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Kangra painting : timeless echo from the hills

 

     The valleys and hills of the Lower Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India is beautiful and inspiring. Nature’s beauty echoes here in greenery and cool scenery. The Pahari school of Indian painting flourished here during the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the different schools, the Kangra style is very famous and well known. The erstwhile Kangra princely state is majorly responsible for the development and flowering of the style. Sometimes Pahari school is used synonymously with the Kangra style though there are many variations ! Kangra painting has its  This style uses a lot of green and other refreshing colours.  The painters used colours from minerals and vegetal sources. The distinctive feature of this school is its emphasis on naturalistic images, greenery, flora and fauna.  The paintings are full of the shringara rasa (beauty and eroticism),the sense of lyricism is very evident in the paintings and soothes the eye and heart of the viewer. The love between Lord Krishna and Radha as described in Gita-Govinda, episodes from Lord Krishna’s life : Bhagavata Purana, the Nala Damayanti story, Barahmasa of Keshav Das have been the themes. The Sat Sai of Bihari Lal depicted Radha-Krishna in an architectural setting. Nayak-nayika bheda is also a theme of these paintings. One can recognise  a Kangra painting by some unique characteristics. Excellent greenery in different shades and vegetal forms like trees, creepers are all seen. There is an amazing attention paid to detail. Women are depicted as soft and beautiful, with sharp beautiful facial features. Night scenes with thunder and lightning are also found. The paintings have a sense of serenity found among the hilly valleys and greenery. Naturalism is at its peak in Kangra paintings.

       The origin of Kangra painting happened in the state of  Guler in the Himalayan valley during 18th century under Raja Dalip Singh who ruled 1695 to 1741 A.D. He gave shelter to Kashmiri artists at his court who were trained in Mughal style. The style was immortalised by the works of the sons of Pandit Seu, the celebrated Nainsukh( 1710-1778) and his older brother Manuku. who worked actively 1725 to 1760 at Guler. The style evolved to include Mughal elements and new local idioms. The early Kangra paintings were mostly portraits made during the reign of Ghamand Chand( ruled 1761-1774 A.D) made mostly by Gaudhu, son of Nainsukh.

    Kangra painting grew under Maharaja Sansar Chand (1775 to 1823). He occupied the Kangra Fort in 1786 and was a powerful king. Being an ardent devote of Lord Krishna, he patronised the artists who painted Radha-Krishna and the portraits of their masters. The Kangra style originated at Guler but later evolved its own freshness and character by depicting Shiva-Parvati, Radha-Krishna among other themes. Nainsukh’s sons were part of the atelier of Sansar Chand; Kama,Gaundhu,Nikka and Ranjha. They worked at Guler, Basohli, Chamba among others. Maharaja Sansar Chand annexed part of Chamba teritory in 1794 by defeating Raja Raj Singh. He defeated the Rajas of Sirmur, Mandi and Suket; the Raja of Guler, Prakash Chand became his vassal. In course of time however the enemies of Sansar Chand instigated the Gorkhas to attack Kangra who laid siege to the fort in 1805. The artists abandoned Kangra and his atelier was disturbed forever. He could not retain his fort and territories and had to shift to Tira-Sujanpur where he tried to revive the art. and some artworks were created. However the previous energy seemed to have got diluted and Sansar Chand  became a legend and patron of one of India’s iconic art forms. Kangra had been under the Mughals till 1786 and under the Sikhs from 1810-1846. At Nurpur, paintings were mostly done during the rule of Prithvi Singh (1735-89) and Bir Singh (1785-1846). Thus the principal centre of Pahari (of the hiils) painting was the Kangra valley; under the patronage of the rulers of Guler, Kangra and Kings of Nurpur. Later the artists migrated to Mandi, Suket, Kulu, Tehri Garhwal, Basohli and Chamba and Bilaspur.

A scene as described in the Gita Govinda by Jayadeva:

kaliya-visha-dhara-bhañjana
jana-rañjana e
yadukula-nalina-dinesha
jaya jaya deva hare 

O Deva! O Hari! You pulverize the pride of the venomous snake, Kaliya. You fill the hearts of your dearest ones with endless joy. You are the sun that makes the lotus of the Yadu dynasty bloom. May you be triumphant! May you be triumphant!

