Close view of band of narrative sculpture on a column in the Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal 10031888
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a band of narrative sculpture on a column in the Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1880s. Together with Badami and Aihole, Pattadakal was one of the capitals of the Early Chalukya rulers, a powerful dynasty which ruled the Deccan from the 6th century. The site was used for the coronation ceremonies of its rulers. The temples at the site are grouped together and face east. The Virupaksha Temple was built around 745 under the Early Chalukya dynasty to commemorate their victory over the Pallavas at Kanchipuram. In the Chalukyan Architecture of the Canarese District of 1926 Cousens wrote, "The decoration of the pillars shafts consists of broad bands of bas reliefs, connected by central vertical bands with semicircular medallions on each face. Above the horizontal bands is another half medallion. These bands of figures represent scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The poem describes the exile from Ayodhya for fourteen years of the two princes Rama and Lakshmana, their adventures in the forest, the abduction of Sita, wife of Rama by Ravana, demon king of Ceylon and the expedition of the monkey warrior to recover her."