Nata Mandapa, Konark

Nata Mandapa, Konark


Nata Mandapa, Konark - History

Puri (Odia: [ˈpuɾi] ( listen ) ) is a coastal city and a municipality in the state of Odisha in eastern India. It is the district headquarters of Puri district and is situated on the Bay of Bengal, 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of the state capital of Bhubaneswar. It is also known as Sri Jagannatha Dhama after the 12th-century Jagannath Temple located in the city. It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

Puri is known by several names since the ancient times, and was locally known as "Sri Kshetra" and the Jagannath temple is known as "Badadeula". Puri and the Jagannath Temple were invaded 18 times by Muslim rulers, from the 7th century AD till the early 19th century with the objective of looting the treasures of the temple. Odisha, including Puri and its temple, were part of British India from 1803 till India attained independence in August 1947. Even though princely states do not exist in India today, the heirs of the House of Gajapati still perform the ritual duties of the temple. The temple town has many Hindu religious mathas or monasteries.

The economy of Puri is dependent on the religious importance of the Jagannath Temple to the extent of nearly 80 percent. The 24 festivals, including 13 major ones, held every year in the temple complex contribute to the economy Ratha Yatra and its related festivals are the most important which are attended by millions of people every year. Sand art and applique art are some of the important crafts of the city.

Puri has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme of Government of India.


Sun Temple Architecture

Konark temple was build in a traditional style of Sun God chariot. The temple was made in a form of massive chariot with 12 pair of beautiful wheels & 7 set of horses puling it. It designed a beautiful manner for which the first rays of sunrise will appear to main entrance. The entrance was architectures with two huge lions. Erotica, monsters, beasts, warriors, and animals are carved on outside wall in a great beauty. Back in 1837 the main sanctum was fall down due to weak soil which have 70 meter height. But the 30 meter height audience hall still standing.

Archeologists have discovered couple of more temples around the main temple. One of the temple is dedicated to Mayadevi (Wife of Sun God ) and another is for Lord Vishnu. There are many beautiful sculptures known as ‘Mithuna’ sculptures. But the reason behind it isn’t discovered till yet. A common legend says that the sculptures are made after Kalinga war to spread love. The structure still survived is the ‘Nata Mandap’ (Dance Hall) and ‘Bhoga Mandapa’ (Dining Hall). Its the third link of states golden triangle follows by Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj Temple.

Orig anally the temple was built at sea bank but now its far from the sea. There is a ‘Navagraha Temple’ (Nine Planet Temple) located outside of the temple. All the ‘Navagraha’ idols are made of chlorite stones. While visiting the Sun Temple it feels like living in history. Its Increadable.


Konark Sun Temple Facts:

Konark is the third link in the Golden Triangle of Odisha. The first is Puri Jagannath Temple and the second is Bhubaneswar the capital of Odisha.
The Konark temple is built like a gigantic 24-wheel chariot about three meters high and drawn by 7 horses, which shelters the Sun god inside.
The Main entrance is guarded by two mighty Simhas / Lions, each killing a war elephant and under the elephant is a man. Lions represent pride, elephants represent wealth and both consume man.

Konark Temple was originally built on the seaside, but now the sea has receded and the temple is a bit far from the beach. This temple was also known as “BLACK PAGODA” because of its dark color and used as a landmark for sailors for Odisha.

Every day, the rays of the sun reached Nata Raja Mandir from the shore and reflected in the diamond placed in the center of the idol.
A heavy magnet was placed on top of the temple, and both of the temple stones are surrounded by iron plates. The idol floated in the air due to the arrangement of the magnets. The magnet on the top would have disturbed the compass for coastal travelers and would then have been removed.

Konark Sun Temple Architecture:

Most of the architectural figures that made the temple so famous were completely buried under rubble and sand, until the early 19th century. The existence of these beautiful lions, wheels, horses, elephants and simhasana of the Sun God that people ignore, visitors who arrived these days could not even enjoy the height of their beauty.

The desired Narasimhadeva temple was built in the shape of a huge Ratha (chariot), with twelve pairs of magnificently carved wheels on the north and south sides of the plinth masonry and dragged by a team of seven energetic horses, accelerating as if for across the sky.

