The image shows a narrative sculptural relief depicting Narasimhavatara, the fourth avatar of Vishnu, carved into the lintel of the entrance to the south garbhagriha of the Kappe Chennigaraya Temple.
In this avatar, Vishnu has man’s torso and lion’s face and claws. He adopted this form to kill an asura named Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to take revenge on Vishnu for killing his brother Hiranyaksha in his previous avatar, i.e., Varahavatara.
Check Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu for a detailed explanation of the Narasimhavatara story.
The relief depicts Vishnu with the lion head and human torso having multiple hands with claws. With the body of Hiranyakashipu lying on his lap, Vishnu is seen ripping the entrails of Hiranyakashipu with his claws. On the bottom left is Garuda, Vishnu’s vehicle, kneeling with his hands-folded. Surrounding this relief is a creeper making several circular patterns, each of which contains a small carving.
The Kappe Chennigaraya Temple is situated on the south side of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple complex. Commissioned by Shantala Devi, the pattada rani (principal queen consort) of King Vishnuvardana, the construction of this temple began at the same time as the main temple, i.e., in 1117 CE.
– Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu carved into the outer wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
– Lakshmi – Narasimha mounted on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple
– Narasimhavatara inside Cave – 3 of the four rock-cut caves of Badami
– Dashavatara (Ten Incarnations of Vishnu) painted on the ceiling of Hampi Virupaksha Temple
– 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
– Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
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