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Shiva's Dance in Stone:
Ananda Tandava, Bhujangalalita, Bhujangatrasa

Fig. 4: Shiva Nataraja in the Vedapurishvara temple in Pondicherry
Stone, probably granite
Pondicherry, Puducherry, India
date unknown 120 centimeter (approximately)

January 2011, by Liesbeth Pankaja Bennink, Kandhan Raja Deekshithar, Jayakumar Raja Deekshithar, Shankar Raja Deekshithar.

The sanctum is situated in the North-East corner of the prakara and faces south. It is a simple tile covered space without any special features.

Of all the stone Nataraja murtis we were able to include in our survey this one is the smallest. It is between two and three feet in hight. Together with the pedestal this murti is probably less then 1.20 meter high. Goddess Sivakamasundari is by his side. Patanjali and Vyagrapada are not present. The pedestal is rectangular with the central bay protruding and is build up of several slight moldings.

Although the murti is largely covered by a cloth it can be deduced two large makara form the base of the prabha. Their tails are just visible. The main body of the prabha is round and broad and is encased in two slim rims. The flames are depicted in an almost abstract fashion and are positioned slightly apart from each other. At the top the prabha is covered with the head dress.

The Apasmara is only just visible under the cloth and lies with its head towards the right. It probably holds the tail of a cobra in one of its hands.

The 6 jata on each side of the head form two solid bodies stretching sideways from the head. On the proper right a diminutive moon can be seen one the locks. Around the head and shoulders more curly hair or jata are falling down. The earrings are not clearly visible. Curls or a kind of diadem decorates the forehead. A fan of feathers in which a human head or skull is placed crowns the head.

The figure of the Nataraja is fully free. All the background stone has been removed.

The upper-right hand holds the damaru, the upper-left the fire. It is not obvious whether the flame is placed on a vessel or not.