  • Royal Guard of Konark – Lion Upon Elephant Upon Man
  • Great Wheel of Konark
  • War Horses of Konark Temple
  • Elephants of Konark Temple
  • Seven Horses of Konark Temple – Horses have been named in Bhagawat Gita, as ‘Gyatri’, ‘Usnika’, ‘Anustuv’, ‘Vrihati’, ‘Pangti’, ‘Tristup’ and ‘Jagati’
  • Simhasana (Seat) of the Presiding Deity

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Writer: Kumar Aurojyoti

The Sun Temple of Konark is an architectural wonder. If we appreciate the beauty of it&rsquos artifacts now, even though it is almost in ruins, just imagine how wonderful would have been it&rsquos beauty when the temple was at it&rsquos prime!

Whatever might be the reason (enemy invasion or gross neglect), there was a time when Konark laid neglected in ruins. At that time the&hellip


Tag: KONARK

Shaped like a giant chariot, the temple is known for the exquisite carvings that cover the entire structure. The Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya and is the most famous of the few sun temples built in India. The Eastern Ganga dynasty king Narasimhadeva I initiated the construction in c.1250 CE but there are legends that the temple never met its climax.

In Hindu mythology, Sun God Surya is portrayed riding a chariot of seven horses. It is from here that the idea of the temple being constructed in the form of a chariot is taken. The temple follows the Kalinga or Orissa style of architecture which is a subset of the Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture. The Odisha style is believed to showcase the nagara style in all its purity. Nagara style has three major elements i.e., mandapa, garbhagriha and shikara (tower). Although shikara of this temple is lost today, only the jaganmohana and the pillared bhoga mandapa (refectory hall), also known as the nata mandapa (dancing hall) owing to the numerous sculptures of dancers and musicians on its walls and pillars, in front, remain.

Historians differ in their stories about what actually happened to the magnificent temple that was so close to its completion. Most accepted theory that remains is that the architect of the temple was really passionate about his art. He believed in the sanctity of his work and considered Konark as the highest level of his architectural skills. But failing to finish the temple, the architect was disappointed in himself. Then came the news of the Chalukyan attack on Kalinga and also on the temple. Foreseeing that the temple will get in polluted hands and lose its sanctity the architect himself destroyed his very own masterpiece, the legacy of his artwork, the Konark temple.

The story narrates the passion of the architect, Vishu towards his art, who in the name of preserving his work’s sanctity destroyed the one masterpiece for which he has worked his fingers to the bone. It portrays the seriousness of the artists of that time who really worshipped their work. The temple still stands in its own ruins, although incomplete and abandoned, it still manages to leave the visitors awestruck.


KONARK TEMPLE: A SCIENTIFIC MARVEL TO A TRAGIC END

Shaped like a giant chariot, the temple is known for the exquisite carvings that cover the entire structure. The Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya and is the most famous of the few sun temples built in India. The Eastern Ganga dynasty king Narasimhadeva I initiated the construction in c.1250 CE but there are legends that the temple never met its climax.

In Hindu mythology, Sun God Surya is portrayed riding a chariot of seven horses. It is from here that the idea of the temple being constructed in the form of a chariot is taken. The temple follows the Kalinga or Orissa style of architecture which is a subset of the Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture. The Odisha style is believed to showcase the nagara style in all its purity. Nagara style has three major elements i.e., mandapa, garbhagriha and shikara (tower). Although shikara of this temple is lost today, only the jaganmohana and the pillared bhoga mandapa (refectory hall), also known as the nata mandapa (dancing hall) owing to the numerous sculptures of dancers and musicians on its walls and pillars, in front, remain.

Historians differ in their stories about what actually happened to the magnificent temple that was so close to its completion. Most accepted theory that remains is that the architect of the temple was really passionate about his art. He believed in the sanctity of his work and considered Konark as the highest level of his architectural skills. But failing to finish the temple, the architect was disappointed in himself. Then came the news of the Chalukyan attack on Kalinga and also on the temple. Foreseeing that the temple will get in polluted hands and lose its sanctity the architect himself destroyed his very own masterpiece, the legacy of his artwork, the Konark temple.

The story narrates the passion of the architect, Vishu towards his art, who in the name of preserving his work’s sanctity destroyed the one masterpiece for which he has worked his fingers to the bone. It portrays the seriousness of the artists of that time who really worshipped their work. The temple still stands in its own ruins, although incomplete and abandoned, it still manages to leave the visitors awestruck.


A Visual Glossary of Hindu Architecture

Adisthana – the decorative raised platform on which a temple is built.

