Abhidha Journal

Abhidha

Journal of Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Abhidha

Journal of Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Title:

Anwa: A Unique Vaishnavi

Author:

Snehal Tambulwadikar-Khedkar

Abstract:

The Siva temple at Anwa is an extremely interesting temple site from 12th century CE in proximity to Ajanta and Ellora Cave structures, which puts it on the Dakshinapatha revived in the medieval period. The temple shows very interesting architecture style that seems to be in the transition period from Nagara to the more elaborate Bhumija. Although much small in scale, it has the outer mandapa that reminds of lineage to Gujarat Modhera Sun temple of Solankis and even closer to the Kopeshwar Siva Temple at Khidrapur near Kolhapur. The focus in this article though is more towards the unique Vaishnavis, or the prakritis of Vishnu. The depiction of Saptamatrikas or seven mother goddesses is quite common the western and southern part of India seen abundantly from 9th century CE onwards, although a number of saptamatrka images of pre-Gupta and Gupta period, from 4th-6th century CE have also been found in Western India. Women depictions of Durga as Mahisasuramardini, Mahalakshami, Gajalakshami, river goddesses, Gayatri, Parvati and Lakshami (wives of Brahma, Siva and Visnu) has been seen on many temples. Very creative depiction of Kali, Shalabhanjika (fertility goddess) and yakshis and surasundaris have been seen on temples too. But a temple dedicated to depiction of only Vaishanvis is quite unique! In this preliminary observational article, attempt is to analyse the inspiration of this unique iconography and appreciate the exquisite quality of sculpture achieved by the artists.