COLLAGES IN STONE !
Ceiling art in the Jain Cave temple @ Aihole.*
I was quite keen about taking photographs of the mythological scenes on the ceilings of temples @ Aihole and Pattadakal. But, it was a difficult task, specially @ Huchchappayana Matha , Aihole. There is a big stone-bull right below two reliefs on ceiling . Further, the light inside the 'Mandapa' of this 'Matha' was quite inadequate. Therefore, taking a position for clicking photos was extremely difficult. There are three reliefs on the ceiling - each very interesting. We took a dozen photos each, but, only a few could capture the details in a presentable frame . The other problem was flash - this robs the photos a lot of their appeal. Karnataka Tourism is very particular about not allowing tourists benefit of using a tripod. Though I carried one, I could use it at none of the locations.
At Papanatha temple, Pattadakal. taking photograph of the ceiling was much easier. The ceiling of the area @ the entrance - we can call it a porch - has a wonderful wall-relief of Siva and Parvati in a pose of dance. The light was adequate, there was no obstruction on the ground level and no visitor around.I could just lie prostrate on the ground and click.
Siva and Parvati dancing.Their feet are crossed in 'Swastika' posture
Siva's right-hand in 'Abhaya-mudra' and Parvati's right hand in 'musti'
while her left hand in 'dola' posture
At Huchchappayana Matha, Aihole, we have Trimurti - Brahma Vishnu and Siva - depicted on the ceiling, though not in this sequence.The first one here depicts Vishnu sitting on 'Ananta' the snake and Laksmidevi and other goddesses & worshippers are around on his side. The limbs are drawn with very non-angular smooth lines. With time - @ Huchchappayana Matha was built around 11th century - the faces have lost the details.
Vishnu sitting @ rajalila asana posture on Ananta the snake. The snake's coil is a little too small. But, Visnu's posture is very graceful - well-crafted.
Next in the sequence is Siva. He is sitting on his bull - Nandi's - hump in lalitasana . Parvati sits on his right side !! - has been offered a most uncomfortable sitting area on the back of Nandi. An attendant holds an umbrella on her head. Musicians and dancers revel around the divine couple. Siva's face show details, unlike Vishnu's face, but suffered erosion.
Siva-Parvati on Nandi. Siva has 4 arms - he holds two snakes in his two top hands. Siva's left-hand in Katakamudra. Parvati holds a lotus in her raised right hand.
Last in this Trimurti series is Brahma. He is seated on a rather small swan. He has 4 hands. Akshamala is very prominent. Among the hermits offering salutations to him, quite a few are emaciated with just skin covering their skeletons . Brahma's face has suffered erosion.
Brahma sitting on a rather small swan. And... the swan is resting on a stool, though its wings
are spread across. Brahma's feet also rest on this stool. Parvati and Brahma have not been shown in graceful sitting postures !The ceiling art of Virupaksha temple,Pattadakal is of Surya in his seven-horses chariot - not any one of the Trinity. Very seriously done arrt-work, with many charatcters of Surya's Iconography. Art historians can compare with the Poosha - the morning sun of Konark temple !
Surya holds two lotus buds in his two hands - will they bloom as the day progresses ? his two consorts strikes pose with bows - as if the arrows will pierce the darkness. Surya stands 'samapada'
on two lotus. He wears no shoes.
Virupaksha temple,Pattadakal .
We have an elaborate Kartikeya in the ceiling of Huchchamalli temple of Aihole. Kartikeya's young face and physique is very carefully crafted. The peacock is quite proportionate in size - I liked this ceiling-relief very much.
Kartikeya, Huchchimalli Temple,Aihole.