Dancing Ganesha

Nartana Ganapathy

Dancing Ganesha. ca 12th Century CE. Basalt. North Bengal.

On this day of Ganesh Chaturthi I was happy to locate this picture of Dancing Ganesha from my collection taken in the Indian Museum, Kolkata.

I was trying to search the web of the legend of the Dancing Ganesha. On first glance, all I got was details of an Indian restaurant by that name in the  US of A and an Android App. I tried Nartana Ganapathy and I got Amazon pages on a doll (Chinese?). May be I should look more carefully later.

Ganapathy Bappa Morya..





Kartikeya - Indian Museum, Kolkata

Kartikeya – Indian Museum, Kolkata

At the Indian Museum, Kolkata. ca.12 Century C.E. Chlorite from North Bengal.

The name Karthikeya is derived from the six Kritika maidens who brought him up. Many forms show him with six heads – Shanmukha, but this one does not.


kartikeya dolls

kartikeya dolls

The legend of Kartikeya and Krittika maidens. Dolls at an exhibition. A phone grab.


Eka Paada Murthy

Trimurthis with only one leg

Trimurthis with only one leg

On the Northern Wall of the Sree Thyagarajaswamy temple, Thiruvottiyur.

This is the Ekapada Murthy aspect of the Trimurtis.

There can be many interpretations. The one given by the heritage tour leader, Pradeep Chakravarthy was this:
It was a time when Jainism and Buddhism were kept at bay by Hinduism. However, there was friction between various factions of Hinduism. This depiction of an integrated form of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma was to highlight the fact that all philosophies converge.

This is also sometimes referred to as Tripaada Trimurthy since a leg each of Brahma and Vishnu are also seen.

Another interpretation is that this showcases the supremacy of Shiva as the axis of the world or its cosmic pillar

Punnai mara vaahanam

Lord Kothandaramar on Punnai mara vaahanam

Lord Kothandaramar on Punnai mara vaahanam 

Krishna’s gopi vastrapaharan has been described in earlier blogs. Today, I witnessed Lord Kothandramar in Punnai mara vaahanam. Local devotees explained that this vahanam is to highlight the vastrapaharan episode and the related philosophical concepts.

6th day of the Kothandaramar temple festival, West Mambalam.

The Chennai Photowalk #111

More information on punnai trees and temples: http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/the-tree-that-cures/article5962870.ece



Little known gem of Kanchipuram

Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Pallava 7-8 Century C.E

Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Pallava 7-8 Century C.E

I was not aware of the Vaikunta Perumal Temple of Kanchipuram till now. If you are amazed by the Kailasnatha temple, you will be stunned by Vaikunta Perumal temple. This 7 century Pallava temple has bas-relief sculptures all over the walls – divine images as well as battle scenes, everyday life etc. Sadly, a lot of the sandstone sculptures are eroded and were plastered by ASI in an attempt to stop further damage.

The temple is in three levels – Vishnu is in sitting posture in the main sanctum. At the next level, approachable by a narrow stairway, he is Ranganathar, in lying posture. At the third level, which we did not see, he is in standing posture.


The picture was taken with phone camera (Redmi 4 Note) and tweaked on Snapseed. #phoneography.

Lesser known Rathams of Mamallapuram

Pidari Ratham at Mahabalipuram

Pidari Ratham at Mahabalipuram

Very few visitors to Mamallapuram get to see the Pidari Ratham and Valian kuttai (Valayankuttai) rathams.These are located about 500 mtrs West of Arjuna’s penance and can be reached by road. The entrance to the complex is close to ECR.

Both rathams are unfinished structures carved out of huge boulders. The work has begun from the top but the bottom is not completed. They resemble huge ‘Chettiar bommais’ at the bottom. The sanctums are also not complete and one is not sure for which god(s) these are meant for.

Valian kuttai ratham at Mahabalipuram

Valian kuttai ratham at Mahabalipuram

Map of Mamallapuram. Courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation

map of mamallapuram (TTDC)

map of mamallapuram (TTDC)

In the sanctum of Valian kuttai rathamWhen we reached the Valiankuttai ratham, a man was peacefully sleeeping in the niche, oblivious of the visitors.