Kaliya's wifes and Krishna. Kangra c.1785-90. Painting of India.JPG

Kaliya’s wives and Krishna, painting, Kangra, c.1785-90.

By Ismoon (talk) 22:02, 24 February 2012 (UTC) – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18487484

     Another scene as described in the Gita Govinda by Jayadeva:

meghair meduram ambaram vana-bhuvah shyämäs tamäla-drumair:
naktam bhéru rayaàm tvam eva tad imam, rädhe gåham präpaya |
ittham nanda-nideshataha calitayoù praty-adhva-kuïja-drumaà
rädhä-mädhavayor jayanti yamunä-küle rahaù-kelaya: 

The sky is thick with clouds; the forest area is dark with the tamala trees; the night frightens him (Krishna); Oh Radha! you take him home; This is the command from Nanda.  But, Radha and Madhava stray to the tree on the banks of river Yamuna, and their secret love sport prevails.

Krishna with flute.jpg

                                 Krishna with flute, painting, circa 1790 and 1800.

By Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Gallery – Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Gallery[1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2439033

Marriage of Parvati and Shiva, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, First half of 19th century.tiff

                    Marriage of Parvati and Shiva, painting, first half of 19th century.

By Firedrop – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27694651

Radha celebrating Holi, c1788.jpg

Radha celebrating Holi, painting, c.1788.

By Anonymous – Victoria Albert Museum [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4175518

Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana at the Hermitage of Bharadvaja Page from a dispersed Ramayana (Story of King Rama), ca. 1780.jpg

Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana at the hermitage of Bharadvaja,page from a dispersed Ramayana, 1780.

By Kangra workshop – Page from a dispersed Ramayana (Story of King Rama),http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1976.15, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17104952

Rama Returns in Victory to Ayodhya, Pahari, Kangra, Fitzwilliam Museum.jpg

               Rama returning to Ayodhya, Pahari, Kangra, painted between circa 1780                                                                           and  circa 1790.

By Anonymous – The Fitzwilliam Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60015055

File:Damayanti Looks in the Mirror, Folio from a Nala-Damayanti LACMA M.83.105.6.jpg

Damayanti looks in the mirror, folio from a Nala-Damayanti, Kangra, circa 1790

File:Krishna Talks to Radha's Maidservant, Folio from a Satsai (Seven Hundred Verses) of Bihari Lal LACMA AC1999.127.5.jpg
Lord  Krishna talks to Radha’s maid, folio from a Sat-sai  of Bihari Lal, Kangra, circa 1825.

 

 

References :

 

Posted by :

 

Soma Ghosh

 

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Goddess Rati : images in art

        Rati, daughter of Prajapati Daksha is the Hindu goddess of love and sexual desire. She is an embodiment of beauty and is the consort of Kamadeva and is also his assistant. Rati is not only beautiful but sensual enough to mesmerise the God Kama.

     There are many legends associated with Rati. She has been depicted along with Kama in temple sculptures. Her birth has been mentioned in Kalika purana.  Kamadeva has been created by Lord Brahma, one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity, through his mind, after he created the 10 prajapatis. Daksha is a prajapati. Lord Brahma asks Kama to shoot love arrows in the world and Daksha is to present the wife to Kama. However Kama fires his arrows to the other prajapatis who get attracted  to Sandhya, daughter of Lord Brahma. Lord Shiva sees them as he is passing through. They feel  embarassed  and  from Daksha’s sweat rises a beautiful maiden called Rati whom he presents to Kama as his wife. However Kama requests for forgiveness  and Lord Brahma relents telling that he will be resurrected.  As per the Brahma Vaivarta purana , Sandhya commits suicide and Lord Vishnu resurrects her marries her to Kama calling her Rati. But the Shiva purana says that Rati is born after the suicide of Sandhya as Rati from the sweat of Daksha.

Kama (left) with Rati on a temple wall, Chennakesava Temple, 12th century, Belur,Karnataka.

By Philip Larson from McLean, VA, US – DSC04788, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10990487

Rathi-Goddess of Love.jpeg

Rati on peacock vahana, sculpture, India.

By Ravindraboopathi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18537775

Rati on composite horse.jpg

Rati on composite horse, painting, 1820 and 1825.

