Friday, October 22, 2010

Dashavatara temple

sculpture of vishnu in Dashavatara temple
Vishnu dreaming
sculpture of draupathi at Dashavatara temple
When Arjuna came home from a contest with his prize the princess Draupadi, he called out to his mother he had won a prize; his mother who was in another part of the house answered (not knowing what he had won) that whatever prize he had come home with he was to share it with his brothers. They were duty bound to obey her command
The highlight of Deogarh, however is the Dasavatara Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It belongs to the Gupta period and is dated at about the 6th century AD. It is the earliest known Panchayatan temple of north India. A row of superbly sculpted panels adorn the terraced basement which rises above the high plinth of the temple. A doorway with intricately carved figures of Ganga and Yamuna leads to the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum -No Entry).
The temple is particularly well known for its Rathika panels in recesses along its three side walls. You can see detailed photos in my traveloges.
These fine stone relief’s (of grantite, red and grey sandstone) depict scenes from Vaishnava mythology, and are identified as the Gajendra Moksh, Nar-Narayan Tapasya and the Anantasayi Vishnu panels.
Beautifully carved doorway of Dashavatara temple
Beautifully carved doorway
Sculptures at Dashavatara temple
carvings outside Dashavatara temple
The Gupta age, because of its superb sculptures, is in the annals of classical India almost what the Periclean age is in the history of Greece.
Gupta art is noted for its sensual modeling, its deeply cut reliefs, and easily recognized hairstyling (the cascading locks!). Females are noticeably plump, even heavy, full chested and with wide hips. Overall, the general impression of these panels is their liveliness and their rhythmic composition.
sculptures of lakshmi & vishnu in Dashavatara temple
Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu, supports the leg of the sleeping Vishnu
sculptures of draupathi & pandavas in Dashavatara temple
Here you see the five Pandava princes- heroes of the epic Mahabharata - with their shared wife-in-common named Draupadi (although some had their own wives too). Vishnu, incarnated as Krishna , was advisor and their charioteer in battle. The central figure is Yudhishthira ; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna . Nakula and Sahadeva , the twins, are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi . These heroes are themselves incarnations: Yudhishthira manifests Dharma, the Sacred Order of Life. Bhima represents the Wind God, Vayu. Arjuna is Indra. Nakula and Sahadeva incarnate the twin “Horseman Gods” (The Greek Dioscuri). Draupadi is Indrani , the queen of the gods and wife of Indra- a very old Vedic (Pre-Hindu) god
sculptures at doors of Dasavatara Temple
Door Dasavatara Temple Deogarh
sculpture of naga kind in Dashavatara templeNaga referring to serpent beings and their kingdom. Strongly associated with fertility. Many shrines are maintained by women who leave offerings to have children

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