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4.1 Introduction

The Kamakhya temple is considered as one of the celebrated religious

centres of the World. The temple is dedicated to Mother Goddess Kamakhya, who
is another form of Parvati. The Kamakhya temple is situated at the top of the
Nilachala hill in Guwahati city of Assam. The temple is considered as an
important place for Sakti as well as Tantric worship. The temple is not only
famous for its religious background, but the temple is recognizable for the
sculptural activities also. Though the temple is in ruin condition now, but the
original structure of the stone built sanctum still exists, in which the sikhara part
is reconstructed in later time. Different kinds of sculptural images are displayed in
most of the wall surfaces of the temple. Numerous images of life size are carved
out on the outer walls of the garbhagriha, which is the original part of the temple
building. Besides, abundant sculptural pieces are lying scattered over the
Nilachala hill. The nature of the sculptures reveals that the sculptural parts are not
carved in a single period, in which the images carry the characteristic features of
different times because the temple was reconstructed many times. Some of the
carvings reveal that the sculptural works of the temple were influenced by the
Gupta artistic works. In this context, Banerji remarked that at least, three different
periods of construction were visualised indicating the date from the 8"' century A.
D to the l?"" century A. D (1924-25).

The actual time of construction of the temple is not known. According to

Gait, originally the temple was built around the 4"" -5'^ century A. D (2010). There
was a traditional belief that Kalapahar, a Muslim iconoclast from Bengal
completely destroyed the original form of the Kamakhya temple. It was also
widely known that the iconoclast Kalapahar destroyed the most of the old Hindu
temples of Assam. But any authentic historical evidences are unavailable to give
support this idea. According to the inscription of the Kamakhya temple, Koch

emperor, Naranarayana reconstructed the temple over the ruins of the old structure
in 1565 A. D.

4.2 Historical Background of Kamakhya Temple

It was known that the first Koch emperor, Biswa Singha, father of
Naranarayana rebuilt the Kamakhya temple over the ruins of temple. In addition.
Gait mentioned, ''Biswa Singha noM> became a great patron of Hinduism. He
revived the worship of Kamakhya, rebuilt her temple on the Nilachala hill near
Guwahati, and imported numerous Brahmans from Kanouj, Beanares and other
centre of learning'" (1905). The references as well as visual evidences reveal that
the temple was reconstructed many times. It can be said that the different features
of the sculptures are undoubtedly displayed.

Koch emperor, Naranarayana or Malla Deb and his brother rebuilt the
Kamakhya temple, where two rock inscriptions were engraved on the inside wall
of the temple informing about the rebuilding of the temple. Two rock cut figures
were also sculpted on the inner wall of the temple building. The figures were
identified as Naranarayana and his brother. According to inscription, ''Glory to
the king Malla Deb, who by virtue of his mercy, is kind to the people. He is a
worshiper of Kamakhya. His younger brother Sukladeb built this temple of bright
stones on the Nila hillock, for the worship of the Goddess Durga, in 1487 Sak
(1565 A. D)" (1905).

Originally, the concept of Kamakhya derived from a tribal Mother

Goddess. In this context, Kakati remarked, "This mother cult of Kamakhya must
have belonged to certain matriarchal tribes like the Khasis and the Garos"
(1989). Further, he mentioned that the area of the Kamakhya temple was
inhabitant of two aboriginal matriarchal tribes like the Khasis and the Garos. In
addition, "As the innumerable names of Goddess are mostly names of local
Goddesses both Aryan and non-Aryan, it may be suspected that the formation
Kama in Kamakhya is of extra-Aryan origin'' (Kakati, 1989). Further it was
stated, "Yoni-Goddess sprang up amongst peoples with leaning towards ancestor-
worship and believing in the protective powers of an Ancestral Mother and that
she migrated into Assam with the migrations of the Austric peoples'' (Kakati,

1989). It was thought that the mythical emperor, Naraka was the responsible for
the foundation of the Devi worship in Kamakhya temple (Choudhury, 1987).

From ancient time, Kamrupa was considered as the famous centre for
Sakta cult, which was the stronghold in Kamakhya temple. Saktism is accepted as
the cult of worship of female Goddess, who is the supreme deity. Conceptually,
Tantricism and Saktism, which are the modes of religion, appear in the same line.
The female deities are worshipped in various iconographic forms such as Durga,
Kali, Uma, Kamakhya, Tara, Candi, Camunda, Vindhyavasini, Sakambhari etc
(Barpujari, 1990). Literary evidences mentioned that most of the emperors of
Kamrupa had great faith in Tantricism. In addition, the rulers of ancient Assam,
probably after Brahmapala, adopted Tantricism as their tenet and, as a result of
this royal patronage; Kamakhya became a renowned centre of Tantric sacrifices,
mysticism and sorcery (Bahadur, 1933). In Kamakhya temple. Mother Goddess is
worshipped in phallic representation. The form of yoni is worshiped, which
symbolises the creative organ of the female. The discovery of phallic emblems of
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro proved that the phallus worship prevailed among the
people of Indus Valley Civilization.

Influence of Buddhism is another important matter for the Kamakhya

temple. Among the numerous sculptures of Hinduism, two rock cut images of
Buddha are observed on the way to Kamakhya temple. The Buddhist Tantric text
Sadhanamala mentions the four pithas of the cult. They are the Kamakhya or
Kamarupa, Srihatta, Pumagiri and Odiyana (Barpujari, 1990). Choudhury
mentioned that possibly some relics of the Buddha were carried to Assam and
enshrined in a place near Guwahati, probably at Kamakhya, where a relic casket
of stone had been found in which certainly some ashes of the Buddha are kept,
over which a Stupa or Caitya was raised (Choudhury, 1987). From the sculptural
evidences as well as literary evidences, it can be said that the Kamakhya temple is
totally influenced by the Buddhism.

4.3 Origin of Temple with the Legends

A good number of mythological stories as well as oral legends are

associated to the origin of Kamakhya temple. According to the Kalika Pwana,
once, the father of Sati, Daksa organised a sacrificial programme. In his sacrificial
programme, Daksa invited to all Gods and Goddesses excluding his son-in-low,
Siva and his daughter Sati. Daksa disliked Siva due to his appearance and that was
the reason for uninviting. On hearing the news of sacrificial programme of
father's house, Sati went to the sacrificial programme without invitation. Looking
at Sati, Daksa became angry and scandalised to her husband Siva. This incident
was unbearable for her and finally Sati gave up her body. On hearing the news,
Siva became furious and went to his father-in-law's house. Destroying the
sacrificial alter; Siva carried the dead body of Sati on his shoulder and roamed
around the whole universe or tribhuvana. All Gods and Goddesses became fearful
and finally then Lord Vishnu started secretly to detach the whole body of Sati into
fifty one pieces with his chakra. On where every piece had fallen down, every
place turned into \v[vpom.nX pithasthana. It is thought that the 3^0/7/ part of Sati had
fallen down on top of the Nilachala hill. Kalika Purana mentioned that the yoni
part of Sati existed in the form of a stone in the Kamakhya p/7/2a (2010).

