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Posts Tagged ‘ellora’


The caves of Ellora are a sculpture enthusiasts delight. Not only for the sheer effort but also the detailing for the relief sculptures. Today we are going to see a very unique sculpture from Ellora Cave 21.

Its that of Karthikeya

karthikeya

Photo credits:
http://www.elloracaves.org/search.php?cmd=search&words=&mode=normal&cave_name=21

This is a fantasitc sculpture of Karthikeya - he is depicted standing in Samabhanga ( straight profile) with his right hand resting on his hip ( a pose that is called Katyavalambita )

karthikeya

Originally the sculpture was four armed, but has sufferred much damage. The second right hand ( upper) is totally gone. While the second left hand ( upper) is gently holding his peacock mount. The lower left hand seems to be holding a kind of pot or vessel. He wears the Yagnopavitha and some heavy jewellery across his neck - his elaborate crown is also a sight to watch.

His mount the peacock has lost its head to time, but identification is easy with its wings clearly being displayed, though the legs are a bit stout ( to be strong enough to carry his Lord ??)

peacock

There are two sets of Clesestial couples depicted flying above the panel on its two sides. The couple to the left of the image seem to be in awe of the splendor of Karthikeya ( both their right hands held up in vismaya pose), while the male on the right is holding his hands in prayer ( anjalai pose) - the lady seems to be quite non chalant !!

the flying celestial couples

Now, we come to the two attendants. Very unique to see two Goat headed attendants.

The one to the left of the image, is a bit feminine in its stance and general build ( sadly the sculpture is much worn) and is smelling a flower ( lotus?) in its right hand while left hand is resting on its ( sorry for the usage - dont know if i can use his or her) hip. There is a certain shyness associated with the twist of the head etc, so i would take it as a her.

left side goat headed attendant

The right side attendant is definitely a male, but his hand pose is quite unique. If you notice closely, the right hand is coming into an angali pose but the left hand is holding his right elbow - almost like how a Kung Fo student will salute his master ( master - teach me Kungfo type !!!)

right side goat headed assistant

Who could these two represent. There is one eligible candidate for the lady goat head - Ajamukhi, the sister of the Surabadman and the daughter of Maya and sage Kasyapa ( they are said to have taken the form of goats and gave birth to Ajamukhi)

For more read here on this legend.

http://indianmythologytales.blogspot.com/2009/04/tales-of-muruga-part-1.html

That leaves the right side attendant. The only other Goat headed person ( though not directly associated) is Dhaksha whom we had seen earlier in the panel in tanjore. Could it be he ?

Leaving on a two week break - with big plans of covering Chidambaram, Tanjore, trichy, madurai and coimbatore - to bring you more rare beauties. Till then we bid adieu and wish all readers a Merry Xmas and a happy, prosperous and rewarding new year 2010.

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We had earlier seen the Andhaka Legend in detail. Today, we are seeing another depiction of the same legend in one of the inner wall sculptures of Ellora.

salvation while being lynched.jpg

Sadly the sculpture is much worn out and we cannot make much out of the facial features. Yet this seems to be a slightly more sedate depiction or maybe the last act of surrender of Andhaka - so brilliantly depicted by the sculpture, has calmed shiva’s anger.

praying andaka.jpg

For even without the intricate facial expressions, there seem to be some gentleness in the way Shiva is holding up the speared Andhaka - almost in a tender manner. But the depiction of the speared Andhaka - is spectacular - the trident has passed clean through his torso and he is impaled on it - but you can see him raising his hands and submitting to the divine grace of shiva.

Down below, we see a visibly unmoved, rather firm posture of Parvathi - unfortunately very much damaged, we cant clearly see what is depicted - but you can vaguely make out the shape of a demon holding a club/mace in his hand ( under the left feet of shiva) - shiva seems to be stamping on him - maybe this is act 1 of the legend, with Andhaka trying to go for Parvathi!!!

Amazing sculpture, beautiful depiction of Andhaka.

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