I wanted to go to Nara to see Todai-ji and Toshodai-ji temples. Todai-ji was a natural choice as Nara’s main attraction, while Toshodai-ji interested me as a presumed birth place of bonsai in Japan (although there is hardly any evidence of that). After visiting Todai-ji, I abandoned my Toshodai-ji plans in favor of visiting Shosei-en bonsai nursery. Todai-ji was majestic. Image above right shows Todai-ji’s main attraction - the Great Buddha Hall. Image below left shows the Great Southern Gate, while image below right shows the gate to the Great Buddha Hall complex.
The temple had a lot happening that day. There were processions, performances and lots of worshipers (images below).
There were a couple of interesting accessories outside the Great Buddha Hall. One of them was a very fine joss stick urn with beautiful patina (below left). The other is a large and very ornate lantern (below center). I was especially intrigued by one image on the lantern, which bore a remarkable semblance to Hindu deity Krishna (below right).
The Great Buddha Hall was as impressive inside. Images below show the giant idols housed inside it (left to right): Komoku-ten (Guardian of the West), Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), Daibutsu (the Great Buddha), Tamon-ten (Guardian of the North). All except Buddha are Hindu deities incorporated into Buddhism.
In retrospect, I wish I spent more time exploring Todai-ji grounds.