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Posts Tagged ‘purushamirugam ’

While writing about the Tanjore Brihadeeshwara temple, you tend to get lost praising the chola sculptor, but then there are a few later day contributions which need to be acknowledged as well. It might already be well known that i am not particularly a great fan of sculpture post 13th C - but then there are few vestigial remains that are a tribute to the great traditions of stone work. We have seen a few examples like the Srirangam sesharaya mandabam, the pillars from the great Kanakasabhai of Perur - in that line there does exist a splendid structure inside the big temple environs, that needs to be featured. The Nayak contributions to the big temple via the Subramanya Shrine is notable. We will see just a sample from the Subramanya temple - well, just a spout and a sink.

Locating the Subramanya shrine is not difficult, 3/4 into circumambulating the Vimana, you cannot miss the shrine, but credit to the artist, it does merge into the overall theme seamlessly despite a 600 year gap. Using a mixture of British Library antiquesand images from the net to get you a look feel.

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What we are going to see, comes into view as you are 3/4 th ( again) into circum ambulating the subramanya shrine.

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There is something surreal about black and white photography!!

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antique+photo
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Well, we have come to the subject of todays post - there is word in tamil, which i cannot correctly translate into english ” menakkedarathu ” - it would mean going to great extent to do a small job.

Lets look at our subject a little closer.

just+a+sink
take+a+closer+look
take+another+look

Yes, its a spout for the ablution water to pass from inside the shrine into a receptacle below. Take a look at the splendid stone work on this spout, simply master class, the curves and the graceful lines accentuate the form.

what+a+beauty
what+a+spout

Now, for the sink. Its no common sink mind you!

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the+sink+front
the+sink+otherside

With Lion mot tiffs as its base, this sink carved of a single block of stone, has more to it that offers the eye. Its got an interesting tale to tell as well.

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bheema
purushamrigam+catching+bheema

If you have been following the posts regularly you would have already known the tale, we featured it in

Feed Half of Bheema to

Once you read it, find out what Bheema has in his hands.

bheema
whats+bheema+having+in+his+hand

and now is caught as his hand is empty

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bheema+hand+is=empty

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We return today with a fascinating legend, supported by three sculptures. Two from Darasuram and one from Krishnapuram. Thanks to Mr Arvind Venkatatraman for lovely pictures from Darasuram. we got an unexpected Bonus from Artist A.P. Sreethar, sharing this rare sketch of the Krishnapuram pillar by the legendary Artist Silpi as well.

While there are many different versions of this legend, am trying to give the simplest ( and less controversial one). More so, since this legend doesn’t appear in the main Mahabaratha, i am taking one that has just about enough information to support the sculptures exhibited.

Yudhistir is performing a great Yaga ( sacrifice). He is advised that inorder for it to be performed properly he needs the help ( milk of !! by some versions) Purushamriga - a half man half tiger ( or lion), which is a staunch devotee of Shiva. Trouble is the creature resides deep in a jungle and preys on almost anyone it sees. ( other versions bring in a Shivaite /Vaishnavite angle to this debate)

Bhima is selected for this task and wily Krishna gives him 12 stones ( lingas, rudrahsa by other versions) and asks him to use it when he is in trouble. Bhima sets off to find the Pururshamriga and finds it deep inside the jungle. By one version they agree to a challenge - kind of a running race, in other versions he chants something that upsets it. Well back to the story, Bhima is being chased by the Purushamriga and its catching up with him at a fast pace. Bhima decides to use the `stones’ and drops one. Instantly it turns into a Shiva LInga ( shiva temple in some accounts) - anyway the animal being a stauch shiva devotee has to worship the Lord, giving Bhima much needed time to put some distance between them. But the animals superior speed enables it to catch up with him once more and he uses one more of the stones. Thus he uses up all 12 ` help lines’ but he is still not out of the forest. He uses all his strength and just as he puts one leg outside the forest, his other leg is caught by the Purushamriga. An argument ensures and Yudhistr is called on to pass judgement.

Yudhistir being the just king that he is, rightly !! passes the judgment that the Purushamriga can have half of Bhima ( the portion within its territory). The impartial judgment makes the Purushamriga let go of Bhima and all is well.

OK, now to the sculptures. Two delightful panels from Darasuram. You can see in the first one you can see the chase. The Purushamriga seems to be hardly taxed and is about to grab Bhima.

bhima vs purushamriga darasuram

The second panel, it has caught him and both are in front of Yudhistir ( who has a lady attending on him).

purushamriga darasuram

The Krishnapuram pillar sculpture is more elaborate and seems to be depicting a fight scene almost - maybe when the Pururshamriga caught up with Bhima. Both are holding small maces..

purushamriga n bhima krishnapuram.jpg

Now, we see the master strokes of Artist Silpi who has caught this pillar in his immortal work here.

krishnapuram silphi sketch.jpg

Amazing sculpture and an inspiring sketch.

update+++++++++++
pl do visit Sri Raja Deekshithar’s wonderful site for more of these beauties. Sadly, sir left us this year. http://www.sphinxofindia.rajadeekshithar.com/

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