A – Abstract
Orissa had a long history of great builders. Such royal patrons surely must have had a royal throne. However, no archaeology has so far been reported. This study presents a royal throne. It is related to Yayati Kesari-II.
B – Location & Relevant Background
|Varada Ganesha fig – 1|
At Cuttack opposite high court in Kali galli is the east facing monument of Varada 1 Ganesha. It is said to have been worshipped by Raghujee Bhonsle during Maratha rule in Orissa. Raghujee is said to have given land & financial grant 2. Installation of Varada Ganesha fig – 1 on this seat therefore logically can be attributed to Raghujee in 18th AD. The shrine has a ekaka sevayat (one family) system, having the title of Dikshit of Kasyapa gotra.
A ganapatya named Taponidhi Bharati had donated his property to Jew Jagannath including those at above location called Bharati mutth 3. At the mutth there is a tradition that the Gajjapati of Khordha used to come & sit in Mukta-angana-sabha (open air court) sometime in 19th & early 20th circa. The Gajjapatis had their own property at this site as well. The sand stone podium et. al. is said to have survived till early eighties whence it was dismantled & private dwellings made. Bharati’s property vesting in temple trust was done during British period 3. The ex site of the podium, details thereof & the present location of the Singhasana may be components. Presently they are separated by approx. 35 meters only, on a N – S line. The perimeter of Bharati’s erstwhile properties; Gajjapati holdings; how it came here; inter-connection; etc. are extraneous matter.
The monument & the seat face east; monument is Suryavansi pidha type of approx 25 ft high; has rectangular jagamohana; a pillared bhogamandapa has semi-circular, arched roof in western Orissan saili (style). Both added sequentially in later periods. Lay out is linear; floor level elevation enables eye contact with deity from point of entry. This is an independent Ganesha monument. The installed deity occupies the seat #.
# – Iconographic studies are part of another report.
C – Morphology
Inside the Garbha gruha (womb room) is a ornate mono-block; life size seat of black granite fig – 2; measures 76” (inches) height, 48” width (outer), seat clearance 42” wide(inner), 32” from back rest to front edge & seat height 18”. As per sthapati’s (traditional builder) unit of measure it works out to approx 4 kathi – 3 paa; 3 kathi; 2 kathi-2 paa; 2 kathi & 1 kathi-1 paa respectively. Total volume works = 27 cft. Wt. of granite being approx. 40 kgs /cft, gross wt. of the seat works out to approx. 1 tonne (20 mahana!).
1 kathi = 16 inches; 1 paa = 4”; Cft = Cubic feet.
|Singhasana [ The Throne ]
fig – 2
The seat has the following prominent signs:
1 – Crowing members being on either side (i) vase with a conical lid at apex. (ii) pouncing lions on either side OES. (iii) face turned birds) OES.
2 – An arch with crocodile face OES.
3 – Narasingha concept art at the center of the arch.
4 – Two prominent solar flowers.
5 – Flat, plain back rest, surmounted with a ornate semi circular band full with Lahara Jhaleri (scroll art) 4, at rim symbolic members are sculptured in 3D, in pairs, on alternate sides. Lahara art is in bass.
6 – (i) Gajja – Arudha Singha (Lion atop Elephant) motif at the edge of the hand rests (ii) lotus bud as grip.
7 – A Chamara dharaka (male) on the right of the throne; a pankha (hand fan, tala patara make circular type) dharinee (female) on the left.
8 – The singhasana’s platform is on a 4 tired Ratha yukta – Bhadrasana.
9 – A person wearing some sort of pagadi (turban ?) & a royal gown, standing on a raised podium in side pose, in some sort of vyakhana mudra (explaining pose).
D – Nidarsana Saili O Chitra Bhasa
The nidarsana saili (indication methodology) is in chitra bhasa (dialect of art). Converting the same into tools to decipher, I arrive at the following.