By Unknown – http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O404808/painting/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15380213

       As per legend Tarakasura had created havoc in the universe and only Lord Shiva’s son can stop him. However Lord Shiva has turned ascetic after the death of his consort, Sati. In order to infuse love into him again Kama is asked by the Gods to shoot love arrows at him. Lord Shiva gets attracted to Parvati (Sati reborn) but burns Kama to ashes. At this Rati goes berserk. In the Puranas the legend continues that Parvati promises to redeem Kama as Pradyumna, Lord Krishna’s son after seeing Rati’s penance.

File:Kamdev.jpg

Kamadeva, handcoloured engraving, 1820’s.

 By Frederic Shoberl [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

       Another legend in Skanda-purana says Sage narada provoked the demon Sambara to kidnap Rati. Rati would have insulted Sage Narada at one point. Sambara takes Rato to his house but cannot touch her as he might burn to ashes. Rati becomes a kitchen-maid and she is called Mayavati. Another legend has it that Sambara will die at the hands of Kama and so she waits for him to come. Sambara knows about this, steals Lord Krishna’s and Rukmini’s child and throws him into the ocean. A fish swallows him and the fish lands in Mayavati’s kitchen. Mayavati raises the child; sage Narada conveys that he is Kama reborn and that she is actually Rati. As the child grows the motherly love changes to passinate love of a wife. Mayavati narrates the entire story and trains Pradyumna who slays Sambara and they return to as a couple to Dwarka, capital of Lord Krishna.

File:1876 sketch of Kama and Rati relief at Kailash temple Ellora Caves Maharashtra.jpg

Kama and Rati, sketch of relief,1876, Kailasanatha temple, Ellora Caves, Maharashtra.

By Ms Sarah Welch [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

        As per Hindu Tantra , the Goddess Chinnamasta, one of the mahavidyas  is depicted cutting off her own head and standing on the couple Kama and Rati who are locked in a sexual embrace. This entire depiction is understood in different ways. It can be understood as asymbol of control of sexual desire or that the Goddess is asymbol of sexual energy.

File:Bengali Chinnamasta.jpg

 Goddess Chinnamastā, coloured woodblock print, 19th century.

See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • Wikipedia.org

 

© author

 

Peacock in art : images from sculpture

       The peacock is a charming, graceful bird. It has magnificent tail feathers and a curved blue neck. The tail feathers can be opened up into a resplendent display when the bird dances. It is one of nature’s most splendorous sights. The peacock is the National Bird of India. it is a popular art motif in India since yore. In Sanskrit the bird is called mayura and In Hindi, mor.  Zoologically the bird’s name is Pava cristatus and it  is from the family of pheasants, quails, partridges and snowcocks.The peacock has a fan-shaped pretty crest which adds to its beauty. A peacock’s forelimbs are modified into wings and two hindlimbs are for general mobility. The male has the ornamental tail feathers called train  consisting of upto 150 feathers !

Related image

A peacock feather.

      The female is called peahen and is smaller in size.  It is a plain brown bird without the train. Fully white peacocks too are there but are bit rare. The peacock rejoices on seeing the clouds and is often called meghananda. Found mostly in South Asia and Far Eastern Asia. Peacocks have been depicted in India since Harappan times. The peacock is India’s favourite bird in the Rigveda. The peacock was a favourite among the Indus Valley people, peacock has been depicted in folk literature too! Peacock was the totem of the Mauryan rulers, a word derived from mor or mayura.  and has been found on  stones used for the palace of Chandragupta Maurya. The peacock is an important component in the Jataka tales.

   Peacock is found at the railings of the Bharhut Stupa dating to 1st century B.C, now seen at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. the northern gateway of the Great Stupa at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, from 2nd-1st century B.C depicts peacocks in pairs with their long tails. There are many sculptural depictions of the peacock across India across centuries.

File:017 Maya on Lotus, Couple on Horse, and Peacock (33772351266).jpg

Peacock motif, Great Stupa, Sanchi, 2nd to 1st B.C, Madhya Pradesh.

