Skip to main content

Featured Post

Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

A Sculpture like none other!

He is over 8 feet tall, and simply seems to take up all the space! We were, to be honest, rather startled, when we first set eyes on him. The reason though, was not his size, but the fact that he seemed to be made up of faces! Wondering what I am talking about? Here, let me show you….





At first glance, he appears grotesque, but he gets more and more interesting as we take a closer look, and realize, that he isn’t just made up of faces. The entire statue is made up of animal and human figures, a thought grotesque in the extreme, but a result surprisingly intricate and awe inspiring….



His head has two serpents coiled around, his eyes are frogs, their mouths open, holding eggs as eyeballs. His nose is a lizard, whose legs form his eyebrows; his moustaches are fishes; his mouth is a crab, and his ears are doves!

His neck is another snake, and his shoulder has birds on them, one looks like an owl, while the other seems to have succumbed to weathering. The hands are the legs of elephants, and his fingers, once again, snakes. His chest, stomach, and thighs are all human faces – interestingly, the upper ones seem to be males while the lower are females! His feet and legs are tigers, and yet another snake rises its hood near his feet, as if it formed his cloak!

He is incredibly interesting, but who is he? We were told that he was Rudra Shiva, from the temple of Tala in Chhatisgarh (the figure here is a replica), but he doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the scriptures, at least the ones we know of. It is evident that he is incredibly ancient, and, according to the ASI, he dates back to the 6th century! He is believed to predate Hinduism as we know it, a combination of Aghora and Rudra worship, more common in tribal societies.

This was my first visit to Chhattisgarh, and I travelled to Raipur and Sirpur, to attend the Sirpur Music and Dance festival, on an invite from the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. There was much I saw and appreciated, but this sculpture - the first one I saw on my visit - is one which has made a lasting impression – and above all, has made me curious about Chhattisgarh and its history. I now have a deep and burning desire to visit Tala and see the original sculpture!


Have you seen anything like this before? If you have, please do write in  and enlighten me!  

P.S. For more detailed information, read this post by Saurabh, on Puratattva.in

Comments

  1. Fantastic Anu! How do you manage to remember so much :) :) :)

    Looking forward to more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sid! we all remember what we love.... i cant imagine how you manage to go talk to so many people, remember their dreams and write it up!

      Delete
  2. you know I have to write or take notes.. else i will forget it all what i see sometimes ..

    those are beautiful sculptures.. thank you for sharing

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are welcome, Bikram. I take notes too, at times where there is too much to see and remember... but some things just stay with me...

      Delete
  3. wow........ great job Bhabhi !!!!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavantesh

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan