Category Archives: Myths and Legends

The Mouth of Truth, Rome

La Bocca della Verità, or the Mouth of Truth, is a marble sculpture located in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin church in Rome, Italy. The circular disc has a face carved with open eyes, nose, and mouth.

The mouth of Truth
Dare to Lie?

The origin of the sculpture is unknown. Some say it was a drain cover while others assert that the face in the sculpture is of the God of the sea—Oceanus. There’s also an account claiming that it was used as a drain pipe to drain the blood of the sacrificed cattle.

The allure of the sculpture is due to the medieval myth associated with it. If you have watched the movie, Roman Holiday, then you might be familiar with it. (And if you haven’t watched the movie yet, do watch it. It’s really a beautiful movie.)

The sculpture was used to ferret out the liars. If you speak a lie with your hand inside the disc, the mouth is supposed to snap shut cutting off your hand.

Hordes of tourists, who visit Rome put their hand in the sculpture’s mouth to test out the theory.

At the La Bocca della Verità

You guys know me—I always speak the truth, and nothing but the truth 😀 So, I had nothing to prove. But I had gone to Rome with my parents, and it’s always better to have outside testimony about your honesty 😛

Reasons you should check out the Mouth of Truth when you visit Rome:
  • The peculiar sculpture is worth looking even without the myth.
  • You definitely want a picture of you with your hand inside the sculpture’s mouth. Such memories are the reason we carry cameras.

So, when you visit Rome, do check out La Bocca della Verità.

Have you visited Rome? Do share your experience with me.


Sahasralinga, Karnataka

When you go on a family trip, there’s always a conflict of interests among the younger, and older members as to which places to skip, and which we shouldn’t. To my surprise, all my relatives had a consensus about Sahasralinga—a must see place. It had a direct effect of piquing my curiosity.

The moment we arrived, I rushed over to the river Shalmala. One glance at the waters left me entranced. Scattered among the clear gushing stream stood hundreds of lingas*, and accompanying Nandi** each carved out of the rocks on the river bed.

Sahasralinga, Sirsi
Sahasralinga: carved lingas in the Shalmala river bed.

The name Sahasralinga means a thousand lingas. As per History, Sadashivraya the King of Sirsi built the Shivlingas in the 17th century (Info courtesy: Wikipedia)

Sahasralinga: small lingam
Unlike other Shivlingas, this lingam had a temple-like structure around it.

The Legend:

The Sirsi King had no children. He approached the Sadhus for advice. They suggested the worship of Shiva, and constructing 1001 Shivlingas to obtain His blessing.

Accordingly, the King ordered the construction of Shivlingas in Shalmala river bed to appease the deity.

Sahasralinga, Karnataka
Due to low water level at the time, we got a good view of the stone lingas.


Sahasralinga is located on the way to Sirsi from Yellapur, and is around 17 km from Sirsi Taluka.

Best time to visit:

Since, I visited in January and had a pleasant time, it is the definitely the best time to visit Sahasralinga. According to Dreamroutes, winters and early summers are the best times to visit the place.

*Lingas is the plural form of Lingam. Lingam is the representation of Shiva. Though you might find idols, and pictures of Shiva in his human form, lingam is the form in which Shiva is universally worshiped.

** Nandi—the bull is considered as the mount of Shiva.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday.

Shri Mulkeshwar temple

Mulkeshwar santuary

Shri Mulkeshwar temple is a small sanctuary located behind the Mangeshi temple, Goa.

The legend of Shri Mulkeshwar:

The Mangeshi temple was earlier in Cortalim. After Portuguese invasion, the  Shivalinga was shifted from Cortalim to a province under a Hindu prince to avoid desecration.

In this area, a boy worked as a cowherd. During those few days, one of his cows stopped giving milk , and disappeared every evening. The young cowherd followed the cow to find its destination. To his surprise, the cow poured all its milk on a stone. The stone was dug, and the present Shivalinga was discovered.

Hence, the Mulkeshwar  temple was built with Mulki or Mukto as the founder. His statue with his cow  lies behind the shrine. He was a Bidi smoker. Therefore, devotees offer Bidis to grant their wishes.The temple authorities have appointed a person to light these Bidis.

Sharing with: Our world Tuesday// Wordless on Tuesday (at image-in-ing)

Mythological water creature #5- Mermaid

Mythological water creature #5
Image Courtesy: Charuhas Acharya @ A glimpse of paradise

Thou rememb’rest
Since once I sat upon a promontory
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
– William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Continue reading Mythological water creature #5- Mermaid

The legend of Dona Paula

Dona Paula is a secluded bay where the two major rivers of Goa, Mandovi and Zuari meet the Arabian sea. Initially, the village, Oddavell, was named Dona Paula after the historical figure, Dona Paula de Menezes. It is one of the most popular and romanticised place in Goa with a beautiful view. There are numerous collections of ghost stories about Dona Paula. On moonlit nights at the stroke of midnight, she rises from the sea wearing a string of pearls and nothing else. Various legends are associated with this story. Continue reading The legend of Dona Paula

Mythological water creature #4 Lernaean Hydra

Lernaean Hydra is a water beast from Greek mythology. Hydra had reptile like traits and possessed many heads. If one of its head was cut, it grew two more in its place.

Hydra has poisonous breath and is so venomous that even its tracks are deadly. It is supposed to guard the entrance to the underworld. Hmm,underworld really seems to have better security arrangements.

Mythological water creature #4
Lernaean Hydra (Hercules and his battle with hydra)
Artist : John Singer Sargent

Image: Courtesey Wikipedia


Mythological creature of water #3 Charon, the ferryman

Charon- ferryman of the underworld
Depiction of Charon by Alexander Litovchenko.
Image: Courtesey Wikipedia

Charon is a mythological ferryman who ferried the dead into the kingdom of dead across the river Acheron and Styx. He only ferried those who had been buried with coin in their mouth. The coin in the mouth was supposed to be a bribe to induce Charon to ferry them to the underworld. Lack of this toll for Charon would lead to a worse fate of isolation on the bank of river Styx for eternity. Wow, money is such a necessity even after death and I thought bribery works only in this world.

River Styx
River Styx

Mythological water creature #2 Bäckahästen

Bäckahästen is a mythological brook horse derived from Scandavian folklore. Celtic folklore also describes shape-shifting horses called kelpies. Bäckahästen could be a kelpie parallel. He is a beautiful white horse which appears in foggy weather to lure people to climb his back. After that, he gallops away and the rider is unable to get down. Bäckahästen just jumps into the river drowning the rider in the process.

Mythogogical creature of water #2
Bäckahästen/Brook horse

Image: Courtesey Wikipedia

Mythological water creature#1 Ashrays

The origin of Ashrays can be attributed to Scottish mythology. Ashrays can be male or female. They are completely translucent water creatures. Ashrays also known as Asrais or water-lovers are often mistaken for sea ghosts. Next time, when you look into clear waters try looking for Ashrays though only during the night. Ashrays are nocturnal creatures. If you manage to capture one, keep the Ashray away from sunlight unless all you want is a puddle of water.