Jain images cut on the rock of one of the caverns at Bezawara [Vijayawada]. August 21th 1815
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing dated 21 August 1815, of a figure of the Jain Tirthankara Parshvanatha from Vijayawada (Bezwada) in Andhra Pradesh, taken from an album of 37 drawings (43 folios), including one duplicate, of sculpture at Jajpur, Puri, Bezwada and Sitanagar made during a journey from Bengal through Orissa to the Coromandel Coast, dated 1815. Some drawings are by MacKenzie's draftsmen, J. Newman, J.H. Schencks and Pyari Lal.
Vijayawada, formerly known as Bezwada, was an important centre of the Vishnukundin rulers in the fifth-sixth centuries. The city was taken by the Early Chalukya (later known as Eastern Chalukya) of Badami and became the headquarters of their eastern domains. The strategic position of the town commanding the coastal trading routes of the Bay of Bengal determined its economic importance through the centuries. It is surrounded by picturesque hills with the river Krishna flowing on the south. The remains of Buddhist structures at Vijayawada suggest that there must have been a monastic establishment. When the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang stayed in a monastery in 639 he already noticed the decline of Buddhism. There are five rock-cut cave-temples which were excavated during the Eastern Chalukya period in the 7th century in the hills outside the city centre. The caves have porches with undecorated squat columns and inside have carving of various divinities. In the west part of the city there are other two cave-temples. This drawing represents a sculpture from a rock-cut cave temple, depicting a figure of the Jain Tirthankara Parshvanatha with Dharanendra, the five-hooded serpent friend of Parshvanatha, behind him. A female figure of Nagini, probably the consort of the Naga that shelters Parshvanatha, stands on his right holding an umbrella over his head. On the left of the saviour is a figure seated in an attidude of adoration. Another figure with hands upraised is seen on the left above Parshvanatha.