Shiva- the conqueror of Time and Death

Aum Tryambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam | Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan-mrityormuksheeya maamritaat || One among the most influential gods in Hinduism, Shiva is a part of the old Hindu triad, and his followers are cumulatively known as Saivites, although there are many sects within it. While Shiva is associated with the act of destruction (Samhara) or dissolution (Pralay)…

Yaksha

The demi gods/ accessory deities or the Vyantara devatas With the rise of the element of bhakti during the early stages of religious worship (Varuna is the first to have been portrayed as the Vedic moral god, associated with the concept of sin, faith, and divine forgiveness; thus sowing the seeds of bhakti in Indic…

The face of Glory- Kirtimukhas on Hindu temple walls

One of the most intriguing and a common feature among the Hindu temple adornments is the Face of Glory or Kirtimukha. The half human – half animal face, swollen with the intake of breath, is most prominently seen on the sukhanasa, in the centre of the arches of littles niches or shrines, the apex of…

Worship of the Naga or Serpent Worship

The Naga worship or Serpent worship ( also known as Ophiolatry ) is among the oldest and most widespread forms of religious practices in that the world. In the minds of the early men there were a fear of the nature and powerful animals, with a feeling that they were stronger and wiser than him,…

Documenting the worship of Rama in Bengal history

The curious case of Rama in West Bengal Mahakavi Krritibas Ojha (1381–1461), a well known poet from Bengal, was the author of “Sri Rampanchali,” the Bengali version of the Sanskrit Ramayan. While he had largely changed the narrative of Valmiki’s Ramayan and made many additions of his own (making Ram quite different from the original…

Kesa-vinyas or Hairstyles in Indian art- a photo exhibition by the ASI (2015)

My two bits as Introduction Hair is an important aspect of a person as well as that of an image or a murti. It gives it an individuality and adds to the personality or character of that person or image. The Chitrasutra of Vishnudharmottara purana names six different types of hairstyles: Kuntala (loose flowing hair), Dakshinavarta (hair curled…

An Iconographic exploration of Ganapati- Vinayaka

प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं गौरीपुत्रं विनायकम् ।भक्तावासं स्मरेन्नित्यमायुः कामार्थसिद्धये ।।1।। Pranamya shirasa devam Gauri putram Vinayakam.Bhakthavasam smaretrityamayuh kama artha sidhaye ||1|| The learned one, who wishes, For more life, wealth and love,Should salute with his head to, Lord Ganapathi who is the son of Goddess Parvathi प्रथमं वक्रतुडं च एकदन्तं द्वितीयकम् ।तृतीयं कृष्णपिंगाक्षं गजवक्त्रं चतुर्थकम् ।।2।। Prathamam Vakratundam…

The Mother Goddesses

In all ancient cultures or primitive societies women formed to be the foundation pillars upon whom rested the important tasks of giving birth and rearing the young, while teaching them what were seen as social norms, culture-heritage, behavioral habits, and traditions of those times. The women were seen as life producers with regenerative capacities, hence…

Triloknath/Trilokinath temple in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

Mandi district as we now see was formed by merging the two princely states of Mandi and Suket, when the State of Himachal Pradesh was created post independence (1948).  The kings of Mandi and Suket are believed to be descendants  of the mighty Sena dynasty of Bengal. After the Islamic invasion of Bengal in 1204…

Garuda – the vahana of Vishnu (Vishnu’s mount)

Vahanas (Mounts) Deities of the Hindu pantheon are known to always exist with their vahanas. Like the accessories in their hands (ayudhas), the vahanas are also peculiar to each deity and signifies that particular god.  Vahanas are an essential part of iconography of the Indian sculptural genre, especially from the early medieval period, and is…