The image shows a part of the murals painted on the ceiling of the Ranga Mantapa of the Virupaksha Temple located in Hampi, Karnataka, India. Check the Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals for the other images and a detailed explanations of the murals.
The panel depicts the scenes at the wedding of Shiva and Parvati based on Girija Kalyana, an epic poem authored by Harihara, an ancient Kannada poet known for his devotion to Shiva.
Attending the wedding are the pantheon of Hindu gods, including Brahma and Shiva (the other two gods from the Hindu Trinity), Ashta Dikpalas (guardians of eight directions), rishis (sages), devas (demigods), celestial beings such as gandharvas and yakshas, and mythical creatures like kinnaras and kimpurushas. Note: A kinnara is a half-human and half-bird and a kimpurusha is a half-human and half-horse or half-lion
The top panel has kinnaras at extreme ends and the palaces with onlookers in the middle. At the center of the second panel is Shiva trying to hold Parvati’s hands. Standing behind Shiva is Brahma, shown with four heads, and behind Brahma is Vishnu, shown with four hands. The female figure behind Vishnu is most likely Saraswathi because she is carrying a veena. It is not clear why she is standing behind Vishnu. According to some Puranas, Saraswathi is Shiva’s sister.
Behind Vishnu and Lakshmi is Narada, the matchmaker of the Shiva-Parvati alliance, and the horse-faced figure standing next to Narada is Tumburu, a gandharva considered as the best musician among the gandharvas. Notice both Narada and Tumburu are carrying musical instruments on their shoulders.
Standing behind Parvati are her parents – Himavata and Mena – and female attendants. The figures on the last frame with the lion, horse, and elephant heads are the representatives of mythical creatures from the forests.
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
Copyright © 2019 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.