Banteay Srei: Indra riding Airavata – A bas-relief on the gopura at the entrance

Indra riding Airavata carved on the pediment of the gopura located at the entrance of Banteay Srei

Indra riding Airavata carved on the pediment of the gopura located at the entrance of Banteay Srei

Indra riding Airavata
The image shows the pediment of the east side gopura (gate), which serves as the main entrance to the Banteay Srei Temple complex located 16 miles northeast of Siem Reap in Cambodia.

As you can see from the image, a triangle-shaped bas-relief is in the middle of this intricately-carved pediment. Surrounding it is a a wavy frieze with the multi-headed nagas (serpents) at the ends.

In the middle of the bas-relief is Indra, the king of the Svarga (heaven) and devas (demigods), seated majestically on a three-headed elephant named Airavata. Decorative foliage fills the rest of the bas-relief.

Indra is also one of the Ashta Dikpalas (guardians of the eight directions), and his job is to guard the east direction. For this reason, this east side gopura has the bas-relief of Indra to indicate that he is guarding this direction as well as the temple.

Check this Ashta Dikpala painting from the Hampi Virupkasha Temple Murals for a description of all eight dikpalas.

Related Images
Burning of Khandava Forest – Indra Dousing the Fire Set by Agni – East Library Facade of the Banteay Srei Temple
Indra Fighting the Asuras (Demons) – Gods Vs. Asuras Bas-Relief in the lower level gallery of the Angkor Wat Temple
Indra with his Consort Indrani – Outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Related Pages
Banteay Srei, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm
Phnom Kulen, Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
Bali, Prambanan, Borobudur, Indonesia
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu
Hampi Virupkasha Temple Murals

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