Author of the Month

An Ancient Hindu Royal Throne
By Deepak Bhattacharya

E - Discussion

Mangala ghata are noted only alongside iconic presentations, located at lower level corners on frames or near feet even in the earliest cognate group. It gets on to higher elevations (Lingaraj-10th AD) in Somavansa period, where it is Purna kumbha & not mangala ghata. The conical lid or lid type device comes in post Somavansa period. The Gangas are not associated with kumbhas.

The Narasingha concept as associated with Jagannath tradition precludes Vaishnava doctrine. Narasingha in art 7 & tradition 8 of Orissa is a post Somavansa & pre Ganga period introduction. The historical genesis point of Narasimha concept of Vaishnava doctrine in Orissa has been indicated as 11th AD & predates Chuda Ganaga Dev 8. Therefore the nidarsana of a suggestive or a proto Narasimha-Vishnu aspect on a throne type seat indicates a pre Chuda Ganga & post Yayati – I date for the seat. This seat therefore is associated with Narasingha aspect & tradition as is traceable in Orissa. Such narasingha motif is met with in art of medieval & modern period in select places in Orissa.

The art of JK & the Narasingha motif indicates a prominent avian beak like nose. Lion does not have such type of curvilinear,sharp & pointed nose. The occupant in all probability had such a type of nose. Even to this day the Orissan Narasingha murtis have a avian beak type nose. Whereas, all India art of Narasingha show a flat feline nose. It may be profitable to remember that the mythic Narasimha had a Leo’s face, limbs, while the posture is that of a homosapien 9. Contrarily, JK & the Orissan Narasingha motifindicates a human face, human hands in suggestive Narasingha pose. Kulke came very close when they equated this motif with Narasimha-Vishnu 10. This motif represents a unknown sovereign (mortal) and not Narasimha of Prahalad-Hiranyakasipu tradition. It is brilliant suggestive art or nidarsana. Colossus, single, monolith JK – CSMJK specimens having alike faces are noted at the E & S kuruma beda Singhadwars of Jagannath temple; Indra-Dumnya tank; Markandeswar, Narasingha temple near Gundicha. The paired lions at various singhadwars are sect & site based variants & later extentions. I term these as Kesari ( lion) scheme.

GAS indicates Gautama in his theriomorphic form of a juvenile couchant tusker having twin pointed short tusks being trampled down by Hindu Lion which has a human face & twirled human mustache; no vaishnava tilak; the nose is not avian beak type, a circular tilak on fore head. GAS motif so far has not been related to any dynasty or individual. The Gangas have not been related to this art motif. GAS has one arm in jab pose or both in flying / leaping pose. Whereas JK sits erect + on both hinds with right arm in jab pose. GAS & JK are different signatures. Yayati-I has indicated GAS at Lingaraj; was a Saivait; had unseated the Bhauma karas. GAS indicates the Somavansis. Placement of GAS motif below the palm grip Indicates that the somavansis too are of no consequence. Yayati II’s father had been killed by Somavansi king Indraratha. Yayati II returned to Kosala post Indraratha & became the sovereign 11. This seat seems to have been designed for such a person. Multi mode conforming correspondence is noted.

+ - Egyptian Lions as at Karnak & the Ashokan Lion (Indian national emblem) which historically precede also sit in similar pose.

The exquisite parswadevatas at Lingaraj temple, which is Soma kula’s (moon dynasty) apex creation have Khamba torana (pillar arches), with an ornate arched stele having Sthapati’s Kirtimukha & not Narasingha mukha. Gallant person collecting pearls from makara mukha 12 in bass relief is noted on the vajra mastaka of Parasurameswar at Bhubaneswar # which is different from Makara torana in art & tale content. Coomarswami has indicated that makara was the symbol of water; vehicle of Varuna & the banner of Kamadeva 12. A crocodile alike animal is a being of the inter-tidal zone. In Orissa the Mahanadi; Bramhani & Prachi river delta areas have been natural habitat of makara. Buddha’s tooth relic was preserved in the Stupa- Vihara culture that flourished in such deltaic zone, literally protected by makaras. In Fig 5 the makara pair has its sturdy snout twisted & raised in salutation pose. It signifies that the occupant had (i) something to do with the disbandling of the stupa-vihara culture (ii) the subordinate position of the Buddhists (iii) the makara represents the defender of Dharmma (iv) makara may also indicate maritime destinations; territories; trade. Orissa had vibrant maritime activity 13; (iv) love & goodwill. Severally or jointly all these are attributable to a designer occupant. The Gangas are not reported to have had any anti Buddhist activity. Makara torana is not an aspect of Somavasi; Ganga or Suryavansi art either. The Kesaris emerge as the contenders.

