Stupas in Orissa (Study)

by Meenakshi Chauley | 2013 | 109,845 words

This study examines the Stupas and Votive Stupas in Odisha or Orissa (Eastern India).—In this thesis an attempt has been made to trace the historicity of Buddhism in Odisha on the basis of the architectural development of the Stupa architecture. Archaeological evidence obtained from excavated sites dates such structures as early as third-second cen...

Emanations of Amoghasiddhi


Tara (Plate-CXLIV)occupies the same position in the Buddhist pantheon as the great goddess Durga does in the Hindu religion. She is considered to be the personified energy (sakti) of her consort and to have manifested herself in innumerable forms, benign as well as terrific. Tara is believed to be the consort of Dhyani-Buddha Amoghasiddhi. She is also the Bodhisattva of great compassion, by whom she is said to have been charged with the alleviation of the miseries of all beings. She occupies the position of the supreme goddess in Buddhism of Mahayana and Tantrayana affiliations.

The word Tara or Tarini, by which name this great goddess is known, seems to have been derived from the root tar i.e. ‘to cross’. In this sense the worship of the goddess is said to help the devotee to the ocean of existence. Alternatively, the root tar means also ‘to save’ or ‘protect’ and as such Tara is also recognized to be the saviour goddess protecting her worshippers from all the evils of existence. These two aspects in her conception may account for her great popularity and estimation among the Buddhist; and to these is also added the ‘mother concept’ since she is regarded as the mother of all Buddha’s and Bodhisattva’s. Between the eight and twelfth century, when tantric ideas overwhelmed Buddhism, the popularity of goddess Tara increased to a great extant. That she had gained ascendancy over other divinities of the Buddhist pantheons is known from one of her Sadhanas her mantra–‘Om Tara tuttare tare svaha’: is considered to be endowed with great power and as the lord of mantras adored, Worshipped, and recited by all Tathagathas.

Innumerable are the forms of this great goddess of the Buddhist pantheon having separate existence and functions. Like Ekajata, Parnasabari, Mahachina Tara etc are believed to be her manifestations.

Tara manifests herself in benign as well as terrific forms. In Indian art of Buddhist usage the terrific forms are very rarely represented.


Parnsabari is the goddess who prevents out-breaks of epidemic and assures safety to the terror stricken. She is depicted in yellow complexion with three faces, three eyes and six arms; her face at the centre is blue, the right white and the left red and has a smiling face (Plate-CLXV). She is adorned with jewels, holds a vajra, a parasu and arrow in her right hands and in her left tarjani with the noose, cluster of leaves and the bow. Her jatamukata bears the image of Aksobhaya. In some instances Parnasabri is shown standing in pratyalidha posture on the moon over the white lotus, trampling Vighnas (Ganesha) under her feet. But in Orissa from Ratnagiri just one stupa bearing the image of goddess is reported seated in paryankasana posture on a double petalled lotus and Ganesha is not depicted in this stupa

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: