Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Mural at Mamallapuram - Arjuna's penance

An extract from the book I' ve already quoted -Mahabalipuram, published by the Archeological Survey of India."This magificent carving is unique in the range of Indian art. Two large boulders with a narrow fissure in between have been chosen to represent a series of rows of gods and goddesses like Chandra (moon), Surya (sun), pairs of Kinnaras and Siddhas, Gandharvas, Apsaras (all of them celestial beings and demigods) etc rushing towards a central point near the cleft where a sage stands on his left foot deeply engaged in penance involving physical mortification. "
..."This scene is generally taken to represent a story from the Mahabarata in which Arjuna, the epic-hero, preformed penance to please Siva and thus to obtain the Pasupata weapon from him."
Apart from this in the cleft can be seen the nagas (snake-like beings) and a range of wild animals including a herd of elephants.

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