1 – The apex crowning member is a symbolic temple cranium composed of a purna kumbha fig – 3 having a lid which signifies (i) a new architectural & engineering concept (ii) faith (iii) state of affairs which is full of resources for self sustenance (iv) symbolised by the occupant of this seat. The foliated art pattern is reminiscent of the mauryan bell capital saili 5, lotus petals on the kumbha replacing the rib pattern of the bell is significant nidarsana
|fig – 3|
2 – Pair of Jhapata Kesharis (pouncing lions) JK; sitting on hinds; one arm in jab position fig – 3 & 4; other butted into fore-ground to give the body a erect pose; snarl on face; symbolic human face; happy countenance & twirled up mustache. In art JK is different from Uda Singha *and from the literary titleof Unmada Singha 6. The nidarsana is of a alert Lion, who protects all those who’s symbolic art signatures constitute the crowning members. JK represents the occupant’s lineage; it is therefore the occupant’s theriomorphic signature.
* – lion with both arms thrown forward in flying mode – specimens at Lingaraj & Bramheswara vajra mastaka; Term taken from Deula Sabdakosha (The Temple Dictionary), by Kalamani Rabi Narayan Sahu.
|fig – 4|
3 – The flanking peacocks with back turned face on either side are Parasta Mayura (defeated peacock) PM fig – 4. PM signifies the defeated Mauryan power that solely represents emperor Asoka. PM now decorates the empire; the seat’s arch represents the symbolic domain of the empire; it also imparts an impression of a pidha (stepped) arch; while the occupant of this seat should have had something to do with such domains.
5 – The occupant surely had something to do with the pidha saili of architecture & engineering fig – 3. The crown of the Narasingha suggests a head gear of pidha saili (stepped model).
|fig – 5|
6 – A pair of Prasphutita Padma (full blown lotus) PP on either corners at shoulder level indicates the full bloom status of kingship on one hand & on the other may indicate the Surya-kesari–sambandha (Sun – Lion co-relation) fig – 5. Bright sunshine climate throughout the year marks the habitat of Lion & Lotus. In Orissa similar PP pairs are noted on the stele of Hindu icons dated to post 10th AD.
7 – Pair of makara (crocodile) mark the arch of the throne, which makes it a makara torana. The arch is full with Jhaleri art work in low bass relief with lotus & buds fig – 5 & 1. It is different from Mukteswara torana.
8 – At the center of the arch, below the apex member is a Narasingha motif. It has prominent Vaishanava tilak on forehead; a crown; composite human -lion face (upper portion being human – lower gives a fugged sense of lion); large oval eyes much alikechakadola #, *. Kulke et.al 7 have re-produced a Jagannath icon having close ophthalmic configure. A prominent avian beak like nose and a pair of human fore limbs held at breast level as in Narasimha Vishnu icons in suggestive Narasimha pose. It is not Narasimha Vishnu. The placement is clearly above the head of any seated occupant. The occupant is a faithful of Hindu Vaishnava sect, is the nidarsana. The motif & its placement impart rare articulation. It is an important nidarasana via chitra bhasa in the art history of Orissa fig – 3
# – The face art has closer resemblance with the present face art of Balabhadra.
|fig – 6a||fig – 6b|
8. 1 – The Narasingha motif * wears a crown that appears to be a filigiri work fig – 2. Similar item is noted on the Damadar mukha of Lingaraj & in a chaiti on Mukteswar NE koni paga. It may be profitable to remember that silver filigiri work is indegenous to Cuttack.
* – Author has reported a Narasingha form of Jagannath at Rajarani which is different from the throne specimen.
9 – At terminal point on either side of arm’s rest a pair of Gajja arudha singha GAS are noted. fig – 6a &fig – 6b are the two sides of the throne. The nidarsana of parasta gajja (defeated elephant) signifies defeat of Dharmma (Buddhism). The jabbing Lion type is reproduced twice on this seat, rest motifs presented in single pairs. Jabbing Lion signifies a victorious sovereign & his lineage. Bhauma; Ganga or Suryavansi art is not associated with GAS motif.
