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Arjuna's Penance - An Open Air Bas Relief Mahabalipuram

   If a temple by the sea and, at times, in the sea is a tour de force, the "open air bas relief" is even more so. In Mahabalipuram alone of all innumerable sites of monuments in India sculptor was impelled to choose a large cliff face on which to make his carvings. What is more, he chose a scene from the "Mahabharatha" (also spelt as Mahabharata), which a great Sanskrit dramatist, probably then living in Kanchipuram, had popularised.

This surface, 29m by 13m, consists of two large boulders with a fissure in between. In the cleavage there are a serpent god and a serpent goddess in the act of worship. Covering the surface on the boulders on either side of them there are nearly one hundred figures of Gods, sages semi-divine beings, huge elephants and a few other animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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