Archive for September 25th, 2009

In the previous post, we saw stylistically the earliest and latest somaskanda images.

Today, we are going to see why the Somaskanda Panel in the Dharmaraja Ratha is the earliest available panel of this form.

Lets take a look again at the Somaskanda panel from the Dharamaraja Ratham and the sketch.

Somaskanda dharamaraja ratha
somaskanda dharmaraja ratha

To compare it with say a typical Rajasimha style Somaskanda - we have a beautiful almost perfect specimen from the Rajasimeshwara Temple in the shore temple complex ( the shore temple is a complex shrine comprising of an earlier Vishnu shrine buttressed by two shiva shrines - the Rajasimeshwara and Kshatriyasimeshwara shrines - the Kshatriyasimeshwara too has a Somaskanda but we will see that in a subsequent post)

shore temple rajasimeshwara somaskanda
shore temple

A sketch to assist you in finding the differences. Lets see if you can point out the characteristic differences between the two Somaskandas.

A further twist to the various puzzles that abound in Mallai, the Ramanuja Mandaba is the most complete of the structures but due acts of vandalism - its like a slate that’s been wiped clean. Someone has chiseled out the door guardians, the three relief panels inside as well.

ramanuja mandabam mallai
vandalised somaskanda outline ramanuja mandabam mallai

But as they say no crime is perfect, the chiseled out panel does leave an outline. The central shrine clearly shows the outline of a Somaskanda

anotherview of ramanuja mandabam ss outline
ramanuja mandabam ss outline

Lets try and trace that and see what style is it - the Dharamaraja Ratha style or the Rajasimeshavara style.

somaskanda outline ramanuja mandabam mallai

To assist you, i am giving some additional outlines of the Shiva and Umai sides of the Dharamaraja Ratha Somaskandar

shiva dharamaraja ratha somaskanda panel
umai - dharmaraja ratha somaskanda

Hope you dont need any further clues. Lets test your observations skills.

Images courtesy:

Varalaaru.com. and Mr Ashok

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