Another oral legend associated with Goddess Kamakhya. According to

legend, once, the powerful mythical king of Pragjyotisa (the old name of
Kamrupa), Naraka wanted to marry Kamakhya Devi. When emperor proposed to
Devi, She replied that if Devi would marry Naraka then he had to fulfil some
desires. Without delay, emperor agreed to fulfil her condition. Devi told that
Naraka had to build a path from bottom of the Nilachala hill to the top where
Kamakhya temple existed within a night. To fulfil the desire of Goddess
Kamakhya, Naraka started to build the path and it was so fast that it was going to
be almost finished. Cleverly, Devi immediately sent a cock to declare the dawn.
When the cock started to crow, Naraka became angry with the cock. His work was
not completed till then and Naraka chased and killed the cock. Therefore, the
place, on which cock was, killed known as Kukurakata. The path, which was
constructed as half done by Naraka is locally known as Mekhela ujuwa bat.

A historical legend was connected with Biswa Singha, who was the
rebuilder of the Kamakhya temple. The first ruler of Koch dynasty Biswa Singha
and his brother Siva Singha were busy in most of times in battle against the Ahom
emperors. Once, during the time of battle, unfortunately, one night, the brothers
were unable to find their army and both of them roamed here and there. At last,
they did not find out their groups and feeling thirst, they reached the top of the
Nilachala hill. At that time, an old woman was worshiping on the Nilachala hill.
After reaching the place, the woman offered drinking water and informed them
that there was apitha of Devi Goddess and Devi always fulfilled the desires of the
devotees. Immediately, both of them started to pray Devi Goddess for help them
in finding out their armies. They also prayed that if Devi fulfilled their desire, they
would build a golden temple on the pitha and regularly they would manage for
worship to Devi. After sometime, suddenly they met their groups. Then Biswa
Singha kept three pieces of ikara (a kind of reed) and a diamond ring in the water
pond from where they drunk water to relief their thirst. He expressed his desire to
Devi that if he could find all these things in the water of Ganga River of the holy
place of Kasi, he then would believe the divine power of Devi. But astonishingly,
that miracle had happened in the River of Ganga during the time of ritualistic bath
of Biswa Singha. He found all these things which he kept in the pond of Nilachala
hill. His mind was full of faith to Devi and reminded his promise of constructing
the temple on the Nilachala hill. He returned from Kasi and started to excavate the
site and discovered the yonipitha. Biswa Singha tried to construct the temple
using brick, but he failed again and again. Since, he had a promise that he had to
construct the temple using gold. One night, Devi appeared in his dream and
advised him to put a rati (a very small local measurement) of gold in the middle
of the each piece of bricks in constructing the temple building. Doing so, Biswa
Singha succeeded to build the temple (2010).

Another similar legend was associated with Naranarayana regarding about

the construction of the Kamakhya temple. When Naranarayana and his brother
Chilarai were busy in battle with the Ahom emperors, at that time, Kalapahar, the
general of Sulaiman Karrani of Bengal, attacked Kamrupa and destruct the
Kamakhya temple. On returning Journey from the battle, Naranarayana and
Chilarai noticed the disastrous condition of the Kamakhya temple and decided to

rebuild the temple after their invasion of Bengal. At the time of fighting with
Bengal, Chilarai became captive under the Bengal armies. He then realised about
the delay of reconstructing the temple. Realising his mistake, Chilarai started to
pray Devi. During the time of confinement of Chilarai, mother of Suleiman
Karrani had bitten by a snake. Chilarai knew the mantra about how to cure from
snakebite. Applying his mantra, mother of Suleiman was cured. Suleiman became
happy and released Chilarai from their captive. Returning from Bengal, Chilarai
informed his brother, Naranarayana about the incidents and immediately took
responsibility to renovate the Kamakhya temple. Naranarayana handed over this
responsibility to Meghamukdum. He started the work using stone materials to
build the temple. At first, Meghamukdum was unable to construct the temple. In
one night. Goddess Parvati appeared in his dream and advised him about the
construction of the temple. Devi informed him to use the brick fired with clarified
ghee in the construction. Following the rule of Devi, Meghamukdum had
succeeded to build the temple (2010).

Therefore, numerous mythologies, oral legends, which are recorded in the

Puranas are involved behind the growth of the Kamakhya temple. There are no
any available authentic evidences that when the temple was built, but it is
assumed the constructing fime from the characteristic features of the temple
architecture or the available sculptures engraved on the temple wall.

4.4 Sculptures of Kamakhya Temple

Architecturally, the temple follows the Nagara style of architecture. The

reconstructed temple contains five chambers such as the main temple or vimana,
jagamohana, bhogamandapa and natmandir. A great verity of ornamental
sculptures is found in different architectural complexes. The temple building is
much more elaborately decorated with different kinds of sculptural motifs.
Sculptural evidences are found mostly on the temple walls as well as scattered
sculptures. Some of the architectural components along with the sculptures were
placed during the period of 6'^ -7"^ century A. D and the features of the temple art
are parallel to the art of Bhumara (Uttar Pradesh), Mathura, Deogarh (Uttar
Pradesh) etc (2010). Mostly, sculptures of Kamakhya temple are carved out in
granite stone. Most of the images of life size are installed on the outer walls of the

garbhagriha. The life size images are rarely found in the sculptural art of Assam.
Though the sculptures are carved mostly from the religious subject matter, but the
sculptures can be divided into different sections. The divine images are mostly
found on the exterior walls of the sanctum.

The sculptures are found abundantly on the exterior walls as well as on the
interior walls of this temple, but for the religious prohibition, the sculptures of the
interior walls of the temple are not given allow to study. Here, only the sculptures,
which are found on the outer walls of the temple, temple gates as well as scattered
sculptures within the temple campus are studied. The sculptures are divided into
four categories;

4.4.1 Religious Sculptures

Religious sculptures are available mostly on the outer body of the sanctum
of the temple. Among the religious subject matter, the divine images occupy the
most of the places of the temple walls. Most of them are of four handed life size
image depicted on the outer walls of the garbhagriha (Plate 4.1). Four handed
images of Brahma, Vishnu, Surya and various manifestations of Siva are major
images of this temple. It is noteworthy that the male divine images occupy an
important place in the whole sculptural compositions, where the female divine
images are found in limited numbers.

a) Bhairavas

Siva's various forms of the sculptural representations are found on the

outer walls of the Kamakhya temple. According to Agamas, twenty five sporting
forms {lila-murtis) of Siva are available in the sculptural art and most of them are
usually illustrated in the South Indian temples (Sastri, 1916). Among them, the
image of Bhairava, which gives terrific aspect, is one of the major incarnations of
Siva. In this regard, numbers of ancient texts explain about the iconographic
representation of Bhairava images. According to the Vishnudhannottara Purana,
Bhairava appears with flabby belly, round yellow eyes, side-tusks and wide
nostrils, and wears a garland of skulls. He adorns snake as necklace with other
some ornaments. The complexion of Bhairava is dark like rain-cloud and his
garment is of the elephant's skin. He is given several weapons as emblems (Rao,

1916). The Tantrasara of Abhinavagupta mentions that Bhairava has eight forms.
The dishevelled matted hair, three eyes and a red coloured body are the features of
him. His attributes are the trident, sword, noose and the kettle drum (Sastri, 1916).

