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, about 16 miles northeast of Siem Reap, Cambodia.

This beautiful bas-relief carved into 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. In this bas-relief, each head of Airvata is associated with a monster like figure. As you can see, Indra, whose head is missing, is in the middle with one of the elephant heads to his right. The other two heads are at the ends. Notice that Indra is holding the elephant trunk with his right hand, and the monster head with his left hand. A monster figure is above the head of the elephant at each end.

In Hindu mythology, Indra is also one of the Ashta Dikpalas (guardians of the eight directions), whose responsibility is to guard 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
Eastern gopura and Entrance to the Inner Enclosure of the Banteay Srei Temple
Nandi in front of the east gopura
Shiva Tandava Nritya
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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