By Photo Dharma from Sadao, Thailand (017 Maya on Lotus, Couple on Horse, and Peacock) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

   The peacock is associated with Lord Kartikeya or Murugan as his vehicle or vahana. Lord Murugan is the Commander-in-chief of the Gods in Hinduism. He vanquishes Tarakasura. To achieve this Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) gave his son, the peacock to him. Lord Shiva gave him a locket and  Indra gave him a string of pearls. The other gods gave him different powers. Agni gave him a shula  or spear, Brihaspati gave him a danda or club, Ganga gave him a kamandala (pot for water).

Kartikeya depicted on his peacock in upper left, on a Nataraja relief on Temple 1; Ganesha in upper right corner, Parvati in lower left and a musician is in lower right, Jageshwar Temples, Uttarakhand, 7th-12th century .

By Nitin Sharma – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28550582

File:6th - 8th century Hucchimalli Gudi Temple in Rekhanagara style, Kartikeya on peacock, Aihole Hindu monuments Karnataka.jpg

Kartikeya on peacock, Hucchimalligudi, 8th century, Aihole, Karnataka.

By Ms Sarah Welch [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

File:An exquisitely carved peacock in the Abhaneri temple of Harshat mata.JPG

Abhaneri temple, 7th/8th century, Rajasthan.

By Arpita Roy08 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

File:Maiden with peacock in Kolaramma temple at Kolar.jpg

Kolaramma temple, Kolar, 11th century,Karnataka.

By Shailesh.patil [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

File:12th-century Kama Artha Dharma Moksha relief at Shaivism Hindu temple Hoysaleswara arts Halebidu Karnataka India 5, lower panel shows musicians and dancing peacocks.jpg

Lower panel of relief depicts musicians and dancing peacocks, 12th-century, Hoysaleswara temple, Halebidu, Karnataka.

 

By Ms Sarah Welch [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Image result for peacock images sculpture

Jaisalmer Palace and Fort, 12th century, Rajasthan.

By Schwiki [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

File:Le temple de Chennakesava (Somanathapura, Inde) (14281162159).jpg

Chennakesava temple, Somnathapura, 13th century, Karnataka.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France (Le temple de Chennakesava (Somanathapura, Inde)) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Friezes in Lakshminarasimha temple at Javagal.JPG

Lakhsminarasimha temple, Javagal,13th century, Karnataka.

By Dineshkannambadi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

 

File:PeacockAndSnake 01.jpg

Achyutaraya temple,Hampi, 16th century, Karnataka.

By Vu2sga [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • Peacock in Indian art,thought and literature/Krishna Lal, New Delhi : Abhinav Publications, 2006.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

@author

 

Saptamatrikas in art : some depictions

      The concept of the Saptamatrikas or Seven mothers have existed since the Indus valley civilisation. Seals have been found with seven feminine deities. The seven mothers find mention in the Rigveda, the Puranas and the Mahabahrata.

         By the fifth century they came to be called as Tantric Goddesses. The Mahabharata describes them as dark in colour and staying in ”peripheral areas” and that they are associated with Skanda or Kumara, son of Lord Shiva. They later came to be associated with the sect of Lord Shiva himself. Their sculptural representation in the 1st to 3rd century happened in stone. During the Gupta period(3rd to 6th century C E) folk images of the matrikas were made. Later rulers made Skanda as their model and the foster mothers became”court goddesses”. Many dynasties devoted rock-cut sculptures to the matrikas. Like at Parhari in Madhya Pradesh. Temples of the Western Ganga dynasty (350-1000 A.D) and sculptures of the Gurjara-Prtiharas (8th to 10th century A.D) and Chandella dynasty (8th to 12th century), Chalukya dynasty (11th to 13th century A.D). Initially the matrikas were considered dangerous but later took on a protective role. They are mostly depicted in lalitasana posture.

       According to a legend the matrikas were created to assist Lord Shiva in a battle agianst Andhakasura as per the Isaanasivagurudeva paddhati. The matrikas are the powers of the associated devas. In Shaktism they are believed to have assisted the Devi in her fight against demons like Raktabija.  The saptamatrikas are Brahmani,Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Indrani.

Statues of Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Camunda, National Museum, New Delhi.jpg

Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda, National Museum, New Delhi.