10 – Above the terminus point of GAS a erect, robust, lotus bud on either side are noted as palm grip. They signify (i) Hindu occupant (ii) full control (of Hindu domain ?). Arms length position of the terminus indicates that indeed the seat was designed for human occupancy & not for idolatry. It is an important aspect in context to this topic .
11 – Flat, grooved back rest sans any art work indicates scope for mattress use; Chamara dharaka & dharini clearly establishes it to be a seat meant for occupation by a VIP. The Tala-patra pankha # (palm leaf hand fan) is the traditional type that even to this day is extensively used in Orissa fig – 6a & 6b.
|fig – 7|
|fig – 8|
12 – The base of the seat is Ratha-yukta, bhadra pitha in pancha ratha saili. accentuates the scheme & indicates the seat to be solely associated with a exalted person fig – 7.
13 – The standing person in vyakhana mudra (on a raised podium) placed at about feet level could be the depiction of symbolic court official who are expected to explain matters & provide updates to the occupant fig – 8. Full gown indicates such subordinate person too was of much senior rank.
The placement of the motifs individually & as a group impart rare articulation & brevity.
# – Palm tree leaf.
E – Discussion
Mangala ghata are noted only alongside iconic presentations, located at lower level corners on frames or near feet even in the earliest cognate group. It gets on to higher elevations (Lingaraj-10th AD) in Somavansa period, where it is Purna kumbha & not mangala ghata. The conical lid or lid type device comes in post Somavansa period. The Gangas are not associated with kumbhas.
The Narasingha concept as associated with Jagannath tradition precludes Vaishnava doctrine. Narasingha in art 7 & tradition 8 of Orissa is a post Somavansa & pre Ganga period introduction. The historical genesis point of Narasimha concept of Vaishnava doctrine in Orissa has been indicated as 11th AD & predates Chuda Ganaga Dev 8. Therefore the nidarsana of a suggestive or a proto Narasimha-Vishnu aspect on a throne type seat indicates a pre Chuda Ganga & post Yayati – I date for the seat. This seat therefore is associated with Narasingha aspect & tradition as is traceable in Orissa. Such narasingha motif is met with in art of medieval & modern period in select places in Orissa.
The art of JK & the Narasingha motif indicates a prominent avian beak like nose. Lion does not have such type of curvilinear,sharp & pointed nose. The occupant in all probability had such a type of nose. Even to this day the Orissan Narasingha murtis have a avian beak type nose. Whereas, all India art of Narasingha show a flat feline nose. It may be profitable to remember that the mythic Narasimha had a Leo’s face, limbs, while the posture is that of a homosapien 9. Contrarily, JK & the Orissan Narasingha motifindicates a human face, human hands in suggestive Narasingha pose. Kulke et.al came very close when they equated this motif with Narasimha-Vishnu 10. This motif represents a unknown sovereign (mortal) and not Narasimha of Prahalad-Hiranyakasipu tradition. It is brilliant suggestive art or nidarsana. Colossus, single, monolith JK – CSMJK specimens having alike faces are noted at the E & S kuruma beda Singhadwars of Jagannath temple; Indra-Dumnya tank; Markandeswar, Narasingha temple near Gundicha. The paired lions at various singhadwars are sect & site based variants & later extentions. I term these as Kesari ( lion) scheme.
GAS indicates Gautama in his theriomorphic form of a juvenile couchant tusker having twin pointed short tusks being trampled down by Hindu Lion which has a human face & twirled human mustache; no vaishnava tilak; the nose is not avian beak type, a circular tilak on fore head. GAS motif so far has not been related to any dynasty or individual. The Gangas have not been related to this art motif. GAS has one arm in jab pose or both in flying / leaping pose. Whereas JK sits erect + on both hinds with right arm in jab pose. GAS & JK are different signatures. Yayati-I has indicated GAS at Lingaraj; was a Saivait; had unseated the Bhauma karas. GAS indicates the Somavansis. Placement of GAS motif below the palm grip Indicates that the somavansis too are of no consequence. Yayati II’s father had been killed by Somavansi king Indraratha. Yayati II returned to Kosala post Indraratha & became the sovereign 11. This seat seems to have been designed for such a person. Multi mode conforming correspondence is noted.
