An awesome, beautiful, fascinating yet a fierce statue of Ugra Narasimha. The artist must have been told to bring out in every detail the fierce aspect of Narasimha which he has done in many ways. The protruding eyes, the teeth, nostrils all go to depict the fierce Narasimha avatar that God Vishnu took to vanquish the demon Hirnayakashipu. The statue depicts Narasimha in sitting posture with a seven headed snake (Adisesha) protecting him.

It is said that His consort Goddess Lakshmi was as usual carved to be seated on his lap. But this has been said to be destroyed by the invaders. One cannot get into the enclosure but I was told that the hand of His consort Goddess Lakshmi is found on his back beautifully carved.

At this point it may worthwhile to go into the story of Narasimha. Narasimha is the fourth avatar of Vishnu. Vishnu had taken ten avatars and Narasimha is the fourth. Narasimha literally means Man – Lion. In other word half man and half lion.

The story goes like this:

Hiranyaksha and Hirnayakashipu we two brothers. Hiranyaksha was kicked by Vishnu. In order to avenge his brother’s death Hirnayakashipu did intense penance on God Brahma who pleased with his penance asked him to take any boon from Him. Hirnayakashipu asked for a tricky boon that he cannot be killed either during day or night, by human, animal or God, in fire or water, inside the house or outside the house – in other word virtually invincible. Armed with this boon he started spreading terror and ordered that all should chant only his name and not the name of any God. Hirnayakashipu’s son Prahlad refuses to obey as he is an ardent devotee of God Vishnu. Hirnayakashipu points to a pillar and asks Prahlad if Vishnu is in the pillar. In an act of defiance Hirnayakashipu cuts the pillar with his sword. Out emerges Narasimha (neither human nor animal). This happened in twilight (neither day nor night). Vishnu puts Hirnayakashipu on his lap (neither heaven nor earth) and rips him apart. Thus the world is rid of a dreadful demon.
The death of Hirnayakashipu is widely celebrated as the festival of “Holi” – a festival of colors especially in the eastern, western and northern parts of India.

I have tried to bring out the terrifying form of this icon by few close up shots. Please view pictures 4 and 5

Enjoy the pictures.


Shankar Adisesh
Ugra (Fierce or terryfying ) NarasimhaUgra (Fierce or terryfying ) NarasimhaUgra (Fierce or terryfying ) NarasimhaUgra (Fierce or terryfying ) NarasimhaUgra (Fierce or terryfying ) NarasimhaBadavi Shiva Ling

Categories & Keywords
Category:Architecture and Structures
Subcategory:Temples
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Hampi, Krishnadevaraya, Narasimha, Ugranarasimha, Vijaynagaraempire, Vishnuavatar