ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE
to adorn its walls, e.g. that of Sarasvatī, are exactly like those on the walls of the Kōppēśvara
temple. They must have been carved by the same śilpins. This shows that this temple also
is of the Śilāhāra age. It has a beautiful spire decorated with horizontal bands of niches with
carved figures in them.
As several temples of the Śilāhāra age have now disappeared, there are very few sculptures of the time now available for study. We have to content ourselves with the description
of those that decorate the temples of Ambarnāth and Khidrāpur, and some others discovered
There are different kinds of images. Some are meant for decoration. They are fixed
on the walls of temples. Others are meant for worship. They are more artistically carved.
As the temples at Ambarnāth and Khidrāpur are of the Śiva cult, the object of worship
in them is the Śiva-liṅga. But there were other images carved in the round meant for installation
in sacred shrines. From them one can form an estimate of the sculptural skill of the age.
We shall take a few of them here for description.
Brahmā− Temples of Brahmā were rarely erected. There is only a single reference to
such a temple in the inscriptions of the Śilāhāras edited here, viz., that in the Kolhāpur plates
of Ganḍarāditya dated Śaka 1048. Images of Brahmā were affixed to the walls of temples
dedicated to Śiva and Vishṇu. There is one such image of Brahmā of the āliṅgana-mūrti type
affixed to a wall of the Ambarnāth temple. It has been described before.
As there are very few temples of Brahmā, his images intended for worship are extremely
rare. One such was found at the temple on the west bank of the Rāmakuṇḍa at Sopārā
(ancient Śūrpāraka) in the Ṭhāṇā District. It is a standing sammukha image of the god,
wearing a jaṭā-mukuṭa. Of his three faces which are seen, the middle one only has a beard.
The god holds the akshamālā and sruch in the lower and upper right hands, and the kamaṇḍalu
and the pōthī (unbound book) in the lower and upper left hands. He wears a yajñōpavīta and
an udarabandha, besides other ornaments and a long garland reaching below his knees. The
tassels of his girdle are shown hanging down in front. On either side of the god appears a
female figure carrying a bundle of kuśa grass. There is, besides, his vehicle, the swan, on his
left, and an attendant on his right. The image seems to have been left unfinished, but it is
a good handiwork of the age.
Sridhara−The Śilāhāras of Koṅkaṇ were devotees of Śiva. Though they themselves
built no temples of Vishṇu, inscriptions of the age mention several shrines of the god erected
by their officers and subjects. They are not, however, existing at present. But some images
of Vishṇu, either previously installed in them or meant for them, have been found. One of
them was discovered in the Jondhaḷī Baug on the Ṭhāṇā-Āgrā road and is wrothy of note.
From the weapons held in its hands, the image appears to be of the Śrīdhara type.
It measures 125 cm. in height and is standing in the sambhaṅga pose. Vishṇu holds the lotus,
the discus, the mace and the conch in his hands and wears several necklaces and a torque.
His yajñōpavita and champakamālā are prominently seen. He has a high karaṇḍa-mukuṭa with
a lotus prabhāvalī appearing behind it. He wears beautiful ear-ornaments, bracelets and
anklets, and the folds of his lower garment are shown falling gracefully in front. He has a
See No. 48, line 26.
See Pl. P, Fig. 20.
See Pl. U, Fig. 26.
See पद्मं चक्रं गदा शाङ्अर्ग श्रीधरे श्रीनिकेतने। Aparājitapṛichchhā, ed. by P. A. Mankad, p. 554. According to the
Rūpamaṇḍana, such an image is called Padmanābha. See Hindu Iconography, Vol. I, p. 229. The present
image has an akshamālā in stead of a lotus in the lower right hand.