ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE
the reign of his younger brother and successor Nāgārjuna, and was completed during that
of his youngest brother Māṁvāṇirāja (or Mummuṇirāja) in A.D. 1061.
..The temple stands in a hollow on the bank of a small stream at a short distance east
of the village Ambarnāth. Generally, such temples are erected on a high platform called
jagatī. The reason for the construction of the present temple in a hollow seems to be that the
Śiva-liṅga enshrined there is of the svayambhū (self-existent) type, which the great Sanskrit poet
Bhavabhūti has described as a-paurushēya-pratishṭha (not installed by any man). For the same
reason its garbhagṛiha (sanctum) is eight ft. below the level of its other parts. One has to descend
nine steps to reach the Śiva-liṅga there.
..This temple faces west and measures 60 ft. in length. It must have originally had a small
shrine (dēvakulī) for Nandī (Śiva’s ball), but it has now disappeared. There is a small Nandī
placed in the western porch, but it is not very old. The temple consists of the garbha-gṛiha (sanctum) and the maṇḍapa (hall), both square in shape, which are diagonally connected.
The maṇḍapa is provided with three entrances on the south, west and east sides, each with its
own porch. Cousens has thus described the construction of its parts−“The plan, as will be
seen, is peculiar, being apparently made up of two squares set diagonally to one another,
touching corner to corner−the smaller being the shrine, the larger the hall. But in reality it
is formed of two squares touching side to side, whose sides have been whittled down to narrow
panels by the deep recessing of corners into a line of angles running straight between the
diminishing sides. This produces very unequal thickness in the masonry, but at the same time,
as will be seen in the photograph, these heavy masses come immediately under the heavier
portions of the śikhara above. In the hall, the recesses of the doorways tend to equalise the
thickness of the walls, the weight of the roof being more equally spread over them. Yet these
are places where the masonry seems to be dangerously thin. The projections around the
walls form so many buttresses to strengthen them. As with all this class of old work, the
masonry is put together without cementing material, the stability of the mass depending upon
the weight and the level bedding of the blocks composing it. The varied treatment of the
squares in designing the plans of these temples, the sides being more or less broken up by
projections and recesses, tends to produce somewhat fanciful, yet, nevertheless, pleasinglooking figures.”
The sanctum is thirteen ft. in length and breadth. From some broken ledges of masonry
at the height of eight ft. above the ground level of the sanctum, Cousens inferred that there was
an upper floor of the shrine with a duplicate Śiva-liṅga for daily worship. He thought that the
floor of the upper shrine was crushed down by the fall of the śikhara. This is hardly likely.
As the Śiva-liṅga was svayambhū, the sanctum had to be so much below the level of the maṇḍapa. As several steps were required to reach the low sanctum, the door had to be brought forward,
sacrificing nearly the whole of the breadth of the usual antarāla or antechamber.
The door of the sanctum is 9 ft. high and 4 ft. broad. It has on its architrave the figure
of Śiva engrossed in meditation in the centre with those of a yōgī, an elephant and a lion
by his side. On either side of the door there are three figures, about two ft. high, the central
one, a male figure, having a tiara probably representing the contemporary king, with a male
and a female figure on his two sides. There is a niche on either side of the doorway ; the
right one has an image of Gaṇapati, while the left one is now empty.
..The maṇḍapa has four richly carved pillars forming a square in the centre. They are
ten ft. high and vary in girth from ten ft. at the base to five ft. in the middle. They are nearly
square at the base, change into octagons at about one third of their height, and have round
M.T.D., p. 14. See Plate W, Fig. 29.
Plate B, Fig. 4.