An image of Bhairava is displayed on the outer wall of the sanctum (Plate

4.3). The image is identified as Vatuka Bhairava. In the sculptural depiction, the
image of Vatuka Bhairava has eight arms having the objects like the khatvanga,
pasa, sula, damaru, kapala and snake. One hand of them, he has to carry a piece
of flesh and other hand has to perform the gesture of ah haya (Rao, 1916). The
sculpture of Bhairava of this temple is represented as four handed, where the
upper right hand carries the kapala, the lower right one carries a piece of flesh, the
upper left one bears the dambaru and the lower left hand performs the kati hasta
mudra. He has three eyes, which are made round to express the terrific aspect. He
stands in tribhanga posture. The image is well ornamented having high crown on
his head. The crown is nicely made in decorative pattern. Siva is shown wearing a
pair of keyuras, in which two floral motifs are depicted. The body of the figure is
carved precisely.

Another Bhairava image is observed on the outer wall of the

garbhagriha. The image holds a parasu in the upper right hand while the upper
left hand holds a pot (Plate 4.4). The lower right hand is seen resting freely on the
waist called kati hasta mudra and the lower left hand performs the varada mudra.
He has given three eyes, which provide a terrific expression of Bhairava image.
To reveal the sensuality, artist depicts a line prominently on his belly. He is fully
ornamented with different kinds of jewelleries. He wears peculiar type of ear
ornaments and is also decorated with karna puspa.

A four handed standing image, which is identified as Bhairava shows a

terrific aspect and holds a trisula and khatvanga in his upper right and left hand
respectively (Plate 4.5). On the other hand, the lower right hand performs kati
hasta mudra while other hand performs the jnana mudra. He stands on a pedestal,
which is decorated with floral motifs. He is richly ornamented with different kinds
of jewelleries. Interestingly, Kirtimukha motif is placed in the waist ornaments.
The chains of pearls, which come out from the mouth of Kirtimukha are used as

griddle on the waist. Since, Kivtimukha is closely associated with Siva; hence,
artist creatively applied this motif as ornament in his waist.

Another image of Bhairava is represented in tribhanga posture with a

smiling countenance, but eyes reflect the terrific aspect. He is shown to be holding
the trident and kapala in his two right arms and the khatvanga and the kati hasta
mudra in the two left arms (Plate 4.6). The nose of the deity is unfortunately
mutilated. The God is adorned with ornaments having karnavali, necklace,
kankana, Keyura and hip ornaments, which are richly carved. Observing the hip
ornaments, it can be said that the artist gave special interest to the hip ornaments.
The workmanship of the figure is of very fine quality.

A unique representation, which is identified as Bhairava is called

Kankalamurti Bhairava, is found on the exterior wall of the sanctum (Plate 4.7).
Kankalamurti Bhairava is mostly found in the South Indian images. According to
authority, Kankalamurti is given less terrific expression and he carries the trident
and the skeleton. The skeleton, which is held by Bhairava, is of Visvaksena, the
gate-keeper of Vishnu and was killed by Siva for his refusal to admit him into the
presence of Vishnu. Such type of image was commonly found in the South India
temple (Banerjea, 1956).
The well executed image, the Kankalamurti Bhairava of Kamakhya temple
holds a sword in his upper right hand while the lower right hand holds a skull,
which is the head of possibly Visvaksena. The upper left hand holds an indistinct
object and the other hand performs kati hasta mudra. This four handed figure
reveals a horrible look because the God has a terrible face with protruding teeth.
He is adorned with all the necessary ornaments. The image is carved out with
great artistic merit.
Two similar types of figures are exhibited on the exterior wall of the
garhhagriha. These figures are identified as the incarnation of Siva called
Virabhadramurti. Sritatvanidhi describes that the image of Virabhadramurti has
four arms, three eyes and a terrific face with fierce side tusks. Besides,
Karanagama provides another version, where Virabhadramurti has four arms,
three eyes, head with jaias, side tusks, and garlands of bells and skulls, a
yajnopavita of snake; He has to stand upon a pair of sandals and wears a short
drawers as his undei-wear. The face indicates that he has great anger looks like
terrific. His attributes are the khadga, the khetaka, the dhanus and the bana.
Depiction of the image of Virabhadramurti is believed to remove all great sins and
to cure people of all their ailments (Rao, 1916).

The plate 4.8 shows that the image of Virabhadramurti is of two handed
holding bow and arrow. The figure is in graceful posture, which is in tribhanga
pose and his right hand slightly mutilated. The God is depicted with three eyes
which give a less terrific appearance. He adorns limited numbers of ornaments
having headgear, ear ornaments and neck ornament. Two floral motifs are
depicted as ear ornaments and the neck ornament is formed by leaf motifs, which
are minutely carved out. His lower garment is extended up to just above the knee.
The lower garment is shown applying some horizontal strong lines, which give a
uniqueness expression of the image.

Another figure is identified as an image of Virabhadramurti, in which a

youthful appearance is given. The two handed figure carries the emblems, which
are the arrow and bow. Though the image is represented as Bhairava, but the face
is depicted without any terrific appearance. He is decked with different ornaments
having a long garland, which extended up to the knee. He also wears short lower
garment, which is depicted following the rule of the ancient text.

Another remarkable image is observed on the outer wall of the

garbhagriha of the temple. The image is identified as an incarnation of Siva (Plate
4.9). The image is four handed having the club and book, kati hasta mudra and
varada mudra. He is depicted three eyes, for which the image reveals the nature
of Siva. Besides, the image is given a terrific look on his face.

A form of Siva is displayed on the outer wall of the sanctum of temple.

The God gives a terrific look by his open eyes. He stands in graceful posture on a
pedestal which is unfortunate mutilated. He holds a trisula in his upper right hand
and a flower which is possibly a lily flower is given in his upper left hand. Both
the lower hands perform the varada mudra. He is fully ornamented with different
kinds of jewelleries. He also wears a sacred thread and a long garland, which is
decorated by the floral motifs on lower part of the garland. The image is identified
as the figure of Siva because he holds a trisula, which is the special emblem for

Another elongated figure performs the terrific aspect of Siva, who holds
the pasa in his right hand while a half bloomed lotus is in left hand. The other
hands hold a long garland and perform the varada mudra. He also adorns with all
necessary ornaments.

