Somanathapura Keshava Temple: Mohiniavatara

Mohini - A sculpture depicting female avatar of Vishnu carved on the outer wall of Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Mohini – A female avatar of Vishnu

Mohini – A female avatar of Vishnu
Mohiniavatara is a minor avatar of Vishnu. In this avatar, he appears as a seductress woman. Note: Moha means infatuation or crush. Mohini means seductress.

According to Hindu mythology, Mohini is a by-product of the Samudra Manthana (Churning of the Ocean of Milk), which was a collaborative effort by devas (demigods) and asuras (demons) to produce amrita, the nectar of immortality. Using the seven-headed snake called Vasuki as the rope and Mount Mandara as the churning rod, the devas and asuras tugged Vasuki to churn the ocean for thousands of years to produce amrita. Vishnu assumed the form of a turtle (See Kurmavatara) and went under Mount Mandara to enable churning.

Once the churning produced amrita, asuras cleverly stole all of it. When Vishnu realized that asuras have amrita, he appeared as a young beautiful woman, a femme fatale, who enticed the asuras and successfully grabbed amrita back from them and gave it to the devas.

Related Images
Mohini Pillar standing inside the navaranga of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Dashavatara (Ten incarnations of Vishnu) – A painting in the Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals

Related Pages
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
Angkor Wat Temple, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Banteay Srei Temple in Cambodia

Copyright © 2019 – 2020 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.