The internet is a definite boon for armchair researchers like me !! Quite often we do stumble on some unique puzzles in our quest to decipher the work of the ancients. One such task was to recreate the lost paintings of the Kanchi Kailasanatha temple.


We ran into quite a difficulty when we had to make out the minor forms especially the two figures found below the divine couple.


We wanted to be as true as possible to the original - but it was interesting to note that these two ganas - a male and a female dwarfs were in the scene at the first instance.


Possibly the first instance of a lady dwarf gana - an assistant to Parvati maybe?

Their iconographic significance was soon lost or so we thought, until Arvind shared this album of his capture of the beauties of Lalgudi

Though our main pursuit was in the narrative panels in the miniatures, there was one particular relief - dimly lit which had vague familiarity in it.


It was a relief of the divine parents albiet sans the skanda seated in the familiar posture - with a kneeling devotee on the right, two more on the top right and two more top left. Can you spot any attributes to assign them as Brahma n vishnu? Not clear. But the familiarity scene was played out at the bottom of the throne.


it would be difficult to date this panel as it does not fall in the early chola 9th-10th C CE scheme of narrative story boards. However, it is interesting that the sculptor chose to sculpt this dwarf couple in the same layout and postures.

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9 Comments so far


quite a few female ganas among Bhutamala, various temples

May 6th, 2013 at 18:53

a nice post…

May 7th, 2013 at 11:55

அன்பின் விஜய் - கல்லிலே கலைவண்ணம் காண்பது அரிய செயல் - ஆரவத்துடன் செய்து வரும் பணி சிறக்க நல்வாழ்த்துகள் - நட்புடன் சீனா

May 8th, 2013 at 6:10

nandri சீனா

May 8th, 2013 at 12:49

True Kathie - but these two as a couple do seem unique. vj

May 8th, 2013 at 12:49
Arvind Venkatraman

No. 12-A

(A. R. No. 120 of 1928-29.)

Lalgudi, Lalgudi Taluk, Tiruchirappalli District.

On the north wall of the Saptarishisvara temple

This inscription is dated in the year opposite to the fourth of some king whose name is not given in it. It registers a gift of money made by the Pallava king Nandippottaraiyar who fought and won the battle of Tellaru, for burning a perpetual lamp in the temple of Mahadeva at Tiruttavatturai in Idaiyarru-nadu. The amount was received by the members of the assembly of Nallimangalam who bound themselves to bring to the temple and measure out daily (one) nail of ghee.

As the other record (No. 12-B) engraved to close to this and dated in a similar way belongs to Maranjadaiyan alias Varaguna-maharaja, this may be also assigned to the same king.

(Published in Epigraphia Indica, Indica, Vol. XX, pp. 46 ff.)

No. 12-B

(A. R. No. 121 of 1928-29.)

Lalgudi, Lalgudi Taluk, Tiruchirappalli District.

On the north wall of the Saptarishisvara temple

This record of Maranjadaiyan, alias Pandyakulapati Varaguna Maharaja registers the gift of l120 kasu by the king for burning a perpetual lamp in the temple of Mahadeva at Tiruttavatturai Idaiyarru-nadu. The king is stated to have transmitted the gift through a certain Andanattu-velan and the money was received by the assembly of Ilamperunkayirukkai in Idaiyarru-nadu who agreed to supply one nail of ghee for burning the lamp.

The inscription is dated in the year 4 + 9 of the king’s reign and the details of date, viz., Dhanus, Sadaiyam (Satabhishaj), and Tuesday have been equated with 824 A.D. November 29, and the king is identified with Varaguna I

(Published in Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XX, pp. 46 ff.)

- We can safely consider the sanctum of the temple being constructed before Vijayalaya. This also pushes the miniature panel origins to later Pallava period.

Some of these are worth pondering.

May 9th, 2013 at 10:07

wow..good to see similar figures in different places. Definitely there should be some base for the painter/sculptor for these.

May 9th, 2013 at 15:05

thanks Satish. surely will keep exploring. rgds vj

May 10th, 2013 at 7:31

Very interesting Vijay to recreate and research and find similar figures at various places.

May 13th, 2013 at 16:17

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