penance (Arjuna / Bhagiratha)- a bas-relief
It is an open air bas-relief, 100
ft long and 40 ft high with carvings on a rock face. A vertical cleft
in the centre divides the boulder into 2 sections.
Several Gods, rishis, gandharvas, ganas, kinnaras (creatures with human body with bird legs and wings), animals and birds have been depicted. The figures on both boulders are facing the cleft, moving towards the descending Ganga.
A man (either Arjuna or Bhagiratha)
can be seen doing penance standing on one leg & Siva is granting him
darshan. There are several ganas around him, kinnaras, the sun or
the moon (a figure with a halo) just above him and a few gandharvas.
Just below Siva, is a Vishnu shrine
and a rishi offering worship in front. The heads of three hermits
in front of the shrine are broken.
To the right of the cleft is another
figure with a halo, several gandharvas, kinnaras & ganas. On
the lower portion of the right section, there is a wonderful scene of elephants
with several baby elephants under the mother’s belly.
There are several stylized yali faced lions, deers, swans distributed throughout the panel.
It is believed that there was a reservoir at the top feeding water through the cleft to create a flow – the descent of the Ganges.
There was a short spell of rain while
we were admiring the Penance panel. We took refuge under a tree opposite
the panel. This only gave us more time to appreciate the details.