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4th century Mahishasura Mardini sculpture found in Vijayawada

A tiny Mahishasura Mardini sculpture dating back to 4th century A.D was discovered on Saturday at Gurajala in Guntur district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The sculpture was found in the dilapidated Gurajalamma temple in Gurajala. The tiny sculpture, with 10x18x1 cm dimensions, was carved in limestone and was spotted by the CEO of the cultural centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati, Dr. Emani Sivanagi Reddy and director of pilgrim tourism in endowments department Mr Ratna Kumar during their visit to the Gurajalamma temple.

4th century Mahishasura Mardini sculpture found in Vijayawada
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravathi CEO E. Sivanagi Reddy found 
the sculpture at Gurajala in Guntur district [Credit: Deccan Chronicle]
Dr. Reddy said that the iconographical style of the sculpture suggests that it belongs to post Ikshvaku period. The simple ornamentation and the typical animal form of Mahishasura is identical to the style of Vishnukindinas. The idol is seen with a  saree and all ornaments and killing the demon, Mahishasura, piercing him with the trident.

She holds a sword in her right hand and the tail of the demon, in the shape of a buffalo, in her left hand. She holds a trident and a mace in her additional two hands. A small head gear, necklace, ear ornaments, bangles and armlets suggests the typical style of Vishnukundinas, said Dr Reddy. This also suggests that the Saktite religion survived in Palnadu region along with Shaivism and Vaishnavism.

He added that a similar sculpture but with bigger dimensions was found earlier near Konduru of Tenali mandal in Guntur district. He appealed to the archaeology department to take up exploration works at the site where the Mahishasura Mardini idol was found to know the archaeological potentiality of the place. He  requested the department to examine the possibilities of restoring the Gurajalamma temple.

Source: Deccan Chronicle [June 04, 2017]

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