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Nataraja: The Hindu Dance Lord
By Deepak Bhattacharya


The Parasurameswar temple at Bhubaneswar on its front facade sports a Nataraja (dance lord) medallion offers various bhangis (pose), mudras (expression), vastra (dress), gahana (ornaments), vadya (musical instruments) & sangeeta (vocal music) as noted in Oddisi classical dance performance. The chitra bhasa (art dialect) offers homology with the narration as noted in Koyili purana, which is the sthala purana attributed to Nataraja shrine at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. Mardala tala & Vairava raga as accompaniment is indicated. Nidarsana (indication) of the chitra bhasa is loaded with possessiveness & nativity with local geomorphology.

Key Words

Parasurameswar, Nataraja medallion, Koyili purana, oddisi, mudra, bhangi, mardala, Chidambaram,.


The Parasurameswar temple at Bhubaneswar dt. to 650 AD is the best preserved, extant specimen of ancient Hindu religious structure in Orissa 1, it is a rich store house of decorative art 2. The repertoire represents numerous dance pictures involving males, females & Hindu deities. Ekamra (monotonous mango groove) alias present Bhubaneswar (lord of Universe) was the erstwhile capital of Kalinga 3. The term Kalinga means ‘ clever ’ 4. Modern scientific research indicates this shrine to be central & having astral connection 5, 6. From ecclesiastical angle, after Lingaraj this is the second most important shrine. On its front facade 7 is a Nataraja of immaculate workmanship, termed as Parasuram Nataraja (P N) fig 1. Similarly, Badami Nataraja (B N) of late 6th AD in S W India 8, 9 Ellora Nataraja (E N) of 9th AD in W India 10 Chola Nataraja (C N) 11 dt. to 11th AD and the Chennai museum specimen dt. to 13th A D in S India 12 are comparable, immaculate, authentic, specimens.

* Studio Building, Kedar Gouri Road, Bhubaneswar – 751002 INDIA.

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