By Nomu420 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32743578

Brahmani : She is four-headed and has yellowish complexion with vahana or vehicle of a hamsa/swan. She represents the power of associated deva Brahma. She holds a rosary or noose and kamandalu (water pot) or lotus stalk or a book.She is also shown seated on a lotus with the hamsa on her banner. She wears various ornaments and is distinguished by her basket-shaped crown called karandamakuta

Vaishnavi : From Vishnu; is described as seated on Garudaand having four or six arms. She is depicted holding Shankha (conch), chakra (Discus), mace and lotus and bow and sword or her two arms are in varada mudra (Blessing hand gesture) and abhaya mudra (“No-fear” hand gesture). Like Vishnu, she is heavily adorned with ornaments like necklaces, anklets, earrings, bangles wearing a cylindrical crown called kiritamukuta.

Maheshwari : From Shiva; Maheshvari is depicted seated on Nandi (the bull) and has four or six hands. The fair complexioned, Trinetra (three eyed) goddess holds a trishula (trident), damaru (drum), Akshamala (A garland of beads), panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull-bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets, the crescent moon and jatamakuta, a crown formed of piled, matted hair.

Kaumari : From Skanda or Kumara;the god of war. Kaumari rides a peacock and has four or twelve arms. She holds a spear, axe, a shakti (power) or Tanka (silver coins) and bow. She is sometimes depicted six-headed like Kumara and wears the cylindrical crown. In Tamil Nadu, Karumari Amman is a favored deity.

 

Varahi : From Varaha; the boar-headed form of Vishnu or Yama – the god of death, has a boar head on a human body and rides a ram or a buffalo. She holds a danda (rod of punishment) or plough, goad, a vajra or a sword, and a panapatra. She wears a crown karaṇḍa mukuṭa with other ornaments.

Chamunda Chamundi and Charchika is the power of Devi (Chandi). She is very often identified with Kali and is similar in her appearance and habit. The identification with Kali is explicit in Devi Mahatmya. The black coloured Chamunda is described as wearing a garland of severed heads or skulls (Mundamala) and holding a damaru (drum), trishula (trident), sword and pānapātra (drinking-vessel). Riding a jackal or standing on a corpse of a man (shava or preta), she is described as having three eyes, a terrifying face and a sunken belly.

Stone sculpt NMND -34.JPG

Chamunda, sculpture.

By Daderot – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11384120

Indrani : From Indra; the Lord of the heaven. Seated on a charging elephant, Aindri, is depicted dark-skinned, with two or four or six arms. She is depicted as having two or three or like Indra, a thousand eyes. She is armed with the vajra(thunderbolt), goad, noose and lotus stalk. Adorned with variety of ornaments, she wears the kiritamakuta.

     Another eighth Matrika is Narsimhi or NarasimhikaPrathyangira, and Atharvana Bhadrakaali, is the power of Narasimha (lion-man form of Vishnu). She is a woman-lion goddess who throws the stars into disarray by shaking her lion mane. Ashtamatrika is revered in Nepal.

File:Saptamatrikas.JPG

Saptamatrika panel, National Museum, New Delhi.

By Rohini (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Matrikas Cave Temple Aihole India.jpg

Matrikas Temple, Aihole, Karnataka.

By Benjamín Preciado Centro de Estudios de Asia y África de El Colegio de México (Trabajo de Campo 1977) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Vaishnavi and Varahi fighting asuras (demons),folio from a Devimahatmya,Sirohi, Rajasthan, 1675-1700.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ellora Caves, Matrikas (15170218669).jpg

Saptamatrika, Ellora (Cave 21),Maharashtra.

By Leon Yaakov from Tel Aviv, ISRAEL – Ellora Caves, May 2012, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37357560

Matrkas.jpg

Mantra ratnakara decipting Matrikas, Wood and multi-layered paper,Nepal.

By NA – Freer Gallery [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2804473

Nepal, saptamatrika, xi sec.JPG

Saptamatrika, Nepal, 11th century.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12403566

Terracota statue of Saptmatrikas from Maurya Period, National Museum, New Delhi.jpg

Saptmatrikas,terracotta, Maurya period, National Museum, New Delhi.

By Nomu420 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32740370

The Seven Mother Goddesses (Matrikas) Flanked by Shiva (left) and Ganesha (right).jpg

Saptamatrikas flanked by Shiva on the left and Ganesha on the right, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, U.S.A, 9th century.

By Ms Sarah Welch – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44761691

Goddess Durga leads the eight Matrikas in battle against demon Raktabija. Folio, Devi Mahatmya, Nepal, 18th century.

