'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pictures From Badami - And The 'Seated Vishnu'

This site has several photographs from Badami - the art and the landscape - and some general 'gyan' too. Here are Aihole and Pattadakal .

And here is the top-level index page with links to pages on several other sites.

Unfortunately, we did not know of these pages before our recent trip, on which I have written here , here and here .


Here is a photo of the Seated Vishnu cave sculpture I had mentioned in the last post with a remark about its resemblance to the idol at the Tripunithura temple in Kerala ( here is an online picture). This particular 'royal' form of Vishnu is quite rare - indeed as far as I know, there is no other such sculpture or idol from Kerala. From Tamil Nadu, there seem to be only very few specimens - there, Vishnu is traditionally shown standing stiffly or reclining - hardly ever seated; and even if seated, not on a 'snake-throne'. Anyways, here is yet another example from Karnataka - of Hoysala origin - which resembles the Tripunithura idol even more.

Although Tripunithura lies deep within Kerala, the place seems to have had a long association with Karnataka - for instance the priests at the temple have traditionally been Tulu-speaking Brahmins from coastal Karnataka - so this seated Vishnu design could well have been borrowed from there.

While on Vishnu icons, one senses a strong Mahayana Buddhist influence in their evolution. The general depiction of Vishnu - as a handsome and heavily bejewelled youth - seems to hark back to paintings and statues of Bodhisatva Avalokiteswara - and it is conceivable that the idol of Badrinath, Vishnu sitting in meditation, originally 'belonged' to Avalokiteswara (and indeed, some forms of Siva too, 'Kalyanasundara' for instance, seem to betray Buddhist influence). And perhaps the reclining Vishnu image was an adaptation of the 'Sleeping Buddha'.

Update (Jan 2011): A sitting Vishnu relief that dates back to the Gupta period can be seen at the Dashavatara temple at Deogarh, UP (Wiki).


  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger Myna said…

    The observation on Seated Vishnu is commendable. Not many, I belong to them, do such study while visiting places. Interesting! More than that I might change my style when a I visit a place next time.

  • At 6:25 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    thanks myna.

    as they say, god is in the details! if you see the site i had linked to in this post, you can see things probed far more intimately.

    i would also recommend the travel writings of bruce chatwin for gaining practice and inspiration in looking at things as a traveler - for a while chatwin had held me in a powerful spell. another guy who freaks out on details (at a much higher level) is jorge luis borges, of whom, i have read but very little.

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Myna said…

    Thanks for the photos and links. Sometimes I wonder whether people visit places just because they wanted to tell others (that they visited these places). I have seen such people rushing from one spot to another just to finish off the items in the agenda.

  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    i am also among the folks you describe. i like to tell (and sometimes keep telling) others and also myself: "hey, when i visited ....!"

    if one aspires for a higher level, here is a taoist(?) saying: "the good traveler does not know where he is going. the great traveler does not know where he is coming from!". THAT is not my trip, yet :)


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