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Andhakasura Badh (Shiva slaying Andjaka demon) panel at Elephanta Caves
Andhakasura Badh  (Shiva slaying Andjaka demon) panel at Elephanta Caves

Two views of the Andhakasura Badh (Shiva slaying the Andhaka Demon) panel: This is the panel I like the most in the Elephanta Caves, apart from the supremely powerful and sublime Trimurti panel. It is hard to find a sculpture that expresses so much motion and emotion. Photos cannot do justice to these dynamic sculptures: neither to the workmanship in the painstaking but flawless execution of the hewn rocks, nor to the artistic quality, their depth (3-dimensional quality). In this panel Shiva is shown with multiple sets of arms, as if they are in constant motion. This is an ingenuous way to portray motion and the artist is clearly successful (See the bottom photo).

There are a number of versions of the mythological story behind this panel. The core of the story is that the demon Andhaka (symbolizing darkness), having pleased the God Brahma through severe penances, obtained his wish that he should be very powerful and all should fear him. He then goes on to harass the gods, who all gather around Shiva with the plea to save them.


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Last Revised September 18, 2010

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