The Panchatantra Stories in Balligave Sculptures of 11th Century AD

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Balligave Panchathantra Shilpagalu – The Panchatantra Stories in Balligave Sculptures

Author:  Dr. Channabasappa Patil

Place: Balligave,  Shikaripura, Shivamogga, Shimoga, Sirivala, Shahapura, Gulbarga, Kalaburagi, Alampura

Authoy says more than 100 sculptures depicting 26 stories of Panchathantra have been found across Karnataka. In this paper, he presents few sculptures found at the Tripurantaka temple of Balligave built in 11th century AD, which is famous for sculptures depicting Panchathantra stories.

Three Panchatantra episodes were identified by Dr. M.H. Krishna and two more by Dr. M.Sheshadri from the sculptures at the Tripurantaka temple of Balligave. Some more episodes from Durgasimha’s Kannada Panchatantra (originally of Vasubhaga in Sanskrit) are identified here. One of the stories depicted is that of a hunter killing an elephant and a python, and the python killing the hunter before its death, and a fox feeling happy over the three dead animals being available for its food and biting the leather string of the bow in the hands of the hunter and getting killed by an arrow charging from the bow. This story is narrated in 6 sculptures. Another story is that of a brahmin protecting a crab in his water container while on pilgrimage and he being killed by a serpent (while he was taking rest under a tree) at the instance of a crow,and the crab in turn wresting the crow’s neck and forcing it to request the snake to suck the poison it had injected in the brahmin’s body to revive him. Third episode is from Vishnusharma’s version of a story of a thief and Brahmarakshasa going together to a brahmin’s place, the former to steal cows and the latter to make a meal out of the brahmin. Argument ensuing between the two alerts the sleeping brahmin who wards off the trouble that he was to face.

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