Posts Tagged ‘Murugan’

Friends, today we are in for a feast. A real Sculptural feast..for we are to witness today the imagination and expertise of the chola sculptor running riot in Pullamangai - the famed Brahmapuriswarar Temple. The temple itself is treasure trove of stone art, but sadly forgotten by most. This is our humble attempt to showcase this magnificent edifice of Chola Art. Thanks to Satheesh and Arvind Venkataraman for taking the time to visit this temple, actually there was selfish motive behind sending them there, so that we may all drink in the sheer brilliance of that place - thanks to our two contributors again for patiently getting the lovely photos

Normally, i would start posts with long shots and then move closer. But today we are going to attempt the reverse for maximum effort. Once you read the full post, am sure you will understand what i mean.

We are going to see a series of four panels - hailing the birth of Muruga. Kumarasambhava and a few amazing Yaalis ( my personal favorites)

To start with will show you the yaalis.

the amazing warriors
warrior emering with his mount
action pose
even ladies
not just a mount he is a yaali rider
sadly broken
see the detailing of the crown

How to describe these in words. Such brilliance lends credence to the thought that these are not there just for ornamental value !!

Hmm, well that’s not the post, here is a lovely Vyaala as well.


Ok, I talked of the birth of Muruga and am showing you nothing of it….ok, here they come.

shiva n parvathi dance with rathi and manmadha watching

Here we see, the amazing dance of Shiva and Parvathi. Splendid depiction of the synchronised dancing. The masculine grace of Shiva and the feminine charm of Parvathi is a delight to watch. and watched they are by a resurrected Kama ( manmadha) and his wife Rathi.

wow, what a lively composition

The next panel we are going to see is a lovely depiction of Shiva wooing his consort.

shiva striking a pose for a shy parvathi

See the shy stance of the maiden and the stylish pose of Shiva.

the shy stance of Parvathi
the style of shiva - see the crossed legs

The next panel, shows Shiva embracing Parvathi.

shiva courting parvathi

This is a very beautiful depiction of the sense of fluid motion that a sculptor manages to bring into stone. Just watch the right hand of Shiva. He is shown with two right hands, one resting nonchalantly on nandhi behind him - but imagine for an instant that he is moving his hand towards parvathi - the next act - the moving arm is portrayed by the second right hand. Can you sense it

the fluid motion of shiva

And see the expression of Umai, tender love lorn shyness.

seated grace of parvathi

The sculptor is not finished yet, see the detailing on Nandhi.

the detailing of nandhi, the fold of skin on the net, the bent leg

and the two Ganas on the top and the lady attendant below

gana top left blowing a conch
lady assistant bottom left
the gana top right prasing shiva

Lastly we see shanmuga being born and held by the six mothers, Karthigai Pengal.


Not clear is it, lets explain a bit. A seated Shiva is shown lovingly holding one of the babies who is reaching out to his cheek. While the other five are being held by the mothers.

ladies holding babies

I am sure some of you are already commenting on the quality of the photographs and sculpture ( both positive and negative comments for sure)

Hang on, let me show you the reason

the bottom panels
the top panels

We are not finished yet

so much to see
closer look

Now for the long shot, it shows how easily we can miss these little bundles of beauty

what to see in pullamangai

Now, you know why i went reverse order for the zoom!!

By the way, did i mention ` little’

size comparison

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Sometimes the sheer extent of geographical spread of our legends baffles me. The reliefs of Banteay Srei in Cambodia and Parambanan in Indonesia are such - veritable treasure troves. But once in a while, something very unique comes up, that makes you sit up and take notice. What we are seeing today is one such sculpture. This is from Banteay Srei complex - this follows the previous post of Kama vs Shiva which we saw deep in the hearts of Chola land - tanjore big temple - the illustrious capital of Raja Raja. It gives me great pleasure in presenting to you today the same legend depicted in Cambodia.

Lets analyse the panel in depth - shiva is seated on a high pedestal - a very regal presentation of Shiva, seated in an almost yogic stance - the spine straight, left arm on his thigh …he is looking down to his left - at Kama - who is taking his stance with his bow to discharge the arrow. Shiva’s right hand is holding a rosary but he seems to be giving it to the beautiful lady seated to the right. Below are three rows of various gods and demi gods, incl some animals.

another angle.jpg
kama panel banteay srei.jpg
kama vs shiva.jpg

How do we interpret this panel. This is most probably a composite panel - meaning unlike the chola version which comprised of individual scenes moving like a story board - this is just a single panel depicting the legend. Going from left to right ( of the panel) - Kama aims and discharges the arrow, shiva is woken up and looks at Kama in anger - but the impact of the arrow is strong, that he is giving up his life of austerity symbolised by the rosary to Parvathi and falling into wedlock !!!

kama shooting at shiva.JPG
shiva vs kama.JPG

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