By Unknown Nepali – Source: LACMA[1]. Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. Original uploader was Redtigerxyz at en.wikipedia Transfer was stated to be made by User:Giggy. 2007-07-11 (original upload date), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3351664

 

References :

 

Posted by :

 

Soma Ghosh

 

©author

 

Temples at Melkote : abode of legends

       Melkote or Melukote is in the Mandya district of Karnataka, about 50 km from Mysuru in Karnataka, in South India. Another name for Melkote is Thirunarayanapuram. The town is on hills Yadugiri, Yaadavagiri and Yaidushiladeepa. The temples are ancient and  the area was under the Vijayanagara rulers. The Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple and another temple Yoga Narasimha temple is on the hilltop. Srivaishnavaite saint Sri Ramanujacharya stayed here for 14 years in 12th century. The Cheluvanarayanswamy temple is a square temple dedicated to Cheluvanarayana or Thirunarayana.  The presiding deity has many legends surrounding it. it is believed that Lord Rama and generations of kings and Lord Krishna and generations of kings have worshipped the deity.  This image which was lost was recovered by Sri Ramanujacharya who worshipped in the shrine. The temple has a collection of jewels which are brought out from Govt. custody during the Vairamudi festival every year.

       The  Cheluvanaryanswamy temple is richly endowed, having the patronage of the Rajas of Mysore. In 1614, King Raja Wodeyar I (ruled 1578–1617), who first acquired Srirangapatnam and accepted the Srivaishnava priest as his guru, handed over to the temple and to the Brahmins at Melkote, the estate granted to him by Vijayanagara Emperor Venkatapati Raya. While that estate was lost when Zamindari was abolished in the 1950s, the temple still possesses many properties and valuables, in particular an extremely valuable collection of jewels. On one of the pillars of navaranga of the Cheluva Narayanaswami temple is a bas-relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar, standing with folded hands, with his name inscribed on the base. He was said to have been a great devotee of the presiding deity and a frequent visitor to the temple. A gold crown set with precious jewels was presented by him to the temple. This crown is known as the Raja-mudi (royal crown), a play on the name of Raja Wodeyar, the donor. According to legend, King Raja Wodeyar was last observed entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord on the day of his death, and was seen no more afterwards. From the inscriptions on some of the gold jewels and on gold and silver vessels in the temple it is learnt that they were presents from Krishnaraja Wadiyar III and his queens. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also presented to the temple a crown set with precious jewels. It is known after him as Krishnaraja-mudi. The Vairamudi, the diamond crown, is older than  Raja-mudi and the Krishnaraja-mudi. However, it is not known who presented it to the temple.Tipu Sultan had donated elephants to the temple.

         The Yoga Narasimhaswamy temple on top of the hill is dedicated to Lord Yoga Narsimha. As per legend the image was installed by Prahlada himself. There is large pond at the temple. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III of Mysore presented a gold crown to Lord Yoga Narasimha. The images depicted show the beautiful  sculpted gateway and sculptures at the temples on the vimana and  pillars.

Melukotetemple.jpg

Yoga Narasimha temple, Melkote.

By Philanthropist 1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13254334

File:Lion carving in melkote.jpg

Carved lions, Melkote.

By Sbblr0803 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsFile:Melukote- Gateway.JPG

Gateway, Rayagopura, Cheluvanarayanswamy temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

File:Melukote- Sculptures of the beautiful dancers.JPG

Sculpture, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Yoga Narasimha.JPG

Yoga Narasimha Temple, Melkote.

By Vedamurthy J (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Close up view of the decorated vimana of Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, Melkote.jpg

Vimana, Chevulanarayanaswamy temple, Melkote.

By Bikashrd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Ornate pillars in a mantapa in the Cheluvarayaswamy temple at Melukote.jpg

Carved pillars, Cheluvanarayana temple, Melkote.

