As noted in Bhajan singing 1 and 2, the warmly dressed singers from the Rama Temple are singing songs of praise to Vaishnava deities. Women and men sing together in these groups.
As noted in the description for Bhajan singing 1, audience members as well as singers are wrapped in woolen shawls enjoying the devotional songs in the winter night air.
Magnificent banyan tree near Sona Bai's well.
This Chaitya Hall or place of assembly for monks and pilgrims is adorned with figures of amorous couples across the top, gandharvas and apsaras over the balcony doorway, and bodhisattvas at door level. All of these figures are auspicious symbols, appropriately adorning a place of religious practice. A popular destination for school field trips, children learn about the early history of these sites.
Under a banyan tree, a short walk from the Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, is an abandoned tank known as Sona Bai's Well. Sona Bai, the daughter of a Hindu leader is said to have told Muntajib al-Din's servant that she would only allow him to draw water from her well for the saint if his master could turn the tank's water into gold. She was making fun of Muntajib's name, "giver of gold." However, when her message was relayed, Muntajib told his servant to place his handkerchief in the tank after drawing water. When the water did indeed turn to gold, Sona Bai converted to Islam and became a lifelong disciple of Muntajib al-Din.
This is a contemporary ceramic object with a fluid green glaze that pools and catches on the texture of the surface, creating a strongly accented surface that is related directly to form and the process by which the piece was formed. The color, the "accidental" flow of the glaze across the heavily textured surface, the white glaze that is said to cover the inside of the piece, and the casual irregularity of the form, are all references to the style of historic Oribe-ware. -- Roger L. Watson and Margaret Dornbusch funds, 2005.52 -- [A parenthetic observation: photographs and images of works of art can be very misleading. This box, in fact, is perhaps 6 or 7 inches long, yet, in this image, it could easily be mistaken as being a much larger sculptural object. Without something to indicate scale, it may be very difficult to judge the actual size of an art object from an image of the object.]
The Ellora Caves complex contains caves carved and used by Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus. The twelve Buddhist caves at Ellora were excavated over a 500 years period extending from the second to seventh centuries CE. These caves were used by monks who would have been supported by pilgrims and local people. All the Ellora Caves are now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Singers from the Rama Temple in Ellora sing devotional songs (bhajans) to Rama, Krishna, and other Vaishnava deities. Accompanying the singers are musicians playing the harmonium, hand cymbals, and drum. As this gathering was on a cool January evening (2003), the singers are wrapped in woolen scarves and sweaters.