Banteay Srei: Shiva Tandava Nritya – Shiva’s Cosmic Dance

Banteay Srei: Shiva Tandava Nritya (Shiva's Cosmic Dance) carved into the pediment of the east gopura at the inner enclosure of the Banteay Srei Temple in Cambodia.

Shiva Tandava Nritya (Shiva’s Cosmic Dance)

Shiva Tandava Nritya
The image shows the lintel and pediment of the east-facing facade of the eastern gopura (gate) built into the inner enclosure wall of the Banteay Srei Temple located 16 miles northeast of Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The finely-carved bas-relief on the pediment depicts Shiva Tandava Nritya i.e., Shiva performing a vigorous cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction.

The lintel depicts Indra, the king of devas (demigods) and heaven, riding his vehicle Airavata, a three-headed elephant. Each Airavata is shown as a monster-like figure holding the elephant head. As you can see from the image, Indra, whose head is missing, is holding the elephant trunk with the right hand, and the monster head with the left hand. The other two Airavatas are at the ends.

In Hindu mythology, Indra is also one of the Ashta Dikpalas (guardians of the eight directions), and he oversees the east direction. For this reason, the east-facing structures have bas-reliefs of Indra. Check the Ashta Dikpalas page for the images and descriptions of all the eight dikpalas.

As with the other lintels in Banteay Srei, the rest of the space is filled with a beautifully carved creeper.

Related Images
East Gopura and Entrance to the Inner Enclosure of the Banteay Srei Temple
Nataraja Performing Tandava Nritya – Carved in Cave – 1 of the rock-cut caves of Badami in Karnataka, India

Related Pages
Banteay Srei, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Phnom Kulen, Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
Bali, Prambanan, Prambanan Bas-Reliefs, Borobudur, Indonesia
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4

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