Peroor Temple, near Coimbatore. Carved pillar in detail
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Print from an album of 44 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Perur, near the Noyyal river, is 7 kms from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. It is famed for its Pattiswaraswami temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple is said to date originally
from the Chola period and is attributed to Karikala Chola (2nd century AD), but most of it was completed in later centuries. This is one of the Tandavasthalas or Dancehalls of Shiva and has a gold-plated statue of Shiva as Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, explains that this photograph 'gives a more detailed view of the second Pillar at the entrance. It represents the fabulous animal, the Yali, standing on an elephant crouching on the ground.' Yalis (or vyalas in North India) are fantastical feline beasts which symbolise unfettered human passions.