+ – Egyptian Lions as at Karnak & the Ashokan Lion (Indian national emblem) which historically precede also sit in similar pose.
The exquisite parswadevatas at Lingaraj temple, which is Soma kula’s (moon dynasty) apex creation have Khamba torana (pillar arches), with an ornate arched stele having Sthapati’s Kirtimukha & not Narasingha mukha. Gallant person collecting pearls from makara mukha 12 in bass relief is noted on the vajra mastaka of Parasurameswar at Bhubaneswar # which is different from Makara torana in art & tale content. Coomarswami has indicated that makara was the symbol of water; vehicle of Varuna & the banner of Kamadeva 12. A crocodile alike animal is a being of the inter-tidal zone. In Orissa the Mahanadi; Bramhani & Prachi river delta areas have been natural habitat of makara. Buddha’s tooth relic was preserved in the Stupa– Vihara culture that flourished in such deltaic zone, literally protected by makaras. In Fig 5 the makara pair has its sturdy snout twisted & raised in salutation pose. It signifies that the occupant had (i) something to do with the disbandling of the stupa-vihara culture (ii) the subordinate position of the Buddhists (iii) the makara represents the defender of Dharmma (iv) makara may also indicate maritime destinations; territories; trade. Orissa had vibrant maritime activity 13; (iv) love & goodwill. Severally or jointly all these are attributable to a designer occupant. The Gangas are not reported to have had any anti Buddhist activity. Makara torana is not an aspect of Somavasi; Ganga or Suryavansi art either. The Kesaris emerge as the contenders.
# – Dated by Historians to 650 AD.
The four tired Ratha yukta, bhadra pitha [ as in fig – 7 ] in a pancha ratha scheme have homology with the paa bhaga of monuments dated to 11th AD i.e. with post Somavansi & pre Ganga period art.
All these conjunctly raises the status of this seat to that of a throne.
Yayati – I has been associated with the moon. Yayati – II has been associated with Kesari (lion), K-II was powerful, revived medieval Orissa’s fortunes, a house hold mythic character, yet related art is least talked in history books.
Historians have attributed Bramheswar to Udyot kesari’s period 14. Ithas no singhadwar; no JK; no parasta mayura. Instead of GAS it has Makara arudha singha (lion atop crocodile); this is a ex-Buddhist site. It also introduces kirtimukhas with female pairs #, which is repeated on Mukteswara torana; the art of the ladies offer inter-affinity. Therefore, among the kesaris, Yayati II emerges as the sole person attachable to this composite & the throne.
Art of the composite motif seems to be associated with the historic cum loric term ‘ Kesari’ while the date 11th AD is marked by Yayati kesari II as a powerful sovereign who had regional governors.
Yayati kesari II & Narasingha of kimbadanti (popular tradition) are one & the same. He emerges as the 1st Vaishnava king of Orissa. The sovereign during whose tenure Pidha saili came into vogue. It now becomes apparent that the term kesari popularly is referred to Yayati kesari II in Orissan villages.
The full gown wearing, standing person in vyakhana mudra fig – 8 if be taken as the governor 15, ++ of the imperial Kesari, things seem to resolve. Its co-relation with the Narsingha concept (& temple ?) of the 2nd quarter of 11th AD; Parasta Mayura & GAS nidarsana; Makara torana; Surya – Kesari sambandha and Ratha-yukta asana on bhadra pitha of pancha ratha style also settles as a square peg in a square hole.
++ – This clould well be the picture of the mythic Indradumnya who as per Orissa’s tradition built the 1st great monument for Narasingha the precurser icon of Puroshattam Jagannath (ref – 8).
Interestingly there are number of similar seats in various muktangana-vedis (open air podiums) associated with religious rituals e.g Kapileswar; Papanasini at Bhubaneswar and Bharati mutth at Cuttack. The Bharati mutth seat at Cuttack also has the flanking JK, but non present the above composite format.
