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Image of Vishnu sleeping on Sesha (Ananta) during the intervals of creation at Bilas

Image of Vishnu sleeping on Sesha (Ananta) during the intervals of creation at Bilas

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1896

Shelfmark: Photo 1007/3(653)

Item number: 653

Length: 11

Width: 15.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a panel carved with a figure of Vishnu reclining on the serpent Ananta, 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 a popular Hindu creation myth, Vishnu is described as lying in a deep trance on the coils of the cobra Ananta, whose hood curls up to protect him, as can be seen in this photograph. From Vishnu's navel rises a Lotus blossom on which the god Brahma sits, who then brings creation into being.

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