Escher was real. In India.

“At that moment the bottom fell out of Arthur’s mind. His eyes turned inside out. His feet began to leak out of the top of his head. The room folded flat about him, spun around, shifted out of existence and left him sliding into his own navel. They were passing through hyperspace.”

Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

If you thought M.C.Escher’s reality-twisting drawings were a by-product of his imagination totally irrelevant to Man busy with remodeling his terraced house, go through this gallery of Indian temples step wells by Victoria Lautman (and some Escher drawings), and think again.

I don’t remember when was the last time ancient architecture stunned me so much.


  1. Well, well.

    In the mid ’90s I was in Rishikesh and went to a Shiva temple in the hills. There were hundreds of people making the pilgrimage that day – from young men moving at a fast pace to old women in palanquins. The shrine (is that the right word) itself was a small room about ten or twelve feet square with a Shiva lingam stone in it and man sitting there. We filed in one door and out another, encouraged along by guards. It was over in seconds.

    But around the shrine was a huge temple complex. There was a river running right through it and we got to the shrine in mid air across a quadrangle open to the sky above, via a bridge encased with wire mesh at the sides and above, with guards with sticks standing on the mesh over our heads encouraging everyone to move along, move along.

    So there we were, up in the air on this bridge, like birds in a cage and I said to myself that it was like an Escher drawing.

  2. It reminds me, somewhat, of the Peach Tree Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Stairways going every which way. Rather disorienting to some degree. The Indian temples are another amazing engineering feat – Ajunta, Ellora, Ranakpur etc.

      1. There is so much to see that it would take years to do. Mumbai is close to Aurangabad where you could see the caves of Ellora and Ajunta. We have some friends who are Jains so they wanted us to see Ranakpur and Mount Abu. Put it on your to do list.

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