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Mumbai's Rough-Hewn Legacy April 4, 2007
text and photographs by Samir S. Patel

Ancient caves are part of the fabric of life in a megacity's suburban slums.


Many of the details on the slender, refined Natraja have not survived, but some of the smaller figures have fared better, the oblique light calling them into dramatic relief. The figure in the far corner is Vishnu, riding Garuda, his winged mount. In traditional Hinduism, Vishnu is the preserver, part of a tripartite godhead along with Brahma the creator and Shiva the destroyer. But Mandapeshwar, like Jogeshwari and Elephanta, was carved by a Shaivite sect that worships Shiva as the supreme lord, consigning Vishnu to the periphery.  Next >>

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Samir S. Patel is an associate editor at ARCHAEOLOGY.

© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America