1.21.2005

Draupadi Ratha

This very clearly represents a hut from a rural area, largely from bengal. Its part of a museum of architecture which also emphasizes in all this the iconography of every diety. The draupadi ratha is dedicated to goddess durga, which is re-emphasized by the lion in front of it, which is the vahana(vehicle) of the goddess.



The dwarapalas are replaced by female attendants or shalabhajikas, who are representations of fertility, the original concept being taken from yakshi cults prevelant in north india. The entrance has an elaborate makara torana which has initially been seen in very early pallava caves later dominating the cholan architecture.

The main shrine on the inside has the goddess in the centre with two attendants on either side among others, one in the act of cutting his head off in repect to the goddess. This is indeed very interesting as the ruling cults of Orissa and Bengal are of mother goddess and largely tantric in nature, which involved human sacrifices as part of their rituals. Maybe the rathas tried to explain a lot more than be mere museums of architecture. The dwarapalikas or the salabhanjikas on the outside have a very seductive welcoming gesture, but what is depicted inside is quite a different story.



This gives the same feeling as the Vittal Deul temple at Chaurasi in Orissa, where the external walls depict acts of seduction while the interior depicts bhairava and kali with scenes of human sacrifices. What really needs to be understood is that the societies were very open towards esoteric cults and such practices were not considered evil, and were very prevelant around the regions of Orissa and bengal.

There was therefore a mingling of cultural practices, and this was not restricted to politics and architecture as has been believed earlier.


1 comment:

pooja said...

Interesting comment about the seductive exterior and its opposite in the interior...never looked at it like that!