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Image of Vishnu and of his Avatars at Bilas

Image of Vishnu and of his Avatars at Bilas

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1896

Shelfmark: Photo 1007/3(652)

Item number: 652

Length: 10.5

Width: 14.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a panel carved in relief from Bilas in Rajasthan, taken by an unknown photographer for the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Northern Circle (North-Western Provinces and Oudh) in 1896-97. Bilas is a site hidden in the dense jungle, about 65 miles east of Kotah. The archaeological remains consist of ruined dwelling-houses, palaces and temples that are Shaiva, Vaishnava or Jain and are of an ancient city formerly called Suvarna-panari-pura. The most recent inscription discovered at the site dates to the 14th century and refers to an earthquake that most likely brought about the demise of the city. In this photograph, the god Vishnu stands in the middle of a carved panel surrounded by male and female attendants. The miniature figures on the top depict his avataras (incarnations). In Hindu mythology, Vishnu is known to take on one of ten forms: Matsya the Fish, Kurma the Tortoise, Varaha the Boar, Narasimha the Lion, Vamana the Dwarf, Parashurama is 'Rama with the Axe', Rama the Hero, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki is the incarnation yet to come.

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