The Brihadishvara Temple (side view), Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. c. 1010-1025 CE. The temple is, at 65 m high, one of the largest Chola period buildings.

Alasa kanya – a decorative female figure.

Or, how you should put kajal (kohl, collyrium) on your eyes. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India, 11th CE

Amalaka – a large fluted stone disc placed on top of a Nagara tower taking its form from the amla or myrobalan fruit native to India.

The Muktesvara Temple, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India. 9-10th century CE.

Antarala – an antechamber to the inner sanctum or garbhagriha of a temple.

A diagram illustrating the principal features of Hindu temples. This example is the Kandariya Mahadeo temple at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India, c. 1025 CE.

Ardhamandapa – a temple portico serving as an entrance porch.

Bho – a medallion motif of Orissan architecture which projects from towers and shows a monster regurgitating garlands flanked by two dwarfs.

The 8th century CE Durga temple at Aihole, Karnataka, India. It is richly decorated with architectural sculpture such as figures of Durga and Shiva.

Bhoga mandapa – (or Bogh-mandir) a hall in Orissan temples which is used for consecrated food preparation and distribution.

A diagram illustrating the principal features of a Hindu temple complex.

Devalaya – the general name of a temple meaning a god’s dwelling place.

The Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. c. 1010-1025 CE. The temple is, at 65 m high, one of the largest Chola period buildings.

Dravida – the style of southern temple architecture.

The Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. Built between 700 and 728 CE during the reign of Narasimhavarman II, it is a remnant of a larger complex of temples and civil structures much of which lie under the depth of the sea now.

Garbhagriha – (also garbha grha) meaning ‘womb-chamber,’ the small windowless room that is the main shrine of the temple, usually containing a representation or symbol of the principal deity.

Ghana dvara – blind doorways of the garbhagriha, which symbolically allow the energy of the deity to radiate through and beyond the temple. They may also act as secondary niche shrines.

Ghanta – a bell-shaped finial on the top of a tower.

The garbhagriha (garbha grha) inner sanctum of a Shiva temple at Pattadakal.

Gopura – a monumental gate tower of Dravida temples.

The monumental gateway of the Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. c. 1010-1025 CE. The temple is one of the largest Chola period buildings.

Jagamohana – the mandapa or entrance hall of an Orissan temple.

An illustration indicating the original design of the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, India. 13th century CE.

Kirtimukha – a decorative lion or monster motif with the lower jaw missing, typically placed over doorways.

A Kirtimukha from Kathmandu, Nepal, a decorative lion or monster motif with the lower jaw missing, typically placed over doorways in Hindu architecture.

Mandapa – a columned hallway which leads to the garbhagriha or inner sanctum.

The mandapa or columned hall of the Amritheswara temple in Amrithapura, Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka state, India.

Makara – a decorative sea monster motif.

A makara, the decorative sea-monster motif common in Hindu architecture, especially, as here, above doorways. Cambodia, 1st-7th century CE. (Musée Guimet, Paris)

Nagara – the style of northern temple architecture.

The Jain Parsvanatha Temple, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India. 950-970 CE.

Nandi Mandapa – a pavilion which contains a statue of Shiva’s gatekeeper and vehicle, the bull Nandi.

Nandi and lion sculptures on the the early 8th century CE Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, southern India.

Nata mandapa – (also nata mandir) the dance hall in Orissan temples, added from the 10th century CE.

The nata mandapa or dance hall of the 13th century CE Hindu Surya Sun temple at Konark, India.

Nataraja – a decorative dancing Shiva motif.

A sculpted sandstone panel from the 8th century CE Durga Temple, Aihole, Kamataka, India. Depicted are Shiva and Nandi.

Prakara – a high wall which encloses a temple.

The early 8th century CE Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, southern India, is one of the most impressive structures surviving from ancient India.

Ratha – a projection on the exterior wall of a Nagara temple there are typically seven on each side. Also the name for the chariot of the sun god Surya which sun temples represent via spoked wheels on the outer walls.

Carving of a wheel on the 13th century CE sun temple in Konark (Konarak), Orissa, India. The temple was dedicated to the sun god Surya. There are a total of 12 pairs of wheels and the main shrine is shaped like a chariot and the wheels represent time. In fact, they can each be used as sundials to read time.

Sala – a barrel-vaulted roof in Dravida architecture, often represented as an architectural motif.

