Sunday, August 12, 2012



Prayer being offered in a temple - both JagganathaDeb 
and MahisasuraMardini are being worshiped.
In the lower tier, we note waiting elephants.

 We have an excellent wall-relief , theme being similar  , executed on 'chlorite' stone in Konark's Museum. Photography is prohibited within the gallery. Ruby , based on her sketch and a photo of this piece of art in an ASI  publication has drawn the following drawing of the same :

Among the Hindu kings/emperors  who built  the greatest landmarks of Indian Architecture , two persons stand out in my heart and mind. The 1st one is : NarashimhaDev I Langula who completed the  Surya temple around 1275 AD. The other is : Devaraya II, whose town planning and temple building activities attract thousands of tourists every year to Vijayanagara ( Hampi) which became a jewel in India during his tenure ending in 1446 AD.

These two wall-reliefs have same thene - King bids good-bye to his Court before departure for a long campaign. 
Here, in the upper tiers of  the wall-reliefs, King fondles his child.
In the lower tiers, we find horse/elephant/palanquin and attendants.

 I have not yet found much about the great Ganga king NarashimhaDev I in regular history books. Nor I have found any story or novel written on his exploits though Devaraya II have been featured in at least two. Saradindu wrote a historical novel  'Tungabhadrar teere' - literally meaning on the bank of Tungabhadra. The second book is by  SreeParabat , title being  'Vijaynagar' . I have to find more from books dedicated to Orissa's history. Till such time, my tribute to him is through this post where I present photos of some of  scenes of his  court and his life, as depicted on the walls of  Surya Temple, Konark .

Erosion damaged this wall-relief of THE valiant rider ! Who can be this rider - other than King NarasimhaDev I ? In this symbolic wall-relief, King is seen trampling enemy. Lower tier has palanquins.

The scenes on wall-reliefs of this temple I have chosen are often having two tiers - the larger ones in the top have the monarch in the centre of the depiction. Lower portions often show  conveyance  of those days - horses, elephants and palanquins.

A court scene.
In 2nd tier, a favour-seeker requesting a guard for entry inside.

 Is it King hurrying out of a temple - attendants and priest around ? Possibly a favour-seeker on his left.
(Enlarged from a small wall-relief.No 2nd tier here)

I shall end this Post with two famous wall-reliefs of  king NarashimhaDev I. In one , we find a giraffe - it is assumed that a group of visitors came to King's court from Africa. This wall-relief is very popular among tourists and photographers. We find King  sits on a elephant during this meeting which is taking place under a very large tree with peacocks sitting on the branches.

The second has a courtier reading out a plaque ( Is it an appeal by a favour-seeker ?) to King - those who have gone through reference  books on Surya temple of Konark are familiar with this wall-relief.

In this huge temple,whose walls are kind of space for exhibition , there are numerous warriors,hunters and valiant riders depicted, who are probably fashioned after  King NarashimhaDevI ! But, we have no way of ascertaining if my hypothesis is correct.

1 comment:

R Niranjan Das said...

Marvelous architecture.