Dineshkannambadi at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Melukote- Sacred Tank.JPG

Temple tank, Cheluvanarayaswamy temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Melukote- Sculptures at Cheluvanarayana Temple.JPG

Pillar, Cheluvanarayana temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • The Narayanswami temple at Melkote/ Vasantha, R, Mysore : Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, 1991.
  • wikipedia.org

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

Panchatantra in art : some depictions

           Panchatantra literally means five treatises. It is an ancient collection of animal fables. The animals have human virtues and vices. The original text is believed to be in Sanskrit prose and verse.  It has been dated to 300 B.C  and attributed to Vishnusharma, an octagenarian Brahmin who is mentioned in the prelude of the text of many translations that are available. Some sources mention Vasubhaga as the creator of the inter-related animal fables. The illustrations depicted below show some fables from the sub books of the Panchatantra.

Panchatantra manuscript, The Birds Try to Beat Down the Ocean, watercolor on paper, Rajasthan, India, 18th century. 

By Artist/maker unknown, India (18th century) – Philadelphia Museum of Arts: http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/results.html?searchTxt=panchatantra, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61455723

        The Panchatantra has been widely translated into as many as 50 languages across the world. Most European versions of the text are derivative works of the 12th-century Hebrew version of Panchatantra by Rabbi Joel. In 550 A.D it was translated into Pahlavi by Burzoa. In 750 A.D an Arabic translation Kalila wa Dimnah was done by Abdullah Ibn-al-Muqaffa. In the 12th century a Persian translation by Rudaki was titled  Kalileh-o-Damneh. In the 15th century Anwar-i-suhayli in Persian by Kashefi was done which was known as The fables of Bidpai in European languages. It was translated into English by Arthur Ryder in 1925.

18th century Panchatantra manuscript page, The Elephants Trample the Hares picture.jpg

Panchatantra manuscript, The elephants trample the hares, watercolour,18th century.

By Artist/maker unknown, India (18th century) – Philadelphia Museum of Arts: http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/results.html?searchTxt=panchatantra, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61455729

     The Panchatantra is for the learning of niti or appropriate moral conduct by three ignorant princes. The Panchatantra consists of five parts, each having a main story. Each story contains sub-stories. The titles of the sub-books are Mitrabheda, Mitralabha, Kakolukiyam, Labdhapranasam and Apariksitakaram.

Mitrabheda is the story of Damanaka who is an unemployed minister in a lion’s kingdom. Along with Karataka he conspires and breaks up aalaiances of the king. The book has over 30 fables.  Mitralabha is a collection of the adventures of a crow, a mouse, a turtle and a deer. This book focuses on the importance of friendship and alliances. It has ten fables.

8th century Panchatantra reliefs at Mallikarjuna temple, Pattadakal Hindu monuments Karnataka.jpg

Panchatantra reliefs, Mallikarjuna temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka, 8th century.

By Ms Sarah Welch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

     Kakolukiyam is  a treatise which focuses on war and peace. It points out that a battle of wits is more powerful than a battle of swords. it has 18 fables. Labdhapranasam is a compilation of ancient fables full of moral teachings. It is a guide on what not to do. It has 13 fables in the translation by Arthur Ryder.  Apariksitakaram  is acollection of moral filled fables. The characters are human beings. It has 12 fables in the translation into English by Arthur  Ryder. The stories are titled The loss of friends, The lion and the carpenter, The unteachable monkey, The monkey and the crocodile among many others in the five sub books.

8th century Panchatantra legends panels at Virupaksha Shaivism temple, Pattadakal Hindu monuments Karnataka 2.jpg

Panchatantra panel, Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka, 8th century .

By Ms Sarah Welch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 ‘Panchatantra’ relief ,Mendut temple, Central Java, Indonesia.

By Original uploader was BesselDekker at nl.wikipedia – Transferred from nl.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Shreevatsa using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5836212

A page from the 18th-century Panchatantra manuscript, Rajasthan India.jpg

Panchatantra manuscript, Rajasthan,18th century.

By Artist/maker unknown, India (18th century) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

References:

 

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

 

Vijayanagara art : glimpses from Tadipatri

         The term Tadipatri means palm-leaf. It is a place in the Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, south of India. Tadipatri is famous for its awesome Vijayanagara temples with their style of art and architecture. Tadipatri came into prominence during Vijayanagara period. It was flourishing village during Chalukyas of Kalyani period. Vijayanagara kingdom was founded in 1336 A.D by brothers Harihara and Bukka when they declared independence from the Delhi Sultanatate. Tadipatri was developed by Nandela Viraraghavaraju. During the rule of Devaraya II Pemmasani chiefs emerged. The earliest member was Pemmasani Thimmanayudu who might have joined Vijayanagara service during Virupaksha period of 1460-85. His three sons were Ramalinganayudu, Yera Thimmanayudu and Chinna Thimmanayudu. The Bugga Ramalingeswara Swamy temple was built by Ramalinganayudu, a shrine of Lord Shiva on the bank of the River Penna, between 1490 and 1509, after he succeeded his father in governance of Yadikisima. He was a notable chief under Krishnadevaraya (1509-29).