There is an admirable sculptural piece, which is identified as Vinadhara

Dakshinamurti (Plate 4.10). He is represented as four handed deity (Plate 4.10).
Considering as a great master of dance and music, Siva is found in the form of
Vinadhara Dakshinamurti, in which Siva holds a vina in his hands. The head of
the dancing Vinadhara Dakshinamurti is mutilated, but figural quality brings a
superior craftsmanship. The front hands hold the vina while upper right hand
holds possibly the sruka. The back left hand carries an object, which is beyond
identified. Interestingly, the God adorns a mundamala and stands on a dead man.
Through the dance and music performances, God reveals his ugra form. The neck
is shown without ornaments, but armlets and wristlets are given to the image.
Besides, the headgear, waist and the feet ornaments are depicted on the image. A
small piece of cloth as lower garment is nicely shown. It seems that God dances in
a rhythmic manner, which artist clearly captured.

Plate 4.11 illustrates another form of Siva is known as

Vishnvanugrahamurti. Sometimes, Siva holds the emblems of Vishnu in the
sculptural representation. In this form, Siva is presented as Vishnu with the
chakra (Rao, 1916). The four handed God stands with a smiling countenance.
Image of Vishnvanugrahamurti carries the emblems, gada and chakra in his upper
hands while lower hands represent possibly the varada mudra. The headgear of
the God is decorated with floral motifs. He is richly ornamented.

Another figure is found on the temple wall, in which the figure displays
the characteristic features of the Vishnvanugrahamurti. This illustration is same
with the Plate no 4.11. But only difference is that the image holds the elements
such as the half bloomed lotus and gada.

b) Image of Brahma

An image of Brahma is inscribed on the sanctum of the Kamakhya temple

(Plate 4.12). The image of Brahma is peculiar because it has only one face instead

of four as required by the ancient texts. In this context, Rupamandana mentions
that the four peaceful looking faces of Brahma are symbolic representation of the
four Vedas. The four heads have respectively facing the four quarters. Brahma has
four arms and he may be standing or seated on either padmasana or a hamsa
(Rao, 1916). Brahma is here shown with four hands carrying the objects like srik
and sruva in his upper right and left hand respectively. On the other hand, the
lower right hand performs the varada mudra while the lower left hand performs
the kati hasta mudra. The srik and sruva are the identification mark of God
Brahma. In fact, srik and sruva are two different kinds of elements used in the
sacrifices to take out ghee from the ghee-pot and pour it out to the sacred fire.

Each part of the image of Brahma is carved in detailing while effect is

very pleasing. The face is brilliantly sculpted and the beard is given by some
carving lines. Beard and drooping moustache add to the gravity of the
countenance. He adorns with single necklace, which contains some leaf motifs.
The kundalas and kirita mukuta are used to decorate him. Sacred thread, which
goes across the chest, is depicted. Besides, Kirtimukha ornament is given to the
waist of the figure. A sensitive look is found on his body part.

Another image expresses the feature of Brahma because he holds the srik
and sruva in his upper hands and other two hands perform possibly the varada
mudras. He is shown without beard and seems to be youthful look.

c) Image of Surya

A remarkable sculptural figure is exhibited and can be regarded as the best

specimen among the sculptures (Plate 4.13). The two handed image is identified
as Surya because he holds two full bloomed lotuses in his two hands. The image is
minutely carved out by the unknown artist. Artist was able to retain the spiritual
quality through his stone carving. Besides, the elegancy and the depth of feeling
express the utmost simplicity. The plastic pliability and the linear rhythm of the
figure recall the Gupta style. Another image of Surya is found holding two lotus
buds in his upper hands while right hand performs the jnana mudra and left hand
is in kati hasta mudra. It is noticeable that God expresses a terrific aspect.

A huge stone slab bears a figure of Ganesa along with Bralima,
Maheswara and Surya. Along with male divinities, female divinities are also
visible, but in limited numbers. On the outer wall of the garbhagriha of the
temple, there are only two figures of female depicted.

d) Image of Gauri

The image of woman is depicted on the temple wall as paragon of

aesthetic as well as auspiciousness. Plate 4.14 illustrates an image of female,
which stands in graceful tribhanga posture. This image is a fine example of the
delicate touch of the unknown sculptor. The figure is identified as Gauri, wife of
Siva because the two handed figure holds a half bloomed lotus with the long stalk,
in her right hand while the left hand performs the kati hasta mudra. In the
sculptural representation, Gauri is depicted as an unmarried girl having either two
or four hands. When Gauri is depicted as two handed then she performs the
varada and abhaya postures. On the other hand the akshamala, padma,
kamandalu and abhaya pose are given to her in the four hands (Rao, 1916). It has
to be noted that the sculptors did not strictly follow the iconographic prescriptions
while the artists added their own creativities.

The figure of Gauri of this temple is well developed and proportioned in

the physical appearance. She wears fine jewellery and dress. Amalgamations of
the spiritual as well as sensuousness, which are the main features of the Gupta art
tradition, are applied to the figure. The deity wears a long skirt as her lower
garment, which creates the natural form of cloth applying appropriate rhytltmic
curve lines. Her sensitive body structure is clearly visible through the diaphanous
drapery. With the subdued belly and sensitive navel, she is given an extremely
passionate beauty. It is noteworthy that a blouse is given as her upper garment,
which is the rare representation because it is noticed that in the sculptural
representations of women are showed without garment in the upper body parts.
The voluptuous breasts of the deity of this site are clearly shown through her
blouse. For the beautification of the figure, she adorns with different jewelleries
like ear rings, bangles, necklaces, pearl string and nupur. Besides, the figure,
which has a smiling countenance, wears a headgear. On the image is depicted
third eye on the forehead having close association with Lord Siva.

e) Image of Uma

Another sculptural figure of woman is carved out in low relief found on

the outer wall of the sanctum. The figure is partially mutilated, but figural
grandeur expresses well. The figure is identified as Uma, another form of Gauri.
The figure is represented in frontal view, but the head is illustrated in profile view.
It is seemed that Uma holds a mirror looking mounted on a well-wrought handle.
The sculptural figure produces the Shringar rasa. The philosophical concept of
the mirror is that mirror has a great importance to the women for the
beautification. The women look into the mirror to satisfy them everything like
make-up, ornaments, costume, hair dress etc. Besides, some of the ancient
treatises refer to depict the sixteenth types of female figures in various activities in
the sculptural art. The women engage in mirror are the important activity of them.
Besides, darpana is considered as one of the eight auspicious motifs in Hindu
religion also (Desai, 1985). In the sculptural representation, Uma is worshiped
even by devas and she holds an akshamala, a mirror, a kamandalu and a lotus
(Rao, 1916). The image of Uma stands on a decorative pedestal, which reveals her
divinity. She is showed as semi nude because she is depicted without cloth in
upper body part; therefore, her round breasts are openly displayed. Though the
figure is of rough carving, but her voluptuousness clearly reveals.

