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Pattadakal: Virupaksha Temple – Surya, the sun god, carved into the ceiling


Surya, the sun god
The image shows a beautiful and expressive bas-relief carved into the ceiling near the eastern entrance to the Virupaksha Temple, located in the temple complex at Pattadakal in Karnataka, India.

This intricately carved ubbu-shilpa (bas-relief) appears to depict a sunrise scene at dawn. At the center is Surya, the sun god, riding a seven-horse chariot piercing through the clouds. Note that Surya is also known as Aditya, Savitr, and Pusan. Accompanying him are his consorts Ushas (Goddess of Dawn) and Chhaya (Goddess of Shadow). Both Ushas and Chhaya are pointing their bows upwards, indicating that they are fighting the darkness.

Standing majestically in the chariot is Surya holding a lotus flower with each hand, and surrounding his head is a halo of rays emanating outwards. Behind him is a two-headed mythical creature Makara disgorging yakshas. In front of him is Aruna, Surya’s sarathi (charioteer), holding the reins of seven horses that are charging through the clouds. It appears as though the chariot is piercing through the clouds and splitting them apart.

Surya Related Pages
Statue of Surya standing in the Nandi Temple in the Prambanan Temple complex located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Surya sculpture mounted on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India
Statue of Surya standing in the shrine behind the Nandi Mantapa situated inside the Halebidu Hoysaleswara Temple complex in Karnataka, India

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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