By Rohit R Phalgaonkar
The today’s Goa was controlled by many dynasties during the ancient and the medieval period. Most of these dynasties introduced their form of art and architecture in this region. It must be remembered that the historic Goa was not the same as the Goa of modern period. The political boundaries kept on changing during the rule of different kings even of the same dynasty.
These dynasties also brought in new forms of worships and patronized certain cults and religions. Buddhism, Jainism along with Hinduism were a part and parcel of the Kadamb dynasties culture. The kings of Vijaynagar also allowed Jainism to flourish during their era although they ruled for a very brief period in Goa.
Although very few sculptures of Jainism and Buddhism are found in Goa the worship of the Jain deities in the Hindu temples of Goa by certain communities and sects is a strong evidence which shows that this religion had a prominent presencein Goa. Stone sculptures of various Hindu gods and goddess were carved out in a certain style mostly during the Chalukyan and the Kadamb period.
Some of Goa’s most prominent Indian dynasties were the Bhoj; who ruled from Chandor or ancient Chandrapur now Salcette taluka. They were foolwed by the Konkan Maurya, the Badami Chalukyas, the Shilahars, the Kadambs and later the kings of Vijaynagars. The Bhoj records say that they ruled from the 5th century AD onwards.
It has to be noted that each dynasty developed a special school of art and architecture. The sculptures can be distinctly identified and therefore periodized based on their style.
Though not many sculptural remains of the Bhoj and the Konkan Maurya period have been identified in Goa, one cannot dismiss the fact that there were no sculptural representations during this period. The copper – plate records of the Bhoj kings found within and outside the territory of Goa point out that the art of moulding, smelting was well known here during this era. It can also be concluded that the art of sculpting images from stone or wood must have been existing in Goa at that time.
The stone sculptures were normally carved from schist stone which was brought from neighboring areas of Goa. Very rarely sculptures carved out of laterite stone are found in Goa. Laterite is a very soft stone and cannot be used for carving. Hence this stone was avoided. But a beautiful example of laterite stone work is the water tank of Shri Saptakoteshwar on the Divar island. The walls of this water tank have a series of beautifully carved Shikhars. Below each Shikhar there is small niche, which could have been used to keep oil lamps during festive occasions. Now the site is in ruins with bushes growing over it. This tank dates back to the Kadamb period.
An other example of early carving in laterite is the sculpture of Mother Goddess found in Kurdi village of Sanguem taluka. This sculpture is dated to the megalithic period and was recently shifted to the plateau at Verna in Salcette taluka as the village of Kurdi was being submerged under the waters of the Salauli dam. The sculpture shows a female form lying on her back with a newly born child near her.
The period of Badami Chaluky appears to be early period of Indian history where temples and sculptures were carved out of stones in a specific and precise way. The areas of Pattadakal, Badami in Karnataka are said to be the very cradle of early temple – art in India. Very rare sculptures of the Badami Chalukyan style are found in Goa.
Since the dynasty also had brought Goa under their sway with their capital being Revatidvip or today’s Redi near Sawantwadi, the remains of their beautiful sculptural art is also seen in Goa. It is however, very interesting to note that the sculptures dating to the Chalukyan period are mostly found in the taluka of Pedne. At the same time it is equally important to also note that just two sculptures purely of the Chalukyan style are found in the remote village of Loliem in south Goa. Other then Pedne and Kankona no other taluka shows any traces of Chalukyan styled sculptures. However a sculpture of Mahishaasur – mardini in Ashtbhuj form was found at Netravali in Sanguem taluka. Though it can be assigned to the same period, it is not purely in the Chalukyan style.
Shri Vishnu of Loliem
The sculpture of Shri Vishnu of Loliem is four armed. He holds a personified mace in his upper right hand and a ‘Chakra’ in his upper left hand. The personified mace or ‘Gadaa’ is depicted in the form of a woman in an ‘Anjali Mudraa’ near his right foot. His lower left hand holds a conch and while a ‘Chitr Fal’ is in his lower right hand.
