Today we are going to look at some unique pillars from the amazing Srirangam temple. The temple is the foremost among temples for Vaishnavites and has been the centre of the spiritual movement of Lord Vishnu ‘ The Preserver’. The temple has various legends associated it with and for viewers who are interested to read more, below site has an excellent account.


The temple has such has undergone many restorations and has been the beneficiary of many a generous endowment. One such later addition is the pillared hall - an artistic wonder and a treasure trove of intricate stone work.

Lets analyse just two of these splendid pillars. The entire composition of these pillars is stupendous with every inch of space covered with miniature sculptures..such intricate work on this scale and complexity..with no margin for error in the hardest stone is a living tribute to the mastery of the craftsmen. We would look at these in more detail in subsequent posts.

sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail1.JPG
sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail212.JPG
sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail213.JPG

The main plot in the two pillars is what we are to see in this post. Take a minute to drink in the beauty of these two pillars.

The artist has chosen two widely varying themes for these two adjacent pillars. The first one is obviously a hunting scene and shows a mounted hunter ( what a wonderful despiction of a rearing horse ..and its splaying hooves)…he is spearing a leopard ( watch the spear piercing the jaw and coming out of the side

sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail11.JPG
sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail111.JPG

….a foot soldier and his assistant are shown under the rider….the foot soldier is thrusting his broad sword into the animal ( it too has been sculpted to pierce the flesh and exit in the back …the foot soldier is shown having a shield …to see more clearly you got to switch to the other side of the pillar, where another foot soldier is thrusting his sword into the leopard….what a splendid work in stone with each trust passing through and exiting the other side.

The second pillar is a puzzle

sri rangam ranganathswamy pillar detail2.JPG

it shows well built man carrying a lady on his broad shoulders …..but surprisingly he is being stabbed from behind in his thigh…what does this depict….we need to go closer to the pillar to study this….so wait for next post….

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Category: Sculpture

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 at 16:13 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

5 Comments so far

Sumathi K


Really it was wonderful work done by you. It shows how they showed their talent.

No words to appreciate.

Thanks for your effort.

And keep up the good work.

Sumathi K

June 11th, 2009 at 16:35
Saikumaar Nagarajan

Vijay- had spent a good part of the last 2 hours finding this post :) I had browsed through the archives earlier, and the photo of the man carrying the lady stuck in my mind. I was visiting Avudayar koil recently, where I saw the exact same sculpture in one pillar, minus the guy stabbing from behind (i.e. strong armed man and hirsute man, carrying a lady on his shoulder, with the lady forming a similar sort of a covering on top of her head). One of the archakas of that temple told me that it was a depiction of Madurai Veeran carrying away Bommi. I immediately remembered this post of yours. I see that you had mentioned about clarifying about this sculpture in your next post - unfortunately I dont see this. I would be delighted to know your take on this sculpture and also the Avudayar Koil archakar’s version.

January 3rd, 2013 at 17:08

Yes, Saikumaar Nagarajan - will post the full tale shortly - so much to do and so little time…vj

January 11th, 2013 at 15:47

Great job is being done by this website… Thanks.

January 30th, 2014 at 11:28

Great job is being done by this website. Thanks.

January 30th, 2014 at 11:29

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