       The temple is built of granite, richly carved with the superstructures in brick and stucco. Schist stone has been used like the Hoysala temples.  Schist has been used in the gateways. The temple complexes at Tadipatri are well developed having  a main shrine and a devi shrine each with an open rangamandapa. The main shrines in this temple complex are of Ramalingeswara, Parvati and Lord Rama. The other smaller shrines of Chandesa and Virabhadra are to the north and south of the Ramalingeswara shrine.  Closed  mandapa with porches in cardinal direction is seen in the Ramalingeswara temple. The temple complex has a prakara   with gopurams to the south, west and north. There is a mandapa  having the navagrahas in the north-east and at the south west corner, there is a kalyanamandapa.

 

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

 

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

 

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Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple complex, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

       The main shrine stands on adishthana , has a mukhamndapa with porches on south and north sides, antarala and the garbagriha. The temple has rich sculpture in the niches, pillars and walls. The images of Lord Shiva include Kevalamurti in the gopura.  Also images as Sukhasanamurti, Dakshinamurti, Uma-maheswaramurti,Vrsabharudamurti, Natarja,Ardhanarimurti and Bhiksatanamurti. Chandeswara is seen in a small shrine north to the main Ramalingeswara temple. The gopuras depict Parvati seen in sambhaga  adorned with jewellery; the kiritamakuta,chandrakundala, kuchabandha,girdle and purnoruka.  Lord Ganesha is seen in diffrent forms of Sthanakamurti and Nrityamurti  or Dancing Ganesha. He is also  seen as Yanakamurti or the riding form. He is seen as asanamurti or in a seated form.

Temple view, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh.

    The Ramalingeswara temple has images of Kumara or Lord Murugan (Kartikeya) riding a peacock, standing or in seated position. Goddess Durga is seen depicted in the Gopura in various forms. Lord Brahma, Goddess Saraswati , Surya are also depicted. The saptamatrikas  Brahmi,Vaisnavi,Indrani, Chamunda, Maheswari,Kaumaari and Varahi are seen in the open mandapa. 

    Lord Vishnu is seen seated on adisesa in the Ramalingeswara temple. Lord Vishnu riding on Garuda is depicted at the north gopura of the temple. Goddess Lakshmi is is depicted on the north gopura of the the Ramalingeswara temple. There is a shrine dedicated to the 12th century reformer, Ramanuja. A tall figure in the southern gopura of a noble is of the builder with a tall conical cap and short waist cloth.

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

          The temples at Tadipatri have upapithas. The wall pattern shows bays and recesses. Doorjambs have two or three  jambs, the broad jamb has salabhanjika sculpture. Ceilings are like a grid with coffers with lotus medallions or a  dome having three tiers and a big pendentive. Bas reliefs are mostly found at Tadipatrit temples. In the niches smaller deity figures have been placed.

File:Decorative carving,bugga lord vishnu temple,tadpatri AP - panoramio.jpg

Carvings on ceiling, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

Image result for tadipatri temples

Carvings, North gopura, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

           Hoysala artistic  influence is seen in the sculpture;  similar motifs, kirtimukhas, floriate arches etc. There is resemblance in the jewellery depictions too.  Facial features have similar prominent eyeballs and high eyebrows. The art at Tadipatri bears resemblance to the Chennakesava temple at Pushpagiri. The temple depicts contemporary life depicting wrestlers, warriors, shepherds,hunting scenes, monkeys and horses.

File:APSARA MURAL TADPATRI TEMPLE AP - panoramio.jpg

Carving of salabhanjika, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

 

References :

  • Temples of Vijayanagara/Jayaprada, V, Delhi : Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 1998.
  • wikipedia.org

 

All Image attributions

 

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author