Chuda ganga is said to have special liking for the Badu mahapatras. Badu mahapatras even to this day worship him as much they worship Jagannath. At Puri, Mahapatra 3 showed me at Badu mahapatra jaga (gymnasium) a enshrined sculpture of Chuda ganga dev in lalitasana on a alike looking throne.
The symbolic art scheme of the throne makes it a composite motif fig – 2. This composite constitutes many a dwarapala anga jharakhas of monuments dated to 11th AD. It forms the north base angasikhara series of Jagannath’s jagamohana. The first great temple there has been attributed to Yayati Kesari – II 8. Although available in good numbers this motif has not been associated either with Somavansi; Ganga or Suryavansi art nor its association with any royal dynasty been attempted. Purna kumbha is a prominent component of the angasikhara series.
The foliated art pattern of the crowning members on the Orissan pidha type jagamohana is reminiscent of the mauryan bell capital saili 5, suggestive Hindu lotus petals on the kumbha replacing the rib pattern of the mauryan bell with JKs adoring all the levels of the pidhas in the 4 cardinal directions is significant nidarsana. This particular type of cranium is noted on Jagamohanas post Lingaraj.
This throne, Yayati – II & the composite seem to be inter-locked.
The installed icon of Varada Ganesha fits into the architrave of the back rest as if the icon was made to order.
# – This proves that indeed the patron was female.
F – Conjecture
Composites consisting of Lion body with monarch’s face in durable plastic meant for permanent, open, public display, have been in vogue since Nile valley civilisation period 16, 17. With suggestive wings in Hinayana art 18; representing the sovereign since Asoka’s time in India 19. CSMJK is the Orissan variant. Select entrance level placement may have been the cause of the term singha-dwar (Lion’s gate); while he is on throne, the seat becomes singhasana; his door of entry is singhadwar; his title is kesari (lion). On all India basis author has noted that no monument dated between 10th –16th AD have such singhadwar concept as it is in Orissa .
Kesari possibly preferred entering such sites via main entrance . To avoid the ever present Kesari in his theriopoanthromorphic form at the main entrance at Jagannath temple, the later sovereigns (who had differing dynastic lineage), hence, may have devised the concept of entry via other gates !
Yayati (on chariot & windy) 20 ; Kesari (Lion); Nara-Singha (man-lion); Singhasana (lion’s-seat); Singhadwar (lion’s-door) offer correlation with the individual motifs as noted on this throne & the composite. These relate the throne to the person of Jajati – Kesari.
It also needs to be seen whether monarchs down the line used this throne or not ?. If Yes; this then is, the royal throne of Orissa.
G – Collateral finds & The Composite as a Tool
1 – GAS & its art variants are art signature of Yayati – I (of soma alias moon dynasty).
2 – JK & its variants including CSMJK are art signature of Yayati II (Kesari alias Leo dynasty).
3 – Yayati Kesari – II was the first Vaishnava sovereign of Orissa.
4 – That prior to Chuda Ganga it was Kesari monarch who possible switched his faith from Saiva to Vaishnava sect.
5 – Architecture & Engineering concept of the pidha jagamohana (which have no parallel) may be called as Kesari concept as it sports the JK series on all the sections of the pidhas in four cardinal direction. The apex of the jagamohana is a variant module of the Purna kumbha PK. PK & JK on a stepped roof form the crowning members of the jagamohana as kesari’s contribution.
6 – Lingaraj’s spire sports uda–singha (flying leo) & GAS. It is work of Yayati I.
7 – Lingaraj’s jagamohana is Yayati – II’s contribution as it sports only PK; JK & Pidha saili of roof with narasingha motifs guarding all the four cardinal directions.
8 – Narasingha nidarsan is material evidence of process la metamorphosis in the area of Hindu icon Jagannath’s. In otherwords Jagannath was Narasingha until 1025 AD; after 1025 he may have been known as Puroshattama (the best) long thereafter he became Jagannath ( lord of the world).
9 – Ancient Cuttack was Yayati Kesari- II’s choice as capital; which Chuda ganga continued with. Cuttack was not the capital of the Somavansis or the Bhauma-Kars.
