FINE CARVING OF AIYANAR
The seated figure is Aiyanar, predominantly worshipped in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Aiyanar is believed to be the son of Shiva and Mohini (the female form taken by Vishnu) and is worshipped as a village folk deity. Aiyanar is always shown carrying a whip in his hand and also has meditation band called Yogapattam around his knees in his sitting posture. Many believe Aiyanar was later worshipped as present day Ayyappan.
Such intricately carved wooden panels were used to decorate chariots. Temple cars or chariots also called as “Rathas” are vehicles used to carry idols of Hindu gods in processions on annual festival days. These are usually made of wood and in most cases have exquisite and intricate carvings on multiple set-in panels. The carvings can be images depicting stories from puranas, deities, mythical animals like Yali, ganas, dancers, real animals etc.
Rathas from different parts of India vary in style and size. These rathas decorated with flowers and jewels are pulled with thick ropes by hundreds of devotees. The anglo-Indian term “Juggernaut” was inspired by the large temple cars at Jagannath temple, Puri. The chariot at Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu is said to be the largest – 29 metres tall and weighing over 300 tonnes.
The Antique Story