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Idol Car with Stone Wheels at Bunshunkuree
28.2 x 39 cm (image)
The Royal Collection
Photograph of an idol car at Banashankari, near Badami in north Karnataka. The temple was built by the Chalukyas of Kalyana perhaps in the twelfth century. The annual temple festival of Banashankari, in January and February, draws huge crowds. In India, during important religious festivals, the statues of the gods worshipped in the temples are carried on huge wooden chariots called rathas in a procession of devotees. These chariots, up to five or six metres in height and weighing several tonnes, are pulled along on enormous wheels of solid wood by dozens of men. They are minutely carved with figures of gods and look like movable temples.
The town of Banashankari, a few kilometres away from Badami, takes its name from the goddess to whom a temple is built here. Banashankari is a fierce form of Parvati, the consort of Siva, and her image enshrined here shows her as black and eight-armed and seated on a snarling lion.