Acrobatic Dancing Women

Darasuram sculptures

The Airavateswara temple at Darasuram was built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th Century CE. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for the intricate sculptures.

Her we see a panel of dancing ladies. One is shown with multiple limbs indicating either the movement of one performer (something like multiple frames of a movie) or multiple performers behind the main one.

Submission of Naga King Apalala

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Submission of Naga King Apalala, ca 2nd C.CE, Loriyan Tangai

Submission of Naga King Apalala, ca 2nd C.CE, Loriyan Tangai

A relief from Loriyan Tangai region of Pakistan at the Indian Museum Kolkata.

The legend: In the Swat river of the Gandhara Kingdom, there was a naga king called Apalala. He used to harass the local residents and they, in turn, offered him a tribute to stop harassing them. Once when the tributes started dwindling, Apalala was furious and turned himself into a Dragon. He threatened to invoke floods in the Swat river and annihilate the community. At that time Buddha with Vajrapani was visiting that area to propagate his thoughts. Vajrapani used the weapon Vajra (lightning)  to bring down the mountain and subdue Apalala. Apalala submitted to Buddha and converted to Buddhism.

It was interesting to come across an article in Dawn (Pakistan) about the archaeological department invoking a slightly different version of this legend in the context of floods in the Swat valley. See story:

Unique Ganapathy



This is neither a Narthana Ganapathi nor an Uchishta Ganapathy. Seems to be a combination of the two.

Can anyone clarify?

From Madambakkam Sri Dhenupureeswarar temple, near Tambaram.


Krishna stealing the clothes of Gopis


Krishna Vastraapaharan Kanchipuram

Krishna stealing clothes – Kanchipuram


The story of Krishna stealing the clothes of gopis is an interesting and a recurring theme in many temple sculptures. I have already posted a couple of blogs on these with photoes from different locations.

Vastraaharan: Krishna and Gopis

Krishna at it again

The two pictures in this post are from Kanchipuram but from different sources. The one above is from a mandapam in front of the West entrance to Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple.

The one below is a mural from a private house near the Varadraja Perumal temple. It belongs to one of the descendants of Prativadi Bhayamkaram Annangaracharya. The paintings were done around 1930 and are need of restoration. The helpful owners opened up the door and showed us around all the paintings.

90- year old Wall painting Vastrapaharan

90- year old Wall painting of Vastraharan Lila

More Stone Windows

Many of my readers like the theme Stone Windows. At their prompt, I went through my archives and found one more photograph., a stone window from the Dharmeswarar Siva temple from Manimangalam (near Tambaram) taken about 11 years ago.

A recent visit to the Thirupparuthikundram Jain Temple in Kanchipuram added another carved stone window.

A stone window, Dharmeswar Temple, Manimanagalam

A stone window, Dharmeswar Temple, Manimanagalam

Manimanagalam is about 10 Kms from Tambaram on the Mudichur Padappai route. This was the theatre of the Pallava- Chalukya war of 7th C CE. The temple is believed to have been built by the Chozhas.

Here is one from the Thiuruparuthikundram Jain Temple from Jina Kanchi, Kanchipuram. this temple resembles a Hindu temple in architecture but the murals and idols are definitely Jain.

A carved knotted stone window from Jain temple at Thiruparuthikundram, Jin Kanchi

A carved knotted and braided stone window from Jain temple at Thiruparuthikundram, Jina Kanchi


Mahishasuramardini, Odisha

One more Mahishasuramardini. This is from the Parashurameswara temple, Bhubaneswar. Dated c. 7th or 8th C. E. this is one of the oldest structural temples in the region.

Note the divine figure below with intricately carved floral pattern

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..



Narasimha at Aihole


Narasimha at Aihole, Karnataka

This Narasimha at Aihole is from the Chalukya period. It seems different from the other Narasimhas seen elsewhere.



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.