The Beholder


The grandeur of the stone structures, the glorious sun and the heavenly clouds overwhelms very being that passes through the gates. In front of my eyes rose the structures that I religiously dreamed of visiting last year. Then, it was all in my mind, the life that it must have witnessed. And now, I stand in front of them, the sun-kissed stone pavements urging me to enter the complex of the primitive temples. I couldn’t catch sight of my most favorite, it was on my right hiding from my sight, awaiting to take my breath away. The nearby structures seemed to add on to its beauty. Well, I could keep the best for the last. A smile adorned my face.

I walked around the whole complex with my camera at constant work. The whole place had a sense of sacredness to them. The lighting, the arrangement, the sculptures. All of it screamed attention. Walking straight to the oblong shaped structure in front of me, I took it all in. The plinth was at a higher height than mine and I craned my head up. Climbing up the steps to the adisthana, I was welcomed by pillars that sported different figures on either side. Those very poses of the subjects of the carvings gave the pathways its rightful splendor. As I walked through them, they stopped me to share their story. And I stood there mesmerized, listening to it all.

I walked across photographing different structures, finally reaching the temple that I waited for. Lad Khan Temple. And I was right about it, it took my breath away. I walked towards it, forgetting about my camera until later.

Photo of The Beholder 1/2 by Azna Parveen

Ascending the stairs, entering through doors, I reached a place that was etched into my mind since the day I learned about it. I stood there for a few seconds, drinking it all in. The little stone hut, the verandah with its stone seating, the pillars that seemed to divide it all, yet brings in a connection, the roof that brought in a sense of security, the little shikhara that tells us the story of endurance. The interior was simple- just a square divided into two concentric ones by pillars. There sits a Nandi (the bull) in the middle of the room. These pillars have a story of their own. They beckon me near. They whisper their story to the winds and I sit down listening to the winds that danced around the block. These pillars served for a temple, served for a prince. Here in this, once lived a prince. The embracing breeze, the lingering silence, the welcoming pathways, all of it seemed to await his arrival. A prince whose mysteriousness evokes in me a deep feeling of curiosity and helplessness. You will just have to settle in with this, my whisper echoes around. Etched into these walls are numerous stories. Stories of lives yet, the prince’s seem to stand out of it all. I imagine it all sitting here. The gloriousness in his entry, the simplicity of his life, the mysteriousity of his story. I looked around. Little patterned openings that would have shielded his life from the outside eyes. The sheer thought of him sitting on the stone blocks that I sit on now, seems enthralling. It was all in here. The pillars that witnessed his life. The stones that still have his smell. The roof intricately carved, looking down at me smiling silently, just like it did hundreds of years ago. I walked around the room, feeling its essence, sharing its life, breathing in its splendor. And I have a very bad habit of falling in love with historical characters.

Photo of The Beholder 2/2 by Azna Parveen