His dress is quite unique. He is shown wearing a ‘Karand Mukut’ and his neck is adorned by a jewel studded necklace. A ‘yadnyopavit’ is also seen around his torso. He wears a unique styled dhoti on his lower body. The pleats of his dhoti have beautiful frills running in between his legs. A round twisted thick lace runs around his waist. A small image of ‘Garud’ is also seen near his left foot.
Mahishaasurmardini sculpture of Korgao :-
At Korgao, an ancient sculpture of Mahishaasurmardini or Goddess Durga dating to the Badami Chalukyan period is found. It is one of the few ancient sculptures surviving in Goa.
The sculpture is four armed and has worn off. The goddess holds a bell in her upper left hand and the tail of the Mahishaasur in her lower left hand. The pose of the demon in the form of a buffalo is very interesting and provides a clue to date the image. The buffalo is upturned with his its face seen near the right foot of the deity. The goddess holds a Trishul in her lower right arm and is depicted striking the head of the buffalo. Her upper right arm is shown holding something. However, it is difficult to ascertain the object as the image is worn off.
The goddess is shown wearing a ‘Karand Mukut’ styled crown on her head. ‘Ratn Kundals’ are seen in her ears. It also appears that the image was a part of another structure which does not exist today. The halo around her head forms the matrix for the rest of the sculpture to support it. The hooves, one horn and one ear of the buffalo is well carved. Such sculptures were carved during the Chalukyan period; especially the ones with the buffalo shown upturned with its face near the feet of the deity and the Trishul being struck on its head.
Apart from pose of the buffalo, the pose of the goddess is yet another striking feature of this image. In normal Mahishaasurmardini sculptures a slight tilt is shown in the body of the image to show its dynamism. But in this case the tilt is absent.
The sculpture can be probably assigned to the 9th- 10th century and has a strong influence of the Chalukyan school of art. The tilt in the body of the goddess while slaying the demon was not depicted in images of this period.
No sculptures having an influence of Shilahar school of art have been identified in Goa as of now. It is a fact that, though there are sculptures dating to the Shilahar period found in Goa, they do not portray or depict any influence of Shilahar art.
Sculpture of Durgadevi of Netravalli:-
This is one of the two sculptures which was handed over to the Goa State Museum for conservation and display. It is one of the rare – eight armed images found in Goa. The Godess holds an arrow, a sword, a disc and a trishul in her four right hands(from lower to upper respectivly). A bow, a shield and a conch is seen in her three left hands. The fourth left hand is shown pulling the tongue of the demon Mahishaasur who is shown in the form of a buffalo. The crown, the earrings and the other ornamentation on her torso have a close resemblance to the sculptures of the Chalukyan period. Thus it is one of the rare sculptures found in Goa having Chalukyan influences.
The sculptural stone art during the Kadamb period :-
The Kadamb dynasty was yet another dynasty which laid the foundation of exquisite stone carved sculptures in Goa. It is the only Indian dynasty which ruled the longest in Goa. King Shasth Dev I laid the foundation of this dynasty in Goa in the year 960 AD. Their rule came to an end in 1300AD. King Shasth dev III is the last known king of the Kadamb lineage. Having ruled in Goa for nearly 340 years one is sure to find the vestiges of this dynasty art scattered all over Goa today. All one needs to do is to explore these places which lie in nooks and corners of Goan villages.
Since this dynasty accepted the over lordship of other south Indian dynasties, its art and architectural styles also saw great variations. The sculptural art patronized by this dynasty aimed at depicting the sculptures in a delicate style bedecked with lots of jewelry. The sculptors of this school also tried to carve the sculptures intricately. They stressed on the detailing of the sculptures more than on other aspects. The beaded design and the patterns speak that Goa Kadambs adopted the Hoysala art along with their suzerainty. It must have been probably carved when the Goa Kadamb kings accepted the Hoysala rulers as their feudal lords.
