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Posts Tagged ‘Shiva Gana ’

Its not often you get blessed thrice in the same day. It was my wife’s birthday and we happened to be in Tanjore and first stop @ big temple( for her - me and Arvind had already been to Pullamagai in the morning!!). Pushed our luck by calling Kudavoil Balasubramaniam Sir, and such a humble person that he is, he immediately came to meet us and gave us a guided tour of Periya Koil.

kudavoil+sir+explaining

We have already seen the Dhakshan beheading panel and the Kama Dahana panels previously.

Shiva cuts off the head of his father in law

Shiva burns the lord of love

The current panel is a sequel to those. Shiva has been convinced to come back to becoming a householder and Dhaksayini has been reborn as Uma - the daughter of Himavan, the King of the Mountains. Maybe the only verse i remember from Sanskrit class is atha osadhinaam athipasya vrithow !!! from the Kumarasambava. Not sure if the current story is found in Kalidasa’s version, but it loosely follows the rendition in the kantha puranam ( though a later work to the sculpture).

The background plot is simple, Himavan is convinced by the seven Rishis sent by Shiva and agrees to give his daughter to Shiva. Now comes the tough part, to convince his wife - Menai. The Queen, being what any mother would be, comes over to take a look at the bridge groom for the first time, expecting him to come dressed in all his finery and flanked by the very best in the procession.

Lets see how Shiva turned up for his marriage procession - keep in mind current day baraats - the festivities , revelry and sarees, sherwanis, jewelery and money that are on display- the bridegroom in a designer sherwani on a majestic white horse, with an assortment of pretty looking women and boisterous men , equally decked up.

shiva+as+bridegroom

Here he is, wearing his elephant skin trunks, with his horde of Ganas, on his bull. There is a pet snake thrown in as well, rearing up form his left hand as he nonchalantly turns around to pose for the camera !!

shiva+on+nandhi
snake

What a shock it would have been to the welcome party. No wonder, the future mother in law Menai panicked

ladies+watching

She is already scared for he known for taking the heads ( brahma, dhaksha) , she refused to accept that this uncouth youth could be her son in law.

Finally, Brahma, Vishnu, Narada all came and explained the actions of Dhaksha that led to his downfall and the mighty grace of Shiva to have restored him to life albeit with a Goat’s head. The marriage does take place and finally - ALL IZZ WELL in Kailash - and ready for the birth of Kumara !!

shiva+umai

A big thanks to Kudavoil sir. But Sir, has explained this sculpture differently in his latest book, will see it shortly.

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Great works of art catch the eye of many. There are numerous studies, research papers, coffee table books that are brought out, thousands of people take photographs of them and a google search would through up hundreds of links. But then there are some offbeat ones, which sit nestled in pristine surroundings, seemingly still lost in time, waiting to be discovered, for their time under the Sun - or do they prefer to remain like that - in total obscurity. But then, its the question of identity - the flutter in the heart, the mist in the eye, the shiver in the goosebumps - the pride of knowing the greatness of the land you hail from. Surely, we got to take better care of them and showcase their beauty for all to see.

Such was the experience for us, as we walked past eye catching greenery and acres of land which was a visual overdose, for these days you hardly get to see the horizon with the array of high rises, suddenly a small structure came into view.

kodumbalur+moovarkoil

This is Moovar Koyil - or three temples - but hold on, there are only two vimanas left but you do get to see the base remnants of the now lost three vimana. This little gem of a masterpiece of sculptural beauty is the work of Bhuti Vikramakesari - the Irukuvel chief of the Kodumbalur clan, along with his two queens and a monastry of Kalamuka ascetics. The Kodumbalur clan, were political allies of the Cholas for a long time and this particular king was a contemporary ( can i say fiduciary or subordinate) of Sundara Chola - Parantaka II ( i can see the eye brows going up for all Ponniyin selvan fans ..Yes it is he - the father of Raja Raja Chola)

From a distance, the site does tend to fall a bit short of your expectations. But hold your horses, even inch of space of this is a treat.

from+the+otherside

Maybe to highlight that this site aims to look at things differently, i am going to start this series on the moovar koil treasures, by showing a very tiny but equally interesting sculpture - bypassing the bigger and larger beauties. I do have a vested interest in doing so, for he is one of my cute cuddly favorites.

First, to show you where he is - he is part of the bootha regai ( line of Bootha or goblin freezes)

bootha+regai
location+of+our+friend

Lets step closer and see if you can spot my friend.

location+of+tigerbelly
the+vimana+from+rear

Ok, let me narrow your search range.

bootha+regais

Oh, such a cutie -showing off his belly art.

location+of+tigerbelly
there+is+our+friend

Did you spot him, yet

another+to+our+collection
moovarkoil+tiger+belly

He does look a bit grumpy today!!

The question to us is, the bootha regai runs through the entire length of that row around the vimana, and the other vimana as well. There are many bootha ganas depicted doing various acts and many times they are repeated, but this particular fellow is unique. We found him in the Great Penance Panel in Mahabalipuram, in Pullamangai, in Srinivasnallur and now here - always just only once in the site. What is his role and why the tiger face in the belly.

Hang on for the rest of the series, when we look at the `main’ beauties from moovar koil.

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