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Photographer's Note

The periphery of the Natyamandapa had no dearth of sunlight. The columns here, as in the entire mandapa, are elaborate compositions. In the column on the right of the picture, a Yali with bulging eyes and elaborate scrollwork on its side, rears over a large kneeling figure holding a dagger and a shield. Riding the yali is a diminutive mounted warrior who raises his sword. Elsewhere, piers have cut out colonnettes and are raised on bases carved as squatting yalis.

“According to Indian legend the Yali (also known as the Yalaka, meaning a horned, hybrid-lion) are an astounding composite, which combine the carnivorous appetites and speed of a lion with the musculature, ivory tusks, and trunk of an elephant. Often depicted in Indian temple sculpture, these voracious beasts are said to be vyala (an adjective which means wicked or vicious), and are commonly used to symbolize man's struggle over the elemental forces of nature.
Although many academics dismiss this animal as yet another fantastic creation, which fits into the fertile pantheon of Hindu mythology, there are some investigators who believe that - like so many "real" animals which have become almost solely symbolic in the human psyche - these creatures many well have stalked the jungles of ancient India, regarded by the local populations as a vicious, jungle predator every bit as fierce as the indigenous Bengal tigers.”

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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