All these illustrations, which were exhibited on the outer walls of the
sanctum of Kamakhya temple evidently, belonged to the earlier period. The outer
walls of the garbhagriha have replete with rich and wealth carvings. The
sculptures on the panels of the sanctum are remarkable for their elegances and
aesthetic beauties. On the outer walls of the garbhagriha, the images of Siva play
a predominant role in which most of the images reveal the terrific look. Since, the
main religious concept of the Kamakhya temple is Sakti, therefore, possibly,
images of Siva play a vital role in the art of this temple. Conceptually, S>'\\2i-Sakti
lives together in this temple.

The sculptural images are presented in bold relief with round forms.
Except their canonical attributes, most of the figures are almost similar in their
appearances. The images are lifelike in their poses and attitudes. The figures are
carved out in realistic manner with the accuracy of physical details. Stylistically,

the Gupta sculpture is synthesised in tlie sculptural art of this temple because the
sculptural figures of the sanctum retain the ideal balance between the spiritual and
the sensual, which are the main principles of the Gupta sculptures. The whole
works are executed very skilfully as well as tastefully. The figures are well carved
out and modelled in purely naturalistic way.

The facial features and the ornaments are minutely carved out. The body,
face, ornamentation are done in exceptional artistic skills. Each face has an
individual expression, which is remarkable. It is noticeable that the headgears,
earrings and necklaces of the deities are found in various kinds. Some of them are
of simple carvings or some are in minutely carvings. Most of the deities are
covered by an elaborate crowns, collar necklaces and waist-ornaments. The
headgear and elaborate ornamentation of the figures are to be taken as sign of

It can be said that the images reveal different moods and sentiments in their
depictions. These images can be considered to be the best products in the
sculptural art of Assam. To get relieve from the monotonous carvings of the life
size images, artists added some friezes of human figures of miniature carvings and
floral designs in decorative patterns in which all the motifs expressed a noble
beauty in the whole sculptural compositions of the Kamakhya temple.

f) Some Miscellaneous Religious Sculptures

Some remarkable images of female divinities, which are given alluring

charm, are found as scattered sculptures within the temple campus (Plate 4.15,
Plate 4.16). The images are unfortunate mutilated having the busts of the figures.
The nature indicates that the images are the original parts of the temple building.
Though the figures are broken, but the figures still faithfully express the character
of divinity. The females are lavishly decked with ornaments. The figures are given
prominent breasts. They are in nude, but nudity is filled up by the heavy
ornaments. Each figure is given a short headgear on their heads. The large heavy
earrings with floral motifs are minutely carved out. These remarkable sculptural
pieces can be regarded as the best specimens of this site.

A frieze, which is found on outer walls of the garbhagriha contains
numerous miniature divine images in a queue. Each image reveals different
postures or attributes (Plate 4.17). Besides, numerous images are fixed on other
walls of the temple. A standing image, which plays a musical instrument like vina,
is fixed on other part of the temple wall. The image is very similar to Saraswati,
the Goddess of learning because the image is holding vina.

The temple wall portrays an image of eight handed Siva, which is the rare
representation (Plate 4.18). The carving style indicates that the image is not
similar with the other divine images, which are inscribed on the wall of the
garbhagriha. Possibly, the image of flat carving is added in later time. He is
exhibited as ferocious image having long garland of skulls. The objects, which are
held by the eight hands of the figure, are indistinct. Representation of composite
form of animal God is also exhibited at this site. The figure of Ganesa, which is
the composite form of elephant and human, is displayed at this site. Another
composite figure is the goat headed man, which is identified as Daksa, father of
Parvati, found (Plate 4.19).The Boar headed figure is also noticed on outer wall of
the temple and identified as Varaha avatar, the first incarnation of Vishnu.

The western gateway of the Kamakliya temple contains some charming

carvings revealing exceptional sculptural skill. Among them, a flute playing
image, which is called as Venugopala is inscribed on the surface of gateway. He
has a headdress, which is shape of conical cap. A single necklace of pearl and an
undergarment with central and lateral tassels recall the decorative features of the
Gupta and Pallava periods in North and in South India respectively. The figure is
a rare specimen of anatomical perfection (1936-37).

A sculptural image of woman, who performs the meditation is called >'0g/,

is found as scattered sculpture within the temple campus (Plate 4.20). Though the
figure is identified as female, but the physical structure is made like male. It is
seemed that the figure is tried to show the meditative power through the body
language. The image is carved out like the Indian terracotta style. Though the
image is given meditative nature, but she is adorned with ornament, which is
unnatural. Another meditative image of man is fixed on the boundary wall of the

4.4.2 Secular Sculptures

Numerous sculptural compositions of the Kamakhya temple can be

concluded under the subject matter of secular. Here, numbers of scenes display
the secular theme.

a) Images of Mother and Child

A good number of sculptural scenes show the theme on mother and child.
On the sculptural representations, mothers are engaged in feeding or in playing
with their Childs. The subject of Mother and child is considered as very
interesting to depict in the sculptural art for the artists. Though this composition is
used for aesthetic purpose, but there is also a great religious significance in the
temple art. In mythology, women are considered as an embodiment of Mother
Goddess. Through the sculptural depiction of mother and child, the aspect of
Mother Goddess is actually focused. The female principle is accepted as the
creative force.

A sculptural composition of mother and child is observed on the gate of

the temple (Plate 4.21). Here, the image of mother and child in seated posture
displays a mother breast feeding her baby. The mother holds her child close to her
bosom and bearing within her arms. In the visual representation, both the figures
seem to be very joyful because the right leg of the child rises and touches his
mother face very joyfully. The sculpture is sculpted in purely realistic manner.

A similar scene is observed on the temple gate of the divine affection

between mother and child. In the visual representation, mother plays with her
child in seated posture. On the temple body carries another relief sculpture of
mother and child in standing posture. The treatment of the image is not showed in
detailing, but expression of the image is pleasant.

b) Image of Woman with a Pot

Several sculptures suggest that the women are engaged in different

activities such as mother, helper etc. A unique sculptural composition, in which a
lady holds a water pot in her hands in kneeling posture, was fixed on the boundary
wall of the Kamakhya temple (Plate 4.22). The woman offers water by her

handled pot to the man, who seems to be in thirst. The thirsty man is in seated
posture holding a fan in his hand. The attitude of the woman reveals that the pot
seems to be very heavy for water. To carve this composition, the artist selected a
horizontal stone slab.

c) Eating Posture

An exceptional composition of eating posture is found on the body of the

temple. The man, who is fatty, eats something in kneeling posture. The posture of
man is shown in profile view. He has a small coiffure and wears a garment like
dhoti, which is carved out by some textures of lines. This type of sculpture is
displayed because the food, cloth are the principal necessities for the human life.

d) Worker Man

Among the different activities, a man carries a load on his head is

inscribed on the wall of the temple (Plate 4.23). The man appears to be quite high
position because the figure adorns with different ornaments. The lower garment,
which seems to be very short, is beautified by the floral designs. His hair is made
in designable pattern. The expression of the face reveals that he has to carry heavy
load. The concept behind the scene is that the men have to do hard work to earn
their livelihood.

e) Erotic Sculpture

A small number of sculptural images of this temple express the nature of

erotic. A panel is fixed on the boundary wall of the temple, but the sculpture is
slightly mutilated. The panel contains a seated couple in coital posture.

