Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Pancha Pandava Cave is connected to the Arjuna’s penance and it is a raw and unfinished structure in the inside. DSC00468However, it is beautifully carved on the outside and lions are carved on the pillars. There is one interesting piece here. One of the pillars is not carved as you see in the picture.

This is the biggest excavation at the site measure 50 feet in length. A cell is cut in the centre but is attached to the back. Behind the front pillars, there is another row of pillars which divide the Cave in five sections but all the sections are unfinished. There is not much to see in this cave and i move ahead to see the Krishna’s Butterball.

This is a very interesting stone. Seen from a distance, it looks as if it is ready to roll down. However, it has a base which prevents from doiDSC00479ng so and that we know only when we go nearer it. Otherwise, it not of much interest in terms of art. The area near this stone is very rocky with huge boulders and vegetation. We need to walk on these rocks, pass through a narrow opening between two boulders and reach the Trimurthi Cave Temple.

This cave temple is a little different from the others as it does not have a pillared hall. The artists have excavated the cells directly into the cave face which is almost vertical. This is a triple celled shrine dedicated to the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and DSC00492 Shiva. The central prominent cell is projected little forward, housing a Shiva image, which suggests that the cave was dedicated to Shiva as the main deity among the trinity. All the cells are flanked with dwarpalas on either sides.DSC00486

The first cell i said to be that of Brahma. However, the sculpture inside has only one head and is wearing a cross-band on its chest, which cannot be Brahma. Some historians believe it to be of Subramanya. There is an old inscription on the floor of this cell mentioning the name Mamalla, suggesting the name of Narasimhavarman I,  in whose time this cave was commissioned.

There are two goblins on the top, on either side of Subramanya, one on left is holding a flag-post while having a pustaka in his arm-pit while that on right is shown holding a bowl of offerings. There are two devotees sitting on ground, with one hand raised in adoration and another placed on their chests.

TheDSC00487 central shrine is a little projected to the front compared to the others. Inside the cell is an image of Shiva in a standing posture. He is shown with four arms, in his upper hand he is holding a axe and rosary of beads and his one lower hand is in abhaya mudra and another resting on his thigh. Two goblins on top are shown with one hand raised in adoration and another on their bent knees. Two devotes are  shown below, one squatting on the ground and holding a flower in one hand and other hand on his knee, while the other one is shown holding flowers in both the hands in anjali mudra. There is a lingam inserted into the base, however this is a later addition.

The rightmost cell is dedicated to DSC00489Vishnu. The dvarpalas are shown in side-views, wearing kirita mukutas and yajnopavita. Inside the cell is an image of Vishnu, in standing posture. He is shown with four hands, in upper hands holding a sankha and chakra while one lower hand is in abhaya and another is resting on his thigh. Two goblins are shown on top with one hand raised in adoration. Below are shown two devotees, bent in similar fashion in adoration to the Lord.

There is a niche on southern most part of the rock where an image of Durga is carved. Durga is shown standing over a buffalo-head, representing demon Mahishasura. She is shown with eight hands, in her right hands she holds chakra (discus), khadga (sword) and ghanta (bell) while in her left hands she holds shankha (conch), dhanush(bow) and khetka (shield). Her remaining one left hand is in abhaya mudra and one right hand is on her thigh.

There is one more small temple near this Mantapa which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The architecture of this temple is good on its top it has a small sanctum with small pillars on its front end.  Lions are carved on the pillars. I then move on to the famous Varaha Mantapa.


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