The image shows Mohini, a female avatar of Vishnu, carved on a pillar located near the dance floor inside the navaranga. This amazingly beautiful and intricately carved sculpture was made of black stone (locally known as Krishna Shile).
According to Hindu mythology, Mohini is a by-product of the Samudra Manthana (Churning of the Ocean of Milk), which was a collaborative effort by devas (demi-gods) and asuras (demons) to produce amrita, the nectar of immortality.Once the churning produced amrita, asuras cleverly stole all of it. When Vishnu realized that asuras have amrita, he appeared as a young beautiful woman, a femme fatale, who enticed asuras and successfully grabbed amrita back from them and gave it to the devas.
As you can see from the image, Mohini has a slender and well-proportioned body. She is standing with a graceful stance with her body slightly curved around the midriff. Her beautiful face has a calm and pleasant facial expression. A crown with an unusually tall cap adorns her head. She is wearing a variety of jewelry, including necklaces, anklets, and armbands. Above her long skirt, which has beautiful patterns, a udiyana(waistband) is wrapped around the waist.
Notice the looped thread hanging across the chest from the left shoulder to the waist. It is known as yajnopavita and is a symbol indicating that the person wearing it has mastered Vedas and undergone the Upanayana ceremony. It is typically worn by men, but in this case, it indicates that Mohini is indeed an avatar of Vishnu, who is normally depicted as a man.
If you look at her toes, you will notice that her second toe is longer than the big toe. In modern medicine, it is considered a deformity and is suffered by 20% of the population. This deformity even has a name, i.e., Morton’s Toe. In ancient India, a woman with Morton’s Toes is highly sought after for marriage because of the belief that she would make an ideal wife.
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple Complex
— Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu
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