Shiva with his vehicle Nandi
Installed inside a devakoshta (niche) of the Durga Temple at Aihole is a stunningly beautiful sculpture of Shiva with his vehicle Nandi. Standing with an elegant tribhanga (bent in three places) stance and displaying a serene facial expression, Shiva is gently leaning on Nandi standing behind him. Standing to his left is a diminutive gana, an attendant of Shiva, with Nandi’s tail covering his head. Shiva is multi-armed (some of them are broken or missing), and his hands carry a variety of objects that include a damaru (drum-like instrument), and pāsha (noose) and japamāla (prayer beads).
As you can see from the image, Shiva is wearing a variety of jewelry, including a necklace, anklets, armbands and udiyana (waistband). He is also wearing the yajnopavita, a looped thread sacred to Hindus worn across the chest from the left shoulder to the waist.
There are six devakoshtas built into the inner wall of the covered pradakshinapatha (circumambulation path) that surrounds the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) and the sabhamantapa (congregation hall) of the temple. The jālandharas (perforated stone windows) occupy the space between the devakoshtas.
Here is the list of sculptures in the six devakoshtas:
1. East: Shiva with his vehicle Nandi – Current image
2. Middle: Narasimhavatara, the fourth avatar of Vishnu
3. West: Vishnu riding Garuda
– Durga Temple at Aihole
– Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
– Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
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