The Kadamb art was so influencing and attractive that even the local artisans tried to imitate this art form in the various images which they carved out during the later period. However they were not successful in making exact replicas of the art form, yet they somehow managed to make good prototypes
Some of Goa’s beautiful examples of sculptures depicting Kadamb art are those of Shri Madhav at Dhavli and Shri Navdurga at Bori in Ponda taluka, Shri Chamundeshwari of Vargao in Bicholim, and Shri Keshav of Loliem in Kankona. The sculpture of Shri Anant of Savai-Verem in Ponda taluka is the only one of its kind in Goa. Yet, two more sculptures portraying beautiful Kadamb art are found in the Savai village of Ponda and Mulgao of Bicholim. Both the sculptures are of Shri Narayan and can be assigned to 12th century AD. The sculpture at Mulgao can be called as the biggest sculpture of Shri Narayan ever found in Goa. Another beautiful example of Kadamb art is the colossal sculpture of Betaall in Loliem. The discovery of the sculpture of Indra in the tank of Shri Chamundeshwari temple in Vargao throws light on the degree of accuracy the sculptors in Goa had achieved during the Kadamb period.
The sculpture of Shri Navdurga of Bori:-
She is depicted as a four armed deity holding a ‘Chakr’ in her upper right hand and a ‘Shankh’ in her upper left hand. The decorative elements of the Shankh and the Chakr are extremely beautiful. Both are adorned with exquisite beaded jewelry. She holds a ‘Trishul’ in her lower right hand; with her lower left hand pressing the demon Mahishaasur who has emerged in his human form through the buffalo. According to the scriptures the deity kills the demon who has taken the form of a buffalo. This is very dynamically portrayed through the sculpture. The head of the buffalo is shown fallen near her feet through which the demon has emerged. A sizeable figure of a Kadamb styled lion is seen near her left foot.
Two attendants are shown holding a ‘Chauri’ in their hands on either sides of the sculpture. A devotee is shown in a ‘Anjali Mudraa’ near her right foot. The serpentine shaped ‘Prabhaavali’ around her heard is intricately carved and is a typical influence of Hoysal- Kadamb art.
The goddess is embellished with beautiful ornaments. She wears a ‘Kirit’ styled crown on her head which is again portraying a strong influence of Hoysal-Kadamb art. She is wearing ‘Makar kundals’ in her ears. Her arms are adorned with ‘Keyurs’ followed by ‘Baahu-valays’. Beautiful necklaces embellish her neck and both her shoulders are decorated with ‘Skand-Maalaa’. The sculpture can be assigned to the 12th century AD. It would not be wrong to say that this sculpture is unique to Goa as the demon is shown attaining human form by abandoning his buffalo form.
The Chamundeshwari sculpture of Vargao:-
The present image of Chamundeshwari in Vargao was originally brought there from Goa Velha in Tiswadi taluka. The sculpture was shifted, to prevent it from being desecrated by the iconoclastic rules of the Portuguese. It must have been carefully shifted to Vargao in Bicholim taluka in the 16th century where its current temple stands today. The sculpture has 10 arms depicting the magnitude of the power she possesses. In the right hands (from top to bottom) she holds a damru, a club, sword, trishul and a dagger respectively. In the four left hands (from top to bottom) she holds a shield, a lasso, a bell, and a Paatr.
The surprising part of this stone image is the depiction of the goddess embracing a weapon called khatvaang in between her arm. She is shown biting the little finger of the same embracing arm with her teeth. The dynamic image is shown dancing on a corpse with her one leg lifted on top. While dancing, the bells which form a part of her dress are shown dangling around her. There are two dancing Prêt Gann on both her sides.
The deity is adorned with ornaments like necklaces around her neck, bangles in her hands, Nupur around her ankles and Paadsaars for her legs. She is shown wearing Ratn – Kunda – type of earrings and a gem studded crown on her head. A small halo is seen around her head. The Prabhaavalli is triangular shaped at the top and has a serpent styled design on it, which is a typical feature of the Kadamb images. On the vertex of the triangular portion above the head, there is a small Kirti Mukh carved .
The sculptor has beautifully shown the shriveled body of the angry deity to such an extent that that even bones of the arms, legs and the rib cage are clearly visible through the dry muscles. Other minute details like the teeth between her lips, nails of fingers are very craftfully shown. The noose which she holds in one of her hands is around 1mm thick and a thread can be passed through the hole of this noose. From this, one can imagine the zenith attained by the stone sculptors during the Kadamb period in Goa.