10 – 11th AD which was otherwise considered as gray zone in Orissan art history period in fact is not.
11 – Yayati – II alias Kesari had only 15yrs of reign. In such short period he alike Kharagola laid the foundation on which swiveled the history of Orissa.
12 – He gave to Orissa a throne full with indigenous concepts permatised in solid granite.
13 – In not accepting any of Somavansi symbols or even religion, Kesari kula stands apart & independent of Soma kula. Kesari kula seem to evolve as a vibrant, separate one. The throne vindicates the position that Yayati II was anti pathic to Somavansis 11.
12 – The Runkuna chariot of Lingaraj seem to be another contribution of Yayati Kesari – II. It represents whole of the composite motif.
13 – The Papanasini seat may be the fore runner of this throne. It has uda-singha pair, it may be conjectured to be that of Yayati – I. This throne is in the precinct of a erstwhile prasada adjacent to Lingaraj complex.
14 – CSMJK are noted more in Puri, which indicates i ] – Yayati-II or his governor (Indradumnya ?) was much liked by the inhabitants there ii ] – Gov. was possibly a local person or was stationed there iii ] – CSMJK as work of such governor.
15 – If we apply the composite as a tool to evaluate the world famous Mukteswar torana it then indicates affinity with Bramheswara group 15. As a result of this study it now becomes apparent that Kolavati devi & Udyot Kesari could have been the patrons of Mukteswar torana and the jagamohanas (audience hall) of Mukteswara and Brahmeswara the art of which indicates that they were great patrons of Oddisi classical dance and such performing art had reached great refinement in their court
16 – By same methodology the Runkuna ratha indicates affinity with Kesari art.
17 – Again Mukteswar torana & the kirtimukhas on Bramheswara jagamohana indicates inter-affinity, a possible Udyot kesari contribution.
18 – The series of anga-sikharas that constitutes the Jagamohana’s north base at Jagannath temple is the archaeological remains of the untraced monument 8 built by Kesari or his governor Indradumnya for deity Narasingha, which pre dates the present spire. Identical anga-sikharas are noted at Natua ganesha temple at Puri; Raja rani; Runkuna Rath’s canopy; Mahavinayak at Jajpur; on monuments of 11th AD; etc. These are all Kesari contributions.
H – Conclusion
The composite motif as crowning members of a mono-block seat indicates it to be a royal thrown associated with the historical nomenclature Kesari.
The composite motif is the royal insignia of the imperial Yayati – II.
This Singahasana prima facie is that of the medieval Orissan monarch Yayati-II (1025 – 1040). It is the Singhasana of the Kesari Kula (Kesari Dynasty). Above dates then make this throne approx. 950 yrs.old. It is not a seat meant for icons. Maratha under the Bhonsle may have installed the made to order Varada Ganesha on it. This is also a Hindu royal throne & the best preserved specimen. The simpler model appears as its fore-runner; a evolutionary trail is also noted.
Yayati kesari II, Narasingha of kimbadanti (popular tradition) & the 1st Vaishnava king of Orissa are one & the same.
I – Acknowledgement
Grateful thanks to temple sebayat Mr. Balaram dikshit; trust board member Mr. Gobinda Chandra Pattanaik both of Kali gali for allowing physical examination of the throne, taking photographs, measurements & providing ref No. 2. Er. S P Gantayat Ex engineer in chief cum secretary works- Orissa & Mr. Dibakar Panda, caretaker Bharati mutth for private communication & topical discussions is thankfully acknowledged. I thank Dr. Bhagaban Panda Ex editor Directorate of Culture-Orissa for having assisted with lexicons & sanskrit components. Special mention need be done of Mr. Sarat Kumar mahapatra of SJRC, Puri who in-spite of ill health & old age accompanied me, exposed me to the archaeology at Badu mahapatra site & numerous others during my visits to Puri, he also provided valuable study material & long hours of learned discussion. But for such invaluable physical help this paper may not have been possible now.
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