Wednesday, July 20, 2011


 Siva and SaptaMatrika in fierce battle with Andhakasura and Gajasura :Wall-relief  above the main entrance to Inner sanctum

Front view of  SriMukhalingam temple. There are several temples 
around the main temple in the compound

The main temple of SriMukhalingam is built around the theme of warrior and fierce image of Siva. SaptaMatrika are in his side, Andhakasura and Gajasura on the other. Siva is depicted in the fierce image of  Bhairava, with his fangs  exposed - not only when he is engaged in fights, but also when he is dancing after vanquishing  Andhakasura and Gajasura. Siva  is ithyphallic, very masculine - the whole temple , as I have mentioned in my earlier blogs, exudes masculinity and valour !

Front view of  SriMukhalingam Temple.
View of Wall-relief obstructed due to the 'Amloka' of the Mandapa in front.

Taking photograph of the wall-relief  I am writing on was extremely difficult.It would be apparent from the photograph above. The wall-relief is practically at the centre of the  wall on which the door to the inner sanctum of the temple is located, just above of the roof of the Mandapa at the entrance - with naked eyes, one can hardly see the details of the central portion, leave out those of the four parts of the panel at top, bottom, LH and RH sides. Apart from the distance, the other problem is that this wall-relief, though at the centre of the front wall, can be photographed from the right side of the entrance. I found no way of viewing it from the left side of the entrance. Shall try to capture more details if I re-visit this temple in future.

 Sub-divisions of the wall-relief.

Actually, after I downloaded the shots in my computer   and catalogued the lot, I realised  the importance of this wall-relief. From none of the shots I could take, the characters of the bottom arc was clear.

On closer inspection. I could see that the wall-relief is divided into  five sections ( see above). The central part  depicts the core scene - the most important part of the event - Siva and SaptaMatrika engaged in fierce battle with Andhakasura. The top arc has Gajasura trampling Siva's soldiers. The LH and RH arc have a story of a healer woman - well, I know nothing about the details to-day.The lower part, as I have already mentioned, is hardly visible. I have selected these portions one after the other, 'insert'ed them in separate powerpoint pages, wrote out notes and converted .ppt document to .jpg format. Please read through the notes on the lower margin .

 Central Portion - 
 The most important part of this Wall-relief

Siva standing  @ the centre, holding a big mace in his right hand  and a pot of Andhakasura's blood in his left . He wears a big moustache. His matted hair falls on his shoulder . All these and  a huge erect phallus (symbolises his Yogic control over ejaculation  - called 'Urdhareta/UrdhaLinga) create the 'image' of a very masculine  naked warrior in the thick of a  battle. SaptaMatrika are around him , fighting Andhakasura and his soldiers. Andhakasura is regenerating ( read about the story of this battle in )  while one of the seven Matrikas drink the blood of Andhakasura from the pot in Siva's hand.

Peripheral - LH
Peripheral - RH

I could not fathom the 'story' of the healer  woman, as depicted in the Peripherals - LH and RH.But, that there is a 'story' is clear. Whatever little I have understood about it, I have cited in the respective photo inserts.If any reader  has a clue about the background , please do share it with me.
Noticeable in this temple as well as the smaller temples in SriMukhalingam village are the various stories of religious persons, Devdasis and devotees of those days on the gates and external walls.This healer woman must be quite important to appear in close proximity of Siva and SaptaMatrika.

In the concluding paragraph, I shall  return to the subject of  Siva's battle with Andhakasura and Gajasura.   Andhakasura was born in the surroundings of  Siva and Parvati, was brought up  as a foster son of Hiranyalsha , was a very successful warrior and his end came when he cherished Parvati.He had the power of re-generation - so he fought a long battle with Siva. He survived as emaciated 'Bhringee' after he got pardon from Siva and ,very likely, from Parvati too. Gajasura was killed and dancing Nataraja is seen holding elephant's hide in numerous wall reliefs ( ).


shrikant d said...

Sir, Kudos to u for your effort to record and unravel some of the infinite historical mysteries of India thru your blogspot on srimukhalingam temple. I suggest u go to Srikurmam temple near srikakulam which is equally ancient and steeped in mythological history.


Thanks Shrikant.

I did visit SriKurmam temple - pl view

I have written several blogs on SriMukhalingam & one on Srikurmam - others might have escaped your notice.

kamalakar said...

Sir, I appreciate your understanding of the sculptor. May I have clarification on
Is it true that the linga in the temple is fossil of tree and we can see face and hence the mukha linga.


Dear Kamalkar,

The priests of Madhukeswara temple neither encourages entry to 'garvagriha' or in-temple photography nor shared any story about the early days. Hence, I cannot throw any light on :
1. Linga made of fossil & not a real stone
2.If there was a face engraved on it.

I know SriMukhalingam was capital of Ganga dynasty. During early days of Linga worship,linga with Shiva's face - in some cases, with those of other gods e.g. Vishnu etc - used to be worshiped.Pl read about Gudimallam Shiva lingam.