A female figure, which shows the erotic nature, is illustrated on the surface
of the temple wall (Plate 4.24). She exposes her gentile organ candidly in seated
posture. This type of sculpture is depicted in the Kamakhya temple due to the
nature of Tantricism. Depiction of erotic sculpture on the temple walls is the result
of Saklism as well as Tantricism. But the sculptures of erotic nature are found in
very limited number.

f) Dancing Figures of Apsara and Gandharva

The dancing scenes of Apsara and Gandharva are commonly found in

temple art. The Kamakhya temple contains a limited number of dancing scenes. A
fragment of stone slab is available on the temple wall carrying the composition of
dance and music (Plate 4.25). In the composition, a female dancer, which can be
called as Apsara, seems to be involving in classical dance while other is the male
drummer called Gandharva, which is proportionately smaller than the female
dancer. Observing the different images of secular theme, it can be said that in the
art of Kamakhya temple, secular subject matter plays a predominant role along
with other subject matter.

4.4.3 Flora and Fauna

The sculptural motifs of flora and fauna are found in different parts of the
temple architecture. The representations of the flora and fauna have been always
involving to the nature with its blessings as well as rhythms.

a) Depiction of Flora

The depictions of floral motifs are blended with the geometrical forms and
most of them are found on the outer walls of the garbhagriha (Plate 4.26). For
example, a frieze contains the lotus motifs, which are amalgamated with
geometrical designs (Figure 4.1).The lotus motifs in realistic representation are
given bird's eye view perspective. A creeper motif in interlacing pattern is
depicted without geometrical form (Figure 4.2). A rhythmic continuity is revealed
by this creeper motif A realistic representation of floral motif is depicted like a
creeper. Interestingly, on a horizontal stone block, it is shown that a creeper issued
from the hands of a seated dwarf (Plate 4.27). The creeper is carved out in
rhythmic manner, which reveals continuity of the life. This floral motif is very
similar to the creeper motif of Daparbatiya temple. The creeper motif with the
man suggests the relation of man with the nature. In the Kamakhya temple, the
flora part serves as the most essential element to decorate the temple building.

b) Depiction of Fauna

Representation of fauna motif of the Kamakhya temple is found in realistic

and composite as well as in mythical representation. Among the animals,
depiction of lion is applied for different purposes. Plate 4.28shows the images of
two lions, which are running in opposite direction, but their heads bent towards
the kalasha. The kalasha is accepted as one of the eight auspicious motifs in
Indian art. This kind of sculptural motif is commonly found in the sculptural art of
Assam. The lions are carved out in stylised manner. Numbers of seated lions of
realistic representation are observed on the temple gate.

A very common motif is found, in which a huge lion is seated on an

elephant of small size (Plate 4.29). This motif was applied in most of the temple
art of Assam. In some cases, two lions are joined by a lion head fixed on the upper
part of the temple. Possibly, this sculptural image is used as architectural device in
the original Kamakhya temple. A bold carving of bull, which is called as Nandi,
the vehicle of God Siva, is shown on the upper part of the temple (Plate 4.30).
Due to the reconstruction of the temple, possibly the image of Nandi is displaced.
A free standing elephant is depicted as a vehicle of God Viswakarma.

Some friezes contain the rows of Kirtimukha motif which is regarded as

the mythical animal. Here, Kirtimukha motif of decorative manner is placed on
the outer wall of the garbhagriha of the temple (Plate 4.31).

A bird motif of miniature form, which is a peacock, is found on the temple

gate and it can be regarded as rare representation in the sculptural art of Assam. In
frontal view, the bird is carved out (Plate 4.32). But the bird seems to be
unfinished work.

4.4.4 Geometrical Design

Geometrical decoration is mostly found on the outer walls of the

garbhagriha. Sculptors carved these geometrical designs in balancing manner
with other sculptural figures. Here, different floral motifs are applied in
geometrical forms. Therefore, some motifs are created in linear pattern of
complex design. A complex design is depicted within a square like form used in
repeatedly. It is noticed that some miniature female divine figures are placed in

designable pattern on the lower part of the garbhagriha. It is interesting to show
that the each female is flanked by foliage designs, which are placed in diamond
pattern (Figure 4.3). Within these design forms, different geometrical forms like
circles, parallelograms are amalgamated.

Another sophisticated work is exhibited on the temple art. The most

remarkable aspect is that here, lotuses are blended with the geometrical motifs.
Besides, lotuses are placed in geometrical format. It is an excellent and well
preserved work having the decorative geometrical design based on the lotus motif
Their aesthetic expression and delicacy of the floral devices deserve special notice
and admiration.

4.5 Conclusion

The chapter concludes with the following analysis.

The sculptures of the Kamakhya temple are the earliest example of the
sculptural art of Assam. The sculptures of the Kamakhya temple reflect the
characteristic features of different times due to the reconstruction of the temple in
many times.

Sculptural evidences informed that the sculptural activities were started

from the Gupta times. Numerous sculptural pieces show the influence of Gupta
art. For example, the most of the life size images of the garbhagriha reflect the
idea of Gupta artistic style. Besides, some floral motifs are influenced by the
Gupta art.

Among the different subject matters, religious sculptures occupy the most
of the surfaces of the temple. Among the religious images, most of them are
displayed on the surfaces on the outer walls of the garbhagriha. Of the images,
Siva's terrific aspect plays predominant role due to the influence of Tantricism of
the temple. The images are remarkable for liveliness in their poses and moods.
These are carved with the great liberty, which is extremely bold as well as

It can be said that the sculptures are influenced by the art of Orissa
because the temple wall contains the animated motif like lion on the elephant is

very similar to the art of Orissa, where this type of motif is used as the
architectural devices.

Among the secular subject matter, some unique representations are

illustrated such as the mother and child, female engages in supplying water to a
male, man carrying a load, robust male etc which are the infrequent
representations in the temple art. These kinds of compositions are applied to the
temple art for giving the moral values.

Some of the sculptural parts revealed that possibly any master artists
created such types of rich works in this temple. Amalgamations of the life size
images with the floral motifs of the outer wall of the garbhagriha provide an
extremely pleasant look to the viewers.

Most of the images reflect the sentiment of Raudra rasa that was anger
showed by the Bhairava images. Besides, Shringar rasa produced by a female
divinity where a female is holding a mirror. Dance poses of Apsaras and
Gandharvas also produce the Shringar rasa. The Adbhuta rasa, which is the
expression of wonder found in the floral designs as well as in geometrical design.

