Halebidu Hoysaleswara Temple: Elephants and snakes attacking Prahlada

A relief depicting the story of Prahlada carved into the outer wall of the Halebidu Hoysaleswara Temple in Karnataka, India

Elephants and snakes attacking Prahlada

Story of Prahlada
The image shows a part of the frieze carved into the outer wall of the Halebidu Hoysaleswara Temple in Karnataka, India. It depicts a scene based on an episode narrated in Baghavata Purana, an ancient Indian text, describing the story of a boy named Prahlada for his devotion to Vishnu.

Read more about Prahlada on the following page: Prahlada Story – Slaying of Hiranyakashipu.

The frieze depicts how Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son. Surrounding Prahlada on the left side are the elephants who were sent to trample him but refuse to do so. Surrounding Prahlada on the right side are the poisonous snakes who were sent to bite him but are dancing around him.

Eventually, Vishnu slays Hiranyakashipu by transforming himself into Narasimha (man-lion) and using his bare claws to rip off his entrails.

This incarnation of Vishnu is called Narasimhavatara, and is the fourth avatar of Vishnu. In Sanskrit, Nara means man and Simha means lion. Vishnu in this avatar has a man’s torso with a lion’s face and claws.

Check the page describing the Dashavatara painting on the Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals for a list and description of all the ten avatars of Vishnu.

Prahlada Story Pages
Throwing Prahlada over the precipice
Elephants and snakes attacking Prahlada
Burning of demoness Holika
Vishnu emerging out of a pillar and slaying Hiranyakashipu

Narasimhavatara Pages
Narasimhavatara, the fourth avatar of Vishnu installed in a devakoshta of the Aihole Durga Temple
Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu installed in the outer wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Narasimhavatara sculpture in Cave – 3 of the rock-cut caves of Badami
Ugra Narasimha carved on the lintel of the south garbhagriha door in the Kappe Chennigaraya Temple.

Other Related Pages
Hoysala Temples
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Badami Chalukya Temples
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole

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