hall of Heroes

A single rock to carve 16 statues.

Ek Thamba Mahal at Mandore Garden

Secluded spot at the Mandore Gardens

The distance from Ek Thamba Mahal.


Ramakrishnan said...

Nice post.Liked the Ek Thamba Mahal & Hall of Heroes.Amazing stuff-16 heroes from a single piece of rock.

eye in the sky said...

Thanks, R. Too bad it was close for viewing. Should be even more interesting inside.