The effects of light and shade on the sculptural images are important
matter to the temple art. The life size images are carved out in high relief;
therefore, the figures well maintained the effects of light and dark shades in
daylight. Table 4.1, Table 4.2, Table 4.3, Table 4.4 provided detail analysis of
some sculptures.

Table 4.1

Religious Sculptures Analysis

a) Image of Vatuka Lord Siva shows terrific aspect in the form of
Bhairava Vatuka Bhairava, which is found on the outer
wall of the garbhagriha. His attributes are
kapala, a piece of flesh, damaru, kali hasla
mudra. He stands in Iribhanga posture on a lotus
pedestal. He is fully ornamented. The image is
smoothly carved out. Lifelike impression is

retained in depicting the image. The figure
performs the Raudra rasa (Plate 4.3).
b) Image of Bhairava An image of Bhairava is found on the outer wall
of the sanctum. He is terrific aspect along with
smiling countenance. The emblems are the
parasu, pot, kati hasta mudra and varada mudra.
The image is decorated with ornaments. A
sensitive feeling is provided to the viewers. The
figure shows the Raudra rasa in the depiction
(Plate 4.4).
c) Image of Bhairava An image of terrific aspect, which is called
Bhairava is found on the outer wall of the
garbhagriha. He has three eyes and adorned with
all ornaments. Kirtimukha motif is given as waist
ornament on the image. The artist was able to
give a life expression through the sculpting of the
image. Two of his hands are held in the kati hasta
mudra and the jnana mudra and other two keep
in them the trisula and khatvanga. He stands on a
padmapitha. He reveals the Raudra rasa (Plate
d) Image of Bhairava An image of Bhairava aspect is carved out on the
outer wall of the garbhagriha. He has four arms
and three eyes. One of his hands is held in kati
hasta mudra and others carry the trisula, kapala
and the khatvanga. The ornaments are minutely
carved out. The workmanship is very superb and
the effect is very pleasant. The figure reveals
about the Raudra rasa (Plate 4.6).

e) Image of Kankalamurti An image, which indicates the terrific nature of
Siva is inscribed on the outer wall of the
garbhagriha. He has round eyes and protruding
teeth to give the terrific aspect. He carries the
scull, sword, an indistinct object and kati hasta
mudra. He is given moustache. The image is
proportionately carved out. The image shows the
Raudra rasa in the carving (Plate 4.7).
f) Image of Virabhadramurti An image of Virabhadramurti, who is another
incarnation of Siva, shows the nature of Vishnu.
He is depicted as the two handed image holding
bow and arrow in his hands. A peculiar type of
lower garment is given to the image. God shows
the terrific nature through his look (Plate 4.8).
g) Image of Bhairava A terrific aspect of Siva is found on the outer wall
of the garbhagriha. The four handed image
carries the emblems such as the club, book, kati
hasta mudra and varada mudra. In the
expression, the terrific aspect along with smiling
countenance is given to his face (Plate 4.9).
h) Image of Bhairava Another type of Bhairava image is inscribed on
the outer wall of the sanctum. The image holds
the trisula, lily flower and varada poses in his
hands. The image seems to be look in terrific
i)Image of Bhairava An image of Bhairava is displayed on the outer
wall of the garbhagriha. The image is given the
attributes, which are the pasa, half bloomed lotus
in his two hands and other two hands hold a
garland and perform the varada poses.
j) Image of Vinadhara An image, which is the incarnation of Siva is
Dalcshinamurti found in dancing mood and inscribed on the outer
wall of the sanctum of the temple. The artist was

able to capture the rhythmic dance pose in the
sculptural depiction. The musical instrument,
vina is playing by his front hands while the sruka
and an indistinct object are depicted in other
hands. He was in atibhanga pose standing on a
dead body and wears a long garland of scull. The
body part is clearly visible, but the head of God is
unfortunate mutilated (Plate 4.10).
k) Image of An image of Siva, which is very similar to the
Vishnvanugrahamurti visual representation of Vishnu is called
Vishnvanugrahamurti and inscribed on the outer
wall of the sanctum. He stands on a lotus
pedestal. The image holds gada and chakra in his
upper hands while lower hands perform the
varada postures. The image is richly ornamented
(Plate 4.11).
1) Image of Brahma An elegant posture of image of Brahma is
depicted on the outer wall of the sanctum. The
image is neatly carved out. He is richly adorned
with ornaments. He is given a sacred thread,
which is the special emblem of him. Srik and
sruva, the varada mudra and kati hasta mudra
are given to the image as his symbol (Plate 4.12).
m) Image of Brahma An image reveals the nature of Brahma is
inscribed on the outer wall of the sanctum. He
keeps the srik and sruva in his upper hands and
shows the varada mudras by other two hands.

n) Image of Surya An image of Surya is found in his real
representations inscribed on the outer wall of the
sanctum. The image holds two full bloomed
lotuses with long stalks in his hands. Surya seems
to be having meditative mood in his expression.
He is fully ornamented like other images of
Bhairava. He is also given Kirtimukha ornament
in his waist griddle. He stands in samabhanga
posture on a lotus pedestal (Plate 4.13)
o) Image of Ganesa A four handed image of Ganesa is found in
standing posture inscribed on the outer wall of the
garbhagriha. The attributes, which are taken by
Ganesa are not clearly depicted.
p) Image of Gauri A two handed image of female divinity, which is
the figure of Gauri is enshrined on the outer wall
of the sanctum. She stands in tribhanga posture
on a lotus pedestal. Gauri holds the half bloomed
lotus and the kati hasta mudra. She is seen
wearing all ornaments including kundalas,
necklace and bangles. Her head is adorned with
makuta. She wears a blouse as her upper garment
while a long skirt is given as her lower garment.
A transparent effect is given through her lower
garment. This is one of the well executed
sculptural works. The figure deals with Shanta
ra^a (Plate 4.14).
q) Image of Uma A figure of female divinity, which is the image of
Uma is installed on the outer wall of the sanctum.
She holds a mirror, which is the special emblem
of her while other performs kati hasta mudra. She
is represented as semi nude; therefore, her
femininity is clearly visible. Her head is shown in
profile view and the body is depicted in frontal

view. To give divinity, the image stands on lotus
pedestal. Since, the image holds the mirror for her
beautiflcation; therefore, she performs Shringar
r) Image of Female Divinity An image of female divinity is found as the
scattered sculpture within the temple campus.
The sculptural piece is found as the bust figure.
The nature of the carving of the image reveals
that the image is carved out in mature phase of
the sculptural art. The voluptuous breasts reveal
her femininity. The characteristic feature of the
image reveals the influence of Gupta art. The
image performs the peaceful nature, which is
called Shanta rasa (Plate 4.15).
s) Image of Female Divinity A figure of female divinity is carved out from a
stone block, which is found as a scattered image
within the temple campus. Correctness physical
feature is found on the bust figure. The figure
reveals the influence of Gupta art. The female is
richly ornamented. The right hand is placed
upwardly while left hand holds an indistinct
object. The image shows the Shanta rasa (Plate
t) Images of Divinities A frieze of figures of divinities is inscribed on the
outer wall of the sanctum of the temple. The
figures which are installed in designable pattern
are carved out in miniature form. Each figure
carries different postures and attributes. All the
figures are in seated postures. They carry the
attributes like vina, lotus etc. The figures are
flanked by decorative floral designs (Plate 4.17).
u) Image of Siva A rare representation, which is the image of Siva
having eight hands, is installed on the outer wall