The 7th century CE Bhima Ratha with its sala barrelled roof on the left and the Dharmaraja Ratha temple. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

Sikhara – the tower of a Nagara temple which is built directly above the inner sanctum or garbhagriha. Also the decorative top of a tower in Dravida temples.

Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneshwar, India. 11-12th century CE.

Tala – the tiers of a vimana tower.

Talas (tiers) of the vimana (tower) of the Brihadishvara temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. c. 995-1025 CE.

Temple tank – a ritual bathing tank or pool common in southern temples.

Gopura & Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India, 12th century CE.

Urushringa – a smaller, subsidiary tower, usually joining or enclosing the main tower.

The Kandariya Mahadeo temple, Khajuraho, India. Dedicated to Shiva c. 1025 CE.

Vimana – the more rounded tower of a Dravida temple. Typically they are topped by a small dome.

The early 8th century CE Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, southern India, is one of the most impressive structures surviving from ancient India.

Vastu-purusa-mandala – the symbolic symmetrical floorplan which Hindu temples follow.

The vastu-purusa-mandala (symmetrical floor plan) of the Vishveshvur temple, India.

Vesara – the style of architecture which mixed Nagara and Dravida styles.

The Somnathapura temple, Karnataka, India. The temple is a good example of the Vesara architectural style which mixed northern and southern styles (Nagara and Dravida). 13th century CE.

Vyala – (also yali) the decorative lion monster seen in many Hindu temples.

A vyala (yali), the decorative lion monster which decorates many Hindu temples. This example is from the Mahadeva temple, Khajuraho, India. 11th century CE.


Konark Sun Temple – A Symbol of Incredible India’s Heritage

The Konark Sun Temple, which is under UNESCO World heritage in 1984, is among the many wonders of the world. This massive and magnificent structure is spellbinding and although mostly in ruins, it still upholds some of the best architectural and sculptural art of the 13th century Kalinga that is today’s Odisha.

On the way to Konark Sun Temple at Odisha

Google road map from Puri to Konark

Last month we visited Konark Sun Temple . We stayed at Puri and hired a car for visiting Konark.

We started from our hotel after a quick lunch and it took about 1hr (35 kms) to reach Konark via Puri – Konark Marine Drive road …….

Beautiful morning and nice journey ……. The driver dropped us about 1/2 km away from the temple (no vehicles are permitted beyond this distance from the temple premises).

We walked past hundreds of visitors. The Konark Sun Temple , the ruins, standing the test of time, are visible from the distance. Nowadays, the whole structure is undergoing a great deal of repairs to preserve the heritage.

Konark Sun Temple - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Konark Sun Temple Complex

Konark Sun Temple Complex

Brief history of the Konark Sun Temple :

There are different documentations regarding the exact time of construction of this temple.

Taking into consideration the different views, the Konark Sun temple was constructed in the middle of the 13th century between 1240 and 1270 A.D. by King Narasimha Dev I of the Ganga dynasty. About 1200 artisans were involved in the construction under the leadership of master artisan Bishu Moharana. The temple construction was completed in 16 years!

The king spent a lavish amount of State revenue to construct the temple. At present currency rates, the estimated revenue then spent equals to some 2,00,00,00,000 INR (Two hundred crores of rupees).

The documentations of the reasons behind constructing this grand temple are also varied. Some say that the King built the Sun temple in the memory of his lady love, Mayadevi, who was the princess of the historical Sisupalgarh.

Another story puts forward that the father of King Narasimha Dev, Raja Anangavim Dev,believed that his son was born with the blessings of the Sun god. So, the queen, the mother of Narasimha Dev advised to build the temple as a tribute to the Sun god. Again, another story tells that the King had a deformed spinal cord and he built the temple for the Sun god to get rid of his deformity and have a healthy offspring.

Konark Sun Temple complex

The Temple Structure :

The temple is built in the shape of a gigantic chariot with 12 wheels on both the sides and 7 horses in front of the temple. It has three parts – the main temple (“Viman”), the porch (“Mukhasala” or “Jagamohan”) and the Hall of Dance (“Nata Mandir”) or Hall of Offerings (“Bhoga Mandap”).

The entrance gate makes a common passage to all the parts of the temple. The main temple (which had now collapsed completely)and the porch are built on a common platform while the Hall of Dance is built on a separate platform.

The structure of the Konark Sun Temple has been an architectural wonder. The artisans of the 13th century had constructed the main temple, the porch and the hall of dance at the eastern gate in such a way that the first ray of the sun would fall on the head of the idol of the Sun god placed on the throne of the main temple, passing through the doors of all the temples.

