Happy new year 2013 to all readers and we start the new year with an amazing miniature from a little known but beautiful Siva temple in Srimushnam.

Thanks to Pradeep Chakravarthy the new year begun with a trip to Srimushnam with expert scholar Dr. Marxia Gandhi . There were many highlights to the trip but to start with let me show you the rarest…

As we finished visiting the Boovarahaswamy temple and walked around to the Siva shrine…a massive brick wall welcomed us - we were not expecting such a large premises.


( second image is from Sri Rajendran - Raju’s temple visits

One look at the main shrine was enough to pump energy into the tired legs - an early Chola temple.


But the highlight was….before that, a short introduction .. its been on my mind ever since i saw the article ( in tamil) in Varalaaru.com


The description of 3 adult elephants playing mid wife to mother as she delivered her calf was etched into my memory. From then on have been on the lookout for a similar sculpture. So, to my utter surprise and delight, a small decorative column found in-between the Devakostas seemed to be vaguely similar.


The sculpture was so small which accentuated its beauty.


The centre swirl was the one that had caught my attention. Initially apprehensive if it were depicted something else naughty, on closer inspection it did reveal its true intent.


Thanks to Raghavendra Prasad for quickly making a sketch for us to understand better. The way the mother is shown as holding on to the creeper border design with her trunk is scintillating.


These two depictions follow a pattern - where one of the mid wives seem to man the front, the middle one is maybe assisting in constricting the stomach or holding the mother up on her legs and the third one seems to hold up the tail for easy exit ! It would be interested to compare any study or footage in the wild and know if this does happen so in the wild as well.

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Category: Sculpture

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 15:21 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


There’s a similar assisted elephant calving in the Vaikunta perumal temple in Kanchi, on the inside of the gopuram.

January 11th, 2013 at 17:33

There’s a similar assisted elephant calving in the Vaikunta perumal temple in Kanchi, on the inside of the gopuram. I’ll email a photo.

January 11th, 2013 at 17:33
Ravi Venugopal

Thanks for bringing this to life!

January 13th, 2013 at 8:28
AYyampet J.Balachandran

அன்பு நண்பரே!
தங்களது “யானைக்கு பிரசவம்” ஒரு அருமையான பதிவு. முனைவுர் நளினியின் உரைவீச்சும் மிகவும் அருமை.
Ayyampet J.Balachandran

January 13th, 2013 at 19:52

யானை என்றதும் ஓடோடி வந்தேன். அருமையான பதிவுக்கு நன்றி. ஸ்ரீமுஷ்ணம் பெருமாள் கோயிலுக்கு அவசரம் அவசரமாகப் போனோம். சரியாப் பார்க்கலை. சிவன் கோயிலுக்குப் போகவே இல்லை. :(

January 14th, 2013 at 13:38

Very good post with different subject.
Zoology and Maternity in Stone. Nice you have captured this theme.

January 17th, 2013 at 10:41
S. Gurumurthy

There is a similar pannel on the base of an elephant delivery in the Thirubhuvanam temple. It is also unfortunate that a water tap is located right above this pannel with a cement base almost coveing this pannel. Close by is another pannel which shows a lady brest feeding an elephant calf, to show that the mothermilk alone gives you the strength of an elephant. I had seen this about 10 years back and also photographed, I do not know the present condition

January 18th, 2013 at 18:17

dear Sri Gurumurthy, I checked my collection in Tribuvanam but cannot locate., if you do have please share. anbudan vj

January 20th, 2013 at 20:01

nandri dhivakar saar. anbudan vj

January 20th, 2013 at 20:02
rhoda alex

great post vj …. why was this a design motif to be depicted i wonder ?
here is a link to a footage of en elephant biith in wild. There is a lot of jostling !!!

January 24th, 2013 at 13:21
Prasanna Vengatesan

Super விஜய்,
நீங்கள் மிக அழகாக சிற்பங்களை ரசிக்க கற்றுக்கொடுக்கிறீர்கள். ஸ்ரீமுஷ்ணம் சென்று வந்துளேன். ஆனால் அப்போதெல்லாம் இப்படி ரசிக்க தெரியாது. உறைத்ததுமில்லை. மீண்டும் செல்ல தூண்டுகிறது இந்த இடுகை. உங்களுடன் REACH Foundation குழுவினருடன் ஓணம்பாக்கம், செய்யூர் போய் வந்ததில் இருந்து உங்களுடைய இடுகைக்காக காத்திருந்தேன். மிக்க நன்றி. அருமையான பதிவு.


January 26th, 2013 at 15:44

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