# - Dated by Historians to 650 AD.

The four tired Ratha yukta, bhadra pitha [ as in fig – 7 ] in a pancha ratha scheme have homology with the paa bhaga of monuments dated to 11th AD i.e. with post Somavansi & pre Ganga period art.

All these conjunctly raises the status of this seat to that of a throne.

Yayati – I has been associated with the moon. Yayati - II has been associated with Kesari (lion), K-II was powerful, revived medieval Orissa’s fortunes, a house hold mythic character, yet related art is least talked in history books.

Historians have attributed Bramheswar to Udyot kesari’s period 14. Ithas no singhadwar; no JK; no parasta mayura. Instead of GAS it has Makara arudha singha (lion atop crocodile); this is a ex-Buddhist site. It also introduces kirtimukhas with female pairs #, which is repeated on Mukteswara torana; the art of the ladies offer inter-affinity. Therefore, among the kesaris, Yayati II emerges as the sole person attachable to this composite & the throne.

Art of the composite motif seems to be associated with the historic cum loric term ‘ Kesari’ while the date 11th AD is marked by Yayati kesari II as a powerful sovereign who had regional governors.

Yayati kesari II & Narasingha of kimbadanti (popular tradition) are one & the same. He emerges as the 1st Vaishnava king of Orissa. The sovereign during whose tenure Pidha saili came into vogue. It now becomes apparent that the term kesari popularly is referred to Yayati kesari II in Orissan villages.

The full gown wearing, standing person in vyakhana mudra fig – 8 if be taken as the governor 15, ++ of the imperial Kesari, things seem to resolve. Its co-relation with the Narsingha concept (& temple ?) of the 2nd quarter of 11th AD; Parasta Mayura & GAS nidarsana; Makara torana; Surya - Kesari sambandha and Ratha-yukta asana on bhadra pitha of pancha ratha style also settles as a square peg in a square hole.

++ - This clould well be the picture of the mythic Indradumnya who as per Orissa’s tradition built the 1st great monument for Narasingha the precurser icon of Puroshattam Jagannath (ref - 8).

Interestingly there are number of similar seats in various muktangana-vedis (open air podiums) associated with religious rituals e.g Kapileswar; Papanasini at Bhubaneswar and Bharati mutth at Cuttack. The Bharati mutth seat at Cuttack also has the flanking JK, but non present the above composite format.

Chuda ganga is said to have special liking for the Badu mahapatras. Badu mahapatras even to this day worship him as much they worship Jagannath. At Puri, Mahapatra 3 showed me at Badu mahapatra jaga (gymnasium) a enshrined sculpture of Chuda ganga dev in lalitasana on a alike looking throne.

The symbolic art scheme of the throne makes it a composite motif fig – 2. This composite constitutes many a dwarapala anga jharakhas of monuments dated to 11th AD. It forms the north base angasikhara series of Jagannath’s jagamohana. The first great temple there has been attributed to Yayati Kesari – II 8. Although available in good numbers this motif has not been associated either with Somavansi; Ganga or Suryavansi art nor its association with any royal dynasty been attempted. Purna kumbha is a prominent component of the angasikhara series.

The foliated art pattern of the crowning members on the Orissan pidha type jagamohana is reminiscent of the mauryan bell capital saili 5, suggestive Hindu lotus petals on the kumbha replacing the rib pattern of the mauryan bell with JKs adoring all the levels of the pidhas in the 4 cardinal directions is significant nidarsana. This particular type of cranium is noted on Jagamohanas post Lingaraj.

This throne, Yayati – II & the composite seem to be inter-locked.

The installed icon of Varada Ganesha fits into the architrave of the back rest as if the icon was made to order.

# - This proves that indeed the patron was female.

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