Queued up in the line for ticket at Konark Sun Temple

Ticket counter at Konark Sun Temple

On the way to Sun Temple entrance . local shops on both sides of the pathway

Miniature of Konark wheels selling at the local shops in Sun temple complex

Local shops selling shells, conches at Sun temple complex

Handicraft items made from shells at the Sun temple complex shops

Crowded entry gate to the Konark Sun Temple

We queued up in the line at the ticket counter to buy our entry tickets. On both sides of the pathway, there are various local shops selling shells, conches, cowries, numerous handcrafted items made from coconut, palms and a wide range of local goods.

A nice morning with mild clouds on the sky ………. and by the time we reached the entrance gate to show our tickets to the security, I was too excited to get into the realm of history.

On each side of the entrance to the temple stands a huge statue of a lion crushing a war elephant beneath whom lies a man…….

There’s no audio guide nor descriptions for the structures on site. No wonder there are so many local guides around. Despite being a weekday, it’s crowded.

At the entry point of Nata Mandir - The huge statue of lion crushing a war elephant beneath whom lies a man .

A part of the Nata Mandir (dancing hall) with sculptures of various dance poses

View of Nata Mandir (dance hall) from the side of Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple - South side

Konark SUn Temple - North Side

Walking past the two statues, I enter the Nata Mandir (dancing hall), where temple dancers would pay homage to the Sun God with their performance. Facing the Nata Mandir is the Sun Temple itself.

The temple was built in such a way that the first rays of the rising sun would touch the Nata Mandir and reflect from the diamond in the middle of the idol in the temple’s main sanctum.

Simply mesmerizing! ……… and these structures are more than seven hundred years old!

Due to its height, the Nata Mandir offers a good view of the Sun Temple complex. Within the area, there are different subsidiary structures.

Even in its partially-ruined state, this architectural marvel reflects the genius of its builders…..

Superbly carved intricate sculptures adorn the existing Sun temple’s exterior. These include deities, floral and geometric patterns, dancers, musicians, elephants, birds, mythical creatures and… lovers in erotic poses.


PENETRATING INTO POLYANDRY

Polyandry, universally, is not defined in the same manner. Mc Lennan provided a basic definition- polyandry signifies a marriage of one women to more than one men. Lubbock finds it far from easy to distinguish between communal marriage and true polyandry. Spencer considered polyandry as one of the kinds of marital relations emerging from the primitive unregulated state. And Briffault regarded it as a remnant of group marriage.

Those who regarded polyandry as a consequence of harsh living conditions, included Summer, Keller, Vinogradoff and Westermarck.

The roots of polyandry lay in the ancient and remote past. Polyandry in ancient times existed in many regions. Literary and other sources provide its proof. For Indian Ancient history, if we consider the Vedic, that is considered to lay the foundation of Brahmanism, Vedic Sources portray polyandry very casually according to the evidence provided by Sarva Daman Singh in “Polyandry in Ancient India”.

According to Brahmanic sources such as the Dharmashastras and Grihasutras there are ascribed eight forms of marriage: Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Gandharva, Asura, Rakshaha and Paishacha. The idea is elaborated in the Smritis.

The Brahma marriage is one in which a father adorns and honours his daughter with garments and ornaments, and gifts her to a man who is learned in the Veda and of good conduct.

The Daiva marriage is when a father adorns and honours his daughter with garments and ornaments, and gives her in marriage to an officiating priest in the course of the performance of a sacrifice. This form only applies to Brahmanas.

The Arsha form involves the gift of a daughter after taking a pair of battles (a cow and bull) or two pairs, in order to fulfil customary law, not as a sale of the daughter.

The Prajapatya marriage is one in which the father gifts the daughter after saying to the couple, ‘may both of you perform your religious duties together’, and after he has honoured the groom with the appropriate ceremonies such as the madhuparka.

The Asura marriage is one in which a girl is given away by the father after the bridegroom hands over as much wealth as he can afford to the bride and her relatives.

The Gandharva type is a union between a man and woman through mutual love and consent.

The Rakshasa type is when a woman is forcibly abducted from her home, her relatives often being beaten and killed.

The Paishacha form is when a man has sex with a girl while she is asleep, intoxicated, unconscious, or mentally disordered.

