Figure 109. Gangavatarana Karana

Image title: Figure 109. Gangavatarana Karana

Description of the photo

Another yogic posture, seems even acrobatic. Both the legs are lifted backwards up with the spine also bending backwards. The Siras is lifted up with the support of both hands which are rested on the elbows and forearms. The hands seem to be in Tripataka. This feat has to be performed with the body straightening each time by bringing down the legs and the body becoming erect. Again with a jerk he falls forward and attains this position.

This can be identified as Gangavatarana, Karana no. 108. According to its description, “The foot with toes and sole are turned upwards, the hands showing Tripataka are thrown up and then down and the head is also moved similarly.” Gangavataranam [Gangavatarana] means the descent of Ganga from the heavens. Perhaps the forcefulness of the movement represents the descent of the mighty Ganga. Also the raising up of the arms and also the lifting up of the head before bringing it down signifies the heavenly Ganga and thereafter her descent.

Gallery information:

Kumbakonam is considered as one of the holiest places in Tamil Nadu and is known for its temples and Mathas (monasteries which were centres of Brahmanical learning). These photographs depict the connection between the sculptures in the temples and Natya Shastra and related texts dealing with iconography.

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