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  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, black yoni
    Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, black yoni

    In the courtyard of the dargah is this black stone yoni with a hole where a linga would have been attached. According to local legend, this dargah was erected on land that had previousy supported a Hindu Temple. The Muslim builders were able to remove the linga but the yoni base was too heavy and too firmly entrenched in the ground to move. The dargah was built and this Hindu symbol of female divine energy remains in the courtyard as a reminder of past history.

  • Thumbnail for Bhajan singing 1
    Bhajan singing 1

    Singers from the Rama Temple in Ellora sing devotional songs (bhajans) to Rama, Krishna, and other Vaishnava deities. Accompanying the singers are musicians playing the harmonium, hand cymbals, and drum. As this gathering was on a cool January evening (2003), the singers are wrapped in woolen scarves and sweaters.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, mango detail
    Ellora Hindu Caves, mango detail

    Mango tree limbs, laden with fruit, are carved over doorways in the caves as auspicious symbols of fertility and good fortune.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Gajalakshmi
    Kailash Cave Temple, Gajalakshmi

    This auspicious image of the goddess, Gajalakshmi, framed by her royal elephants stands at the entrance to the Kailash Cave Temple complex. Gajalakshmi, along with her elephants, was churned fully formed from the Milky Ocean. She indicates good fortune and wealth for all who enter.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with Apsaras and Gandharvas
    Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with Apsaras and Gandharvas

    God of desire, Kamadeva, and his consort Rati are flanked by their assistants, a sensuous apsaras or heavenly nymph and gandharvas who are charming celestial musicians.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Shiva linga with no beginning or end
    Kailash Cave Temple, Shiva linga with no beginning or end

    The wall sculpture illustrates the tale of Vishnu and Brahma who find they are no match for the mighty Shiva whose power symbolized in his lingam has no beginning or end.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 3
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 3

    Auspicious figures of amorous couples in small stone niches adorn the magnificent Kailash Cave Temple, cave #16 in the series of Ellora Caves. These figures represent fertility and good fortune for all who see them.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga
    Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga

    Mata Ganga stands in this shrine niche on top of her vahana, the makara. A representation of the River Ganga, she stands next to two other river goddesses, Yamuna and Saraswati.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, fire altar
    Ellora, Datta Temple, fire altar

    At this Temple devoted to Datta, a Shaivite ascetic who lives in a nearby cave, tends this altar and performs daily fire rituals.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha
    Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha

    The Manu Stambha stands just inside the temple courtyard.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rules
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rules

    At the doorway to the shrine of the temple, men are asked in Marathi, Hindi, and English to remove their upper garments and leather belts out of respect. Everyone removes their shoes at the door.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze Venugopala Krishna
    Bronze Venugopala Krishna

    This item has been provided with a separate “flute†that is not part of the original design. The wear on the figure indicates many decades of worship (puja). Given its size it was probably used in the household shrine of a prosperous family. For instructional purposes it would be useful in illustrating a local, South Asian mode of ritually engaging images that stands in sharp contrast with the exclusively visual experience authorized following the re-classification of such icons as ""art"" objects. From the Bengal state.

  • Thumbnail for Dasavataras, Visnu's ten incarnations - one of set of ten
  • Thumbnail for Dasavataras, Visnu's ten incarnations - one of set of ten
  • Thumbnail for Dasavataras, Visnu's ten incarnations - one of set of ten
  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati
    Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati

    Shiva takes Parvati's hand to lead her around the sacred fire to solemnize their wedding. Attending the ceremony are dozens of celestial apsaras and gandharvas to dance and sing, as well as Brahma and Vishnu at Shiva's left. The couple standing next to Parvati may be her parents, Himalaya and Meena.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Hindu Caves, Shiva kills Andhaka
    Ellora, Hindu Caves, Shiva kills Andhaka

    In Cave 29, Dhumar Lena, Shiva is depicted with eight arms carrying different weapons to kill the demon Andhaka. This is a huge wall sculpture approximately 25 feet high, demonstrating the power of Shiva.

  • Thumbnail for Bhajan singing 2
    Bhajan singing 2

    As noted in the description for Bhajan singing 1, audience members as well as singers are wrapped in woolen shawls enjoying the devotional songs in the winter night air.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, entrance
    Kailash Cave Temple, entrance

    In the 8th and 9th centuries CE, the Kailash Cave Temple was carved out of the volcanic rock that formed countless plateaus in the western ghats (small mountain range), part of the geological formation known as the Deccan Plateau. Part of a group of 34 caves carved into the side of this plateau, Kailash, cave number 16, is monumental by any standards. The Kailash rock-cut temple stands 30 meters (99 feet) high, 52 meters (170 feet) in length, and 33 meters (108 feet) wide. The other 33 caves, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain, were created by digging into the side of the plateau much like other cave dwellings, but Kailash appears to have been literally excavated from the top in order to create a free-standing temple encircled by smaller cave shrines.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple
    Ellora, Datta Temple

    Datta, a combination of Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva, is a god most familiar in Maharashtra. While most Hindu temples display images of various gods and goddesses throughout, as does this temple, this Datta Temple places all three gods in its innermost shrine, reserved for the primary deity of the temple. The ancient sacred Sanskrit syllable, AUM, is placed above the doorway to the inner sanctum. The intense orange-yellow color dominating the temple assoicates with ascetic practices.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharva
    Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharva

    This carving of a gandharva or celestial musician on an outside wall behind the main part of the temple appears to be attached to the wall with a post. This depiction makes the gandharva appear to be flying in mid-air, an appropriate pose for a celestial musician not bound by the gravity of earth.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 2
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 2

    Auspicious figures of amorous couples in small stone niches adorn the magnificent Kailash Cave Temple, cave #16 in the series of Ellora Caves. These figures represent fertility and good fortune for all who see them.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati, close-up
    Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati, close-up

    A closeup of the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvati. See also cbind0102.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure
    Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure

    This image of an ascetic in a modified lotus position sits in a niche in the upper outside wall of the temple.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple

    Performing puja to the deity of the temple, Ganapathy, the priest offers the flame.