The Brahma was considered the best and the Paishacha the lowest.

The last four forms were considered undesirable as they weakened the authority of the patriarchs.

EVIDENCE OF INCEST

Concerning the ancient Indian past, there are clear references to an epoch when sexual relations between brother and sister, father and daughter were neither impermissible nor unheard of.

The famous dialogue between Yama and Yami visualizes the union of brother and sister despite the remonstrance of Yama, who refuses to oblige her sister. Other examples in Rig Veda include- the union of Prajapati and his daughter of Pusan wooing his mother of Surya following Usa.

Iranians called incest sacred under the name Khvetuk-das.

Therefore, there is clear evidence of considerable sexual freedom amongst the Aryans.

Polyandry is seen as an unusual and exotic custom from anthropological context and exact opposite of polyandry is polygyny where men marries several women.

Anthropologists among the scholars have tried to explain the Polyandrous marriage by giving both economic and social explanation-

  1. Economic explanation- such a marriage union would prevent the fragmentation of family.
  2. Social explanation- need to promote intra-familial harmony, commonality with family units.

In ‘The History of Human Marriage’, Westermarck listed the principal causes conducive to polyandry

  1. Disequilibrium of the ratio of sexes
  2. Economic cause – need to keep family undivided and therefore, property.

When the wealthy practice polyandry, that is because they want to keep their wealth undivided and their influence unimpaired.

When the bride-price in some areas is too high for a single individual to afford, many men pool single individuals to afford, many men pool their resources to purchase a common wife. That’s how the poor practice polyandry.

VEDIC POLYANDRY

Rigveda refers to the fact that the three previous divine husbands of the maiden are Soma, Gandharva and Agni best understood relic of a gradually disused custom of polyandry. Atharvaveda repeats this belief.

  1. ASWIN BROTHERS- called the “sons of Dyaus”. The Rigveda describes how the Aswins win the hand of the refulgent Surya, the sun god’s daughter. Aswin brothers at once become her husbands or ‘patis’, the divine practitioners of adelphic polyandry.

The practice was known and not yet viewed with disapprobation. Hence, gods, too became polyandrous.

  1. Earliest known proof of polyandry comes from Sumer- Uru-Kaggina. Women of that period were owned by two men. Harappa was connected to Sumer via trade. Therefore, they may have adapted such practices.
  2. The Sadharani wife of the Marutas, Rodasi, who with her hair disheveled and mind fixed on her lords, woos them to unite with her.

Polyandry in the divine sphere does not end with the Marutas.

  1. VISVEDEVAS “the twin gods” also known to be “two with one go”. Such mythological figures such as these mirror the persistence of the polyandric tradition in the early Aryan society.
  2. SAGE VASISTH, as the son of Mitra and Varuna from the nymph Urvasi.

Rsi families followed the idea of two persons sharing one wife.

The bride is candidly described as “desirous of”, or “loving her brother-in-law”, in some verses, which seem to hint at their status as her secondary husbands.

The Vedic Devr- when a man’s funeral rites are performed the didhisu (wooer) brother-in-law claims the widow as full wife for love, property and progeny.

The Tenth Mandala of Rig Veda and also Atharvaveda refers to the wife of Brahmana taken to a Kshatriya’s home and later returned- attests the existence of polyandrous practices.

While some scholars tell us that niyoga or levirate has nothing to do with polyandry, others are equally insistent that it typifies an attenuated relic of polyandry. Niyoga in the ancient times was also practiced by the Hebrews.

The early Aryan scene doubtless illustrates a classic combination of polyandry in some sections of a migratory society.

5. SAGE DIRGHATAMAS was known by his metronymic Mamateya, alone, in many passages of the Rig Veda strongly suggests use of metronymics particularly in relation to the offspring of polyandrous households. He is also called Aucathya or “son of Ucatha”.

It is the case of Fraternal polyandry. Mamta was the wife of Ucathya. Ucathya’s younger brother Brishaspati. Brihaspati had the rightful access to Mamata (his elder brother’s wife). And text finds no fault in the conduct of Brishaspati.

Rig Veda further points out that if the wife wants a son and her husband could not give her one then she can go to devr or husband’s brother. Atharvaveda contain evidence to polyandry- marriage hymns in the text-

  • The pointed reference to “fathers-in-law” in contradistinction to “mother-in-law” shows that the groom’s parents are polyandrous.
  • Prayer to Agni for ‘husbands’ for the sake of progeny clearly suggests fraternal polyandry.

