Sita Swayamvara – Rama lifting King Janaka’s bow
The painting shown in the image is a part of the Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals painted on the ceiling of the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi, Karnataka, India.
It depicts a scene from the Sita Swayamvara episode narrated in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Note: Swayamvara is an ancient Indian practice in which the girl herself chooses the husband. Swayam means self and vara means groom.
According to the story, King Janaka of Videha arranges a swayamvara for the princes who seek his daughter Janaki’s (Sita’s other name) hand in marriage. The suitor must lift the bow that King Janaka inherited from his ancestors. None of the other suitors, including Rama’s nemesis Ravana, succeed in lifting it.
As you can see from the image, Rama, an avatar Vishnu who was born as a prince of Ayodhya, is lifting the King Janaka’s bow above his head. Standing on the right are Sita and her parents, Janaka and Maithili, who are anxiously watching Rama as he is lifting the bow.
– Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
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