Its not often you get blessed thrice in the same day. It was my wife’s birthday and we happened to be in Tanjore and first stop @ big temple( for her - me and Arvind had already been to Pullamagai in the morning!!). Pushed our luck by calling Kudavoil Balasubramaniam Sir, and such a humble person that he is, he immediately came to meet us and gave us a guided tour of Periya Koil.


We have already seen the Dhakshan beheading panel and the Kama Dahana panels previously.

Shiva cuts off the head of his father in law

Shiva burns the lord of love

The current panel is a sequel to those. Shiva has been convinced to come back to becoming a householder and Dhaksayini has been reborn as Uma - the daughter of Himavan, the King of the Mountains. Maybe the only verse i remember from Sanskrit class is atha osadhinaam athipasya vrithow !!! from the Kumarasambava. Not sure if the current story is found in Kalidasa’s version, but it loosely follows the rendition in the kantha puranam ( though a later work to the sculpture).

The background plot is simple, Himavan is convinced by the seven Rishis sent by Shiva and agrees to give his daughter to Shiva. Now comes the tough part, to convince his wife - Menai. The Queen, being what any mother would be, comes over to take a look at the bridge groom for the first time, expecting him to come dressed in all his finery and flanked by the very best in the procession.

Lets see how Shiva turned up for his marriage procession - keep in mind current day baraats - the festivities , revelry and sarees, sherwanis, jewelery and money that are on display- the bridegroom in a designer sherwani on a majestic white horse, with an assortment of pretty looking women and boisterous men , equally decked up.


Here he is, wearing his elephant skin trunks, with his horde of Ganas, on his bull. There is a pet snake thrown in as well, rearing up form his left hand as he nonchalantly turns around to pose for the camera !!


What a shock it would have been to the welcome party. No wonder, the future mother in law Menai panicked


She is already scared for he known for taking the heads ( brahma, dhaksha) , she refused to accept that this uncouth youth could be her son in law.

Finally, Brahma, Vishnu, Narada all came and explained the actions of Dhaksha that led to his downfall and the mighty grace of Shiva to have restored him to life albeit with a Goat’s head. The marriage does take place and finally - ALL IZZ WELL in Kailash - and ready for the birth of Kumara !!


A big thanks to Kudavoil sir. But Sir, has explained this sculpture differently in his latest book, will see it shortly.

Leave a comment »

Category: Sculpture

Tags:  , , , , , ,

Related Posts:

Read this in தமிழ்தமிழ்

This entry was posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010 at 14:21 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Comments so far


very nice :)

August 13th, 2010 at 14:34

Hi vj,
Nice panel indeed. I recently finished the Kumarasambhava and unfortunately I did not see this ant mention of Mena (Menai) being disturbed on arrival of Shiva in such an attire. However I have also heard this story however can’t recall whether in reference to Uma’s marriage or Sati’s marriage.

August 13th, 2010 at 14:59

hi saurabh,

The ref is in a tamil work, which i have given in the tamil version- the work though kandapuranam is a later period work.,


August 13th, 2010 at 15:03
Parvadha Vardhini

This is very nice! Seeing this just remembered the story of Sundareshwarar, wherein Lord Shiva comes well dressed with beautiful ornaments and silk clothing and a crown for marrying Meenakshi. What a contrast! :-)

August 13th, 2010 at 16:13

Another story in stone.

August 13th, 2010 at 20:34
Kathie B.

Nice clear explanation and photos. Didn’t know
that Mother-in-law had to be convinced, also.
You’d think after ending up w a ram-headed husband, she’d get the idea. Like your humour, too.

August 14th, 2010 at 4:33

thanks annapoorna

August 14th, 2010 at 18:23

hi vardhini, nice analogy., will post on that as well shortly

August 14th, 2010 at 18:24

hi kathie, welcome back. yep, scary…

August 14th, 2010 at 18:24

Very well explained. Normally in our temple visits either the focus gets alienated or there is none to explain the intricacies.

August 14th, 2010 at 19:35

very nice.. அவரிடம் இல்லாததா?? உள்ளதை கவரவில்லை அய்யா… ஈசன் அவள் உள்ளத்தை கவர்ந்தார்… :D

August 16th, 2010 at 19:56

Leave a Reply

Name (required)(*)
Mail (will not be published)(*)