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2/4/2015

ArdhanarishvaraatElephantaEverythingaboutElephanta!

ArdhanarishvaraatElephanta

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Ardhanarishvara,literatelytranslatesintothegod(Siva)halffemale.For
itsartisticexcellence,thisimageisarguablythesecondbestimage,after
thethreeheadedMaheshMurthiatElephanta.

FromtheHindumythology,the
Ardhanarishvararepresentsacomposite
androgynousformoftheHindugodShiva
onrightandhisconsortParvathionleft
half,splitdownthemiddle.
Thereareverymanymysticalstoriesand
explanationsforsuchaconceptinthe
Hindupantheon.Theoneinterestingstory
goeslinethis.

Ardhanarishvaraat
Elephanta

Oncemanysagescametotheiradobe,
KailashtopaytheirrespecttoLordShiva

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PartyBarb...

andParvathi.Oneofthesagescalled
Bhringirefusedtobowandpayrespect.
Thereason,ParvathiwassittingbesidesShiva.Hewasstaunchdevotee
ofShiva,thehewouldnotbowtoanyoneotherthanShiva.Thismade
Parvathiangryandmakeshimaskeletonofbones.Unabletostand,
Bhringireducesintoapileofbones.TakingpityofhisplightShivagives

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himathirdlegtobalanceon.Bhringiprecariouslystandsonhisthree
legsandstartsdancingaroundShivaindevotion.

ThismadeParvathijealousandangry.Shedoespenanceandgetthe
boontobemergedwithShivasbodytochallengeBhringi.Nowthat
BhringicouldnotpayhisrespecttoShivawithoutbowingtoParvathi
too!
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2/4/2015

ArdhanarishvaraatElephantaEverythingaboutElephanta!

Bhringiturnshimselfintoabeetle,piercesaholethroughthenow
androgynousbodyandperformscircumambulationonlytoportion
(righthalf)belongedtoShiva!
Parvathiisnowreconciles,admiresthededicationofthesage.

Artisticallythisisaformdifficult

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formtoworkwith.Thisimagenot
onlysucceedinachievingthat
balancebutalsoexcelledinthe
distinctiveexpressivenessofShivaandParvathiwithoutcompromisingthe
other.
BothShivaandParvathiisportrayedwithfourarms,averycommon
iconographyexpressioninHinduism.Shivasonehandrestsateaseonthehead
ofNandi,thebull.Theotherhandislifterupandholdsthecobra,thatusually

Ardhanarishvara,literately
translatesintothegod
(Siva)halffemale.Forits
artisticexcellence,this
imageisarguablythe
secondbestimagein
Elephantaafterthethree
headedMaheshMurthiat
Elephanta.

sitsaroundhisneck.
TherearhandofParvathiholdsamirror,whiletheotherhandrestsalongthe
waistandprobablyholdstheturfofgarment(thepalmisdamaged).
Theparvathisheadiselaboratelydecoratedwithajeweledcrown.Interestingto
noteShivaslongerearlobewiththeweightoftheearornament.
Thetorsoandwaistisdistinctlymasculineandfeminineofeithersides.

ThelowerportionoftheArdhanarishvaraimageisdestroyed.

SonofShivaandParvathi,Kumara,whoisconsideredastheLordofWarstandsontheleftbottomofthepanel.
AboveKumara,sittingonthelotusisLordBrahma,thefourheadedLordofCreation.
OnParvatissideclosetoherarmwithmirrorisIndra,theKingofGodssitingontheelephantcalledAiravata.
ThearetwosuperblyexecutedwomenflywhiskersatthelowerportiononofthepanelonParvatisside,thoughthe
facesweredamaged.

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2/4/2015

ArdhanarishvaraatElephantaEverythingaboutElephanta!

ArdhanarishvaraatElephanta.TheimagedepictstheParvathisside.
Notetheelaboratecrowndecoration.Seenontheleftstandingis
Kumara(Kartikeya),theLordofWarandabovehimseenseatedon
lotusflowerisBrahma,theLordofCreation.

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