of the temple. Nature indicates that the image is
carved out in later period. The image is given
terrific aspect in the depiction. He is given a long
garland of scull. Therefore, the image performs
the Raudra rasa (Plate 4.18).
v) Image of Daksa A rare representation of Daksa image is displayed
on the outer wall of the temple. He is the
composite form of goat and human. He is
represented as four handed in standing posture
(Plate 4.19).
w) God of boar head is called Varaha avatara is
found on the temple wall. The image is one of the
incarnations of Vishnu.
x) Image of Yogi A female yogi is found in the sculptural
representations. The physical feature reveals that
she is fully involved in meditative mood. She is
depicted in Indian terracotta style. Though the
image is depicted as meditative woman, but she is
ornamented. The image reveals the Shanta rasa
(Plate 4.20).
y) Image of Venugopala An image of flute playing is depicted on the gate
of the temple. The figure is bejewelled recalling
the Gupta style. Anatomical perfection indicates
about the artist's perfect skill.

Table 4.2

Secular Sculptures Analysis

a)Image of Mother and A composition of mother and child is carved out on
Child the wall of the gate of the temple. The image is
depicted in seated posture. The scene shows a
mother breast feeding her baby. The image reveals
that the sculpture is inscribed in later period (Plate

b)Image of Mother and An image of mother and child is found on the
Child temple gate. Affection between mother and child is
shown through this sculptural image.
c)Image of Woman with a A composition, in which woman offers water from
Pot her jar to a thirsty man, is depicted on the temple
gate. Both the figures are in seated posture and the
man holds a fan in his hand (Plate 4.22).
d)Eating Posture An image of eating posture is available on the
exterior wall of the temple. The image is placed in
profile view. In the depiction, the man eats
something in kneeling posture. This kind of image
is carved out on the temple art for giving the moral
value to the society.
e) Worker Man An image of man, who carries a load over his head.
This type of composition is very rare depiction in
the sculptural art. The pose and the expression of
the face reveal that he carries a very heavy load. He
has given ornament. The hair style is carved out in
peculiar type (Plate 4.23).
f)Erotic Sculptures A woman is found in seated posture of erotic nature
because she exposes her genital organ openly. Due
to the effect of Tantricism, this type of figure is
displayed in the temple art (Plate 4.24).
g)Dancing Figures of A composition of dancing scene is installed on the
Apsara and Gandharva outer wall of the temple. The celestial dancer called
Apsara is fully involved in rhythmic dance while
the celestial musician called Gandharva which is
the smaller in size than woman beats a drum. The
nature indicates that the images are carved out in
later period (Plate 4.25).

Table 4.3

Flora and Fauna Analysis

Flora Depiction of flora is found with the geometrical
a) designs and human figures. All the elements enhance
the aesthetic taste in the sculptural art of Kamakhya
temple (Plate 4.26).
b) A frieze bears the lotus motifs, which are
amalgamated with the geometrical designs. The
lotuses are placed in bird's eye view perspective
(Figure 4.1)
c) A floral scroll motif is depicted in stylised manner in
which geometrical design is not applied. The creeper
is illustrated in rhythmic maimer (Figure 4.2)
d) A realistic representation of creeper motif is found
within the temple campus. The creeper issued from
the hands of a seated dwarf Through this depiction,
the relation between nature and human is shown
(Plate 4.27).
Fauna Depictions of two lions with a kalasha are sculptured
e) on a stone block. This stone block is used for the door
lintel. The realistic representations of lions are
seemed that they are in full motion and depicted in
high relief (Plate 4.28).

f) A very common motif, which is lion on the elephant,

is found on the temple wall. The motif reveals that the
image is done in later period (Plate 4.29).

g) An image of bull, which symbolises the vehicle of

Siva, is found in seated posture within the temple
campus. The animal is carved out like freestanding
sculpture (Plate 4.30).
h) A realistic representation of freestanding elephant is
attached with God Viswakarma. From a huge stone

block the image is carved out.
i) Some friezes bear the motifs of Kirtimukha, which
are inscribed on the outer wall of the garbhagriha
(Plate 4.31).

J) A very rare representation of peacock motif is found

on the temple gate. The work is displayed like
unfinished work (Plate 4.32).
k) A very rare representation of peacock motif is found
on the temple gate. The work is displayed like
unfinished work.

Table 4.4

Geometrical Design Analysis

a)Diamond This type of form is used in the form of floral motifs
(Figure 4.3).
b) Circle (Figure 4.3) Circles are used within the floriated motifs
c)Parallelogram (Figure This type of motifs is placed within the floral motifs.
d) Some carving lines which are placed in complex
design pattern.

Plates and Figures











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Annual Report of Archaeological Survey of India, 1936-37, Pp.60-61.

Bahadur, R. K. L. B, Early History ofKamarupa, Shillong, 1933, P. 158

Banerjea, J. N. The Development of Hindu Iconography, Munshiram Manoharlal

Publishers Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, 1956, P.466

Banerji, R. D. Annual Report of Archaeological Survey of India, 1924-25, Central

Publication Branch, Calcutta, P. 101

Barpujari, H.K. The Comprehensive History of Assam, Vol. I, Publication Board

of Assam, Guwahati, 1990, P. 317


Choudhury, P. C. The History of Civilisation of The People of Assam To The

Twelfth Century A. D, Spectrum Publications, Delhi,1987, P.419

Ibid, P. 401

Desai, D. Erotic Sculptures of India, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.,

New Delhi, 1974, P. 23

Gait, E. A History of Assam, Lawyer's Book Stall, Guwahati, 1905, P. 46

Heritage of Kamakhya on The Nilachala Hill, Vivekananda Kendra Institute of

Culture, Guwahati, 2010, P. 20


Ibid,?. 146

Ibid,?. 17

Ibid, P. 503

Ibid, P. 360

Ibid, P. 54


Ibid, P.38

Ibid, P.40

Ibid,?^. 15-16

Kakati, B.K. The Mother Goddess Kamakhya, Publication Board of Assam,

Guahati, 1989, P. 16

Rao, T. A. Elements of Hindu Iconography, Vol. II, Part I, The Law Printing
House, Madras, 1916, P. 177

/6/J, Pp. 186-187

Ibid, P.360


Sastri, H. K. South Indian Images of Gods and Goddesses, Government of

Madras, Madras, 1916, P. 89