A garden with sculpture

12th centiry CE

Someone from the museum in Mumbai had recommended the Indore museum very highly. “Small, but wonderful collection” she said. I remembered later that she also said “Some of it is very well curated.” It was not clear to me whether the garden behind the museum was well curated. Some wonderful stone sculptures were on display there, but not everything was legibly labeled. Most of the pieces in the garden seemed to have been carved sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries. Some of them are in the slideshow below. As always, you can click on one and scroll through if you want a closer look.

The beautiful four armed female goddess in tribhanga pose was hard to identify; one hand holds a kalasha (pot); the only other hand which remains holds an enigmatic symbol which I cannot identify. The featured image was labelled as being from the 12th century CE. It seems to be part of a longer panel. The part that one could see was a little jewel. There were two attractive memorial pillars from Mandsaur made in the 13th century CE. The one which was more complete is topped by a padmashirshaka, or inverted lotus. Above the lotus is a broken piece, perhaps the remains of a kalasha which would traditionally complete the top. Right at the back of the garden was a part of a bracket or wall which showed some disembodied limbs. These were so beautifully carved that I would have liked to know more about it.

It had rained hard at night and parts of the garden were quite wet. I negotiated the damp patches in the path, looking as much at squirrels which ran over the sculptures as at the pieces themselves. The brilliant green of monsoon and the somber gray stone went well together. I wonder whether this is how the classic Paramara era temples looked when they were in use: stone structures in the middle of growth and nature.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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