Lakshminarayana – A form of Vishnu
Mounted on the outer wall around the north garbhagriha of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India, is Lakshminarayana, a form of Vishnu presented with his consort Lakshmi. Note that Lakshminarayana is a combination of two names, Lakshmi and Narayana. Narayana is another name of Vishnu, and it means one who dwells on the water. In Sanskrit, Nara means water and Ayana means dwelling. According to Hindu mythology, Vishnu lives on the cosmic ocean.
Lakshminarayana is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the temple. As you can see from the image, Vishnu (as Narayana) is sitting leisurely on his throne with his consort Lakshmi on his lap. Both are wearing elegant dresses and beautiful jewelry on their bodies.
Of Vishnu’s four arms, three are missing, and the remaining one holds a gadaa (mace). Lakshmi is holding a kalasha (pot) with her left hand and lotus (top part is broken) with her right hand. Her right leg is gently resting on a lotus cushion, and her other leg is resting on Vishnu’s lap with the half-padmasana pose. A small elephant standing next to the lotus cushion is Lakshmi’s vehicle. A small figure (with the missing head) with a namaste gesture is Vishnu’s vehicle, Garuda.
As per the signature at the bottom, Mallithamma is the sculptor of this relief. His attention to detail is amazing. For instance, notice the lotus cushion; It has gone in slightly because of the weight of Lakshmi’s leg.
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
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