There is no doubt that all the brothers of the bride-groom have fully approved and desired access to the bride. She comes to them as a field, in which they may scatter their seed for the sake of progeny. Mating with his husband’s brother was known as “devrkama”.

  1. Another Atharvavedic passage- maiden given to husbands to enable her to find out one according to her wish.
  2. Patent proof of polyandry in Atharvaveda- a Brahman’s wife, who was returned to her husband by King Soma after a while.
  • The verses of Atharvaveda clearly show that a woman may have as many as ten husbands at a time.
  • Polyandry was well-known and practiced in the age of the Atharvaveda.

Polyandry common among the Non-Aryans, such as the Austrics. Polyandry was a widespread practice among the Indo-European people. Sale of the daughter was a common practice. Among the Khasas, polyandry, monogamy as well as group marriage are in simultaneous evidence. Marriages by abduction are also known in Rig Veda called Rakshasa marriage. If monogamy is approved in a few passages, polyandry is similarly accepted and presented in circles of both human and divine.

Polyandry, thus is neither un-Vedic nor merely un-Aryan. It is true that both before and after their arrival in India, the Aryans were in closest possible contact with populations among whom polyandry was an established social norm. The references to polyandry in the Early Vedic Aryan texts are therefore as natural as they are expected.

Mc Goldstein- Polyandry as an earlier form of group marriage which later gave way to conjugal pairs where patrilineal became the most dominant form of lineage i.e., wife and children belong to husband.

Tangle- women and children are the first form of property of man

In the polyandrous marriage while the elder brother has superior status but he does not have any exclusive or sexual right in comparison to other brothers, the wife herself points to the commonality between all men and children in Polyandrous marriage refers to the children of all men related to one mother.

HISTORIOGRAPHICAL ANALYSIS

  1. Robert Briffault- Polyandrous marriage had an established social usage among people whom the so called Aryans were in contact with.
  2. Sarva Daman Singh- points to polyandrous marriage neither unknown nor uncommon in areas around the Caspian Sea. Custom of polyandrous marriage among Aryans was not acceptable but that does not mean it did not existed
  3. John Collins Scott- all customs are based on rejection of other possibility
  4. Apte- said that polyandry was not known or mentioned of other possibility.
  5. Ram Gopal- “notion of Vedic Kalpasutra” said it was abhorrent of Indo-European to think of polyandry.
  6. Al-Bachani- “polyandry was not wholly unknown to the Ancient World.”

Among the Medes of Ancient Persia (Strabo-Greek historian) says the general form of marriage union and women saw this as honour and will not prefer less.

B.S. Upadhyaya in his work, “Women in Rig Veda” argues that Surya was only the wife of Soma and Asvins were only the groomsmen. However, RigVeda itself says Surya as patni and Asvins as patis. “Marutas are storm Gods and Rodasi is their lightning but this does not explain the reference of Rodasi as Sadharani (common wife) of Marutas.”

In the interpretation of the Vedic verses about the plural usage of husbands- “patibiyo”, “patiya”

Keith and Mac Donell– in the Vedic Index were of view, its difficult to be certain of existence / correct explanation for actual instances of usage of husbands in plural.

Weber suggests “plurals here could be the plural of majesty”.

The RigVeda attests to the social morality which sees nothing improper in the idea of polyandrous marriage.

In the Later Vedis text, Taitteriya Samhita there is reference to noble husbands and fair progeny in the context of a single wife. Ethos of Vedic Aryan society had looked for polyandrous marriage as disfavour. Taittriya Samhita and Aitreya Brhamana both are very critical in asserting that men may have several wives but women cannot have several husbands. Therefore, the charm attached to polyandrous marriage seems lost.

In the Mahabharata, polyandrous marriage of Draupadi-reference to Fraternal Polyandrous marriage referring to two names – Jatila and Vakshi as on the contract on these two, Pandavas Polyandrous marriage explained by Vasudeva Sharan Aggrawal in Bharata Savitri– tried to explain “due to the influence of their childhood, initial years of Pandavas sent in Himalayan Satsrg area where such custom prevailed- they didn’t find anything uncommon in Polyandrous marriage.”

D.D. Kosambi – “ it is not necessary to introduce Tibetan Marriage ritual but only to rely on Rig Veda ritual for Polyandrous marriage is not accepted as a matter of course, leads to tortuous explanation to marriage.”

