Close view of carved figure of Ganga at base of pillar of gopura of the Narasimha Temple, Ahobilam
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a carved figure of Ganga at the base of the gopura of the Narasimha Temple at Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. Ahobilam is an important Vaishnava pilgrimage site and the principal place of worship of Narasimha, the lion-man incarnation of Vishnu. There is a one temple complex in lower Ahobilam, seen in this view, and another in upper Ahobilam. The temples were begun by the Reddi rulers of the 14th century and reconstructed in the late 15th and 16th centuries under the Vijayanagara rulers. The complex consists of nine shrines dedicated to the nine different forms of Narasimha. The Narasimha Temple at lower Ahobilam dates from the mid-16th century. It stands in a walled compound and consists of a shrine approached through a large open hall and minor shrines. It is entered through a pyramidal gopura or gateway on the east. The gopura is elaborately carved with elongated pilasters and figures of divinities. This view shows a figure of the river goddess Ganga carved on the base of the gopura. She is standing on her vehicle, the makara, an aquatic monster.