Polyandrous marriage, therefore, was a tradition that was not restricted to one religion. But practicing this cultural theme had different objectives in different regions. Examples for such variations of this practice- on the surface, the Pahari and Tibetan marriage systems seem very similar. Both have polyandry of fraternal variety. Berreman accounts for much of this ground level diversity in the Pahari context as the natural consequence of the family developmental cycle. According to Berreman, Pahari polyandry seems not to be sufficiently similar to a number of other systems also called ‘polyandry’ in literature, although it may well be significantly similar to some such systems.

Berreman, then, in his article gives a case study of two villages of Jaunsar Bawar namely Lohari and Baila. Consensus of these villages were provided by Majumdar. There are in total 146 domestic units. 44% were polyandrous, 20% were polygynous, 36% were monogamous.

Based on the report of Lohari village, Majumdar coined the term polygynandry– “refer to any marital union involving a multiplicity of both, husbands and wives.” in Lohari village- 49% polyandrous marriage and 61% were those unions had as many wives as husbands. In such a polygynandrous group, a woman goes through a marriage ceremony with the eldest brother, all of the brothers there upon becoming the woman’s husband. Subsequent wives may also be taken.

Berreman compares the data collected from this village with that of polyandrous Garhwal, where he says in 1962, fraternal polyandry was as high as demographically possible. Supplemented Jain’s data, he came to the conclusion that polyandry was common and preferred domestic arrangement.

Searching for the causes he says-

  • Families with less land would generally have fewer wives because no labour is needed.
  • Families with no land, even lesser wives that too only for the domestic work.

Therefore, family size was smaller among the landless and multiple marriage was less common.

For example, in the case of the Garhwal village of Sirkanda which was studied by Berreman and also in the case of Lohari village of Jaunsar Bawar which was studied by Majumdar. According to Majumdar’s data, polygynandrous marriage was common in all castes.

Reasons for additional wives-

  1. To produce children (mainly sons) if the first wife is barren, has only daughters or has few sons.
  2. To increase the adult labor force in the family.
  3. To provide increased or improved social and sexual companionship within the family.

Melvyn Goldstein in his article ‘Pahari and Tibetan polyandry revisited’- compares the Tibetan and Pahari forms of Polyandry. Goldstein points out that Berremen accounts for the ground level diversity of the family developmental cycle.

The Pahari system of marriage union differs, however, from the Tibetan in terms of frequency of various types of unions and with regard to the strategic principles underlying their selection. “While the Tibetan polyandry has its basis on an economic cause. Pahari polyandry accounts for family prestige. Family prestige rises with its numbers.”- Majumdar

Tibetans practice is for keeping their property intact and avoiding division of a family’s estate. Whereas the Tibetan marriage system is oriented towards the minimisation of wives, the Pahari marriage system is oriented towards the maximisation of wives. Social status, esteem, and wealth are associated with maximising the number of wives among Paharis, whereas among Tibetan polyandrous population it is associated with a corporate family’s ability to minimize the number of brides per generation i.e, to maintain fraternal polyandrous stem families. Fraternal polyandry, while present in both Pahari and Tibetan society, is the product of very different underlying values and strategies and thus, not surprisingly, is found in very different frequencies in these societies.

Fraternal polygynandry and polygyny typify the Pahari context but are considered the least advantageous options in Tibetan society and occur with the least frequency there.

Polyandry existing in other parts of the world- Medes, Get-ti of Bactria and Sogdiana, Hindu-Kush tribe– polyandry was prevalent among all these groups. About the Get-ti, Strabo said, “Kings were polygynous and people were polyandrous. Medes exchanged wives between friends. Fraternal polyandry was practiced in Greece and Sparta. The Opomps says that Etruscans practiced polyandry. Irish had free access to one another’s wives. In Turkmenistan, Polyandrous marriage was obligatory.

Therefore, we come to a conclusion that, rather than just an instance in the Mahabharata, polyandry was much more than that much more popular and practiced culture throughout the subcontinent. There is ample evidence to prove this. There existed different forms of polyandry, in different regions and for different purposes. This paper was an attempt against the long existing taboo of Indian as well as other societies that frowned upon the concept of polyandry. The practices of polyandry was not just a phenomena that was followed by us humans but we find that our Vedic Gods were polyandrous too. Therefore, Polyandry from the time immemorial was a socially approved custom of marriage.


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