The entire image is shown in a vibrant and energetic pose. The sculpture can be dated to 13th century AD and is purely Kadamb styled. The degree of the intricacies and the details, shown in the sculpture, makes it look like bronze statue cast out molten metal and not a sculpture sculpted from stone.
The sculpture of Keshav of Loliem:-
The ancient 12th century sculpture of Keshav found in Loliem village of Kankona is incomparable to any other image in Goa in that this image has a peaceful serene look. A detailed study of the sculpture suggests that, it can be dated to the 12th century AD. A lot of Hoysala influence is seen on it.
Shri Keshav is depicted with 12 incarnations of Shri Vishnu around its ‘toran’. The beautiful intricate carving around his head makes one wonder about the expertise of artisans of that period. He holds a conch and a disc in his two hands. The third and the fourth hands are missing but from the iconography, it is quite clear that a mace was the attribute of the third hand and a ‘Padm’ must have been the missing attribute of the fourth hand. Hence, this image can be called as Padm – Shankh – Chakr – Gadhaa – dhaari.
However, an interesting legend lies behind the discovery of the image. It is said that a river once flowed near the temple. Canoes loaded with cargo including sandalwood sailed here from different parts. This image was discovered in one such canoe containing sandalwood logs. However, archaeological evidences found around the temple do not seem to support the legend. There is an icon of Mulvir behind the temple, which is also assignable to the 12th century. The only Virgall in Goa with a panel of Gaj Lakshmi on the top also lies in the same village nearby to the temple. The Virgall depicts warfare of the 12th century.
The sculpture of Anant of Savai- Verem:-
The temple of Shri Anant in Savai-Verem village is truly an architectural wonder. It appears to be built on a water – logged area as water is seen flowing along the periphery of the temple plinth.
The image in worship is of Anant which is a yet another name of Shri Vishnu, The Preserver. The term Anant means infinite. He is conceived as an Infinite Being or Power. According to the Puraans, his abode is at the bottom of the deep ocean. That is probably the reason, why the temple of Savai-Verem is surrounded by water on all the sides signifying the abode of Shri Vishnu.
The image of Shri Vishnu or Anant in the temple is carved on a rectangular slab. The four armed deity is shown reclining on a six hooded serpent commonly known as the ‘Aadishesh’ or the ‘Shesh Naag’. The upper right hand of the deity is depicted supporting himself on the serpents head, while the upper left hand holds a conch. The lower right hand is in a ‘Katak mudraa’ and the lower left hand is stretched on the thigh of the left leg. His left leg rests on a tortoise which is believed to be the second incarnation of Shri Vishnu.
Sri Devi or Laksmi is seen seated near his head. His right leg is seen resting on Bhudevi’s hand. The five Aayudh Purush (personified weapons) are shown in a praying pose near his head. The two demons Madhu and Kaitabh are also depicted in an attacking pose on this panel. Shri Brahma is depicted seated on a lotus which emerges out from his navel.
This type of image is called as the ‘Bhogshayan Murti’ or ‘Shesyshaayi Murti’ which in literal sense means ‘Resting Idol’ or ‘Idol Resting on Shesh’ respectively. This sculpture is unique to Goa. It appears to be the only stone sculpture in Goa where Shri Vishnu is shown in this position. There is a lot of Hoysala influence seen on its carving. The image probably dates to the late 12th century AD. This was the period when the Goa came under the sway of the Kadamb dynasty.
The sculpture of Shri Narayan in Savai:-
It is a truly marvelous piece of art ever found in Goa. It is one of the best specimens of Kadamb-Hoysal art. Shri Narayan holds a beautifully carved lotus in his upper right hand and a mace in his upper left hand. According to iconography, he should be holding a conch in his lower right hand and a disc in his lower left hand. But in this case both external hands made of copper are fitted to the image.
His body is richly embellished with ornaments. He wears ‘Keyur’ on both his arms, beaded necklaces around his neck and shoulders and a yajnopavit on his body. He wears ‘Makar Kundal’ in his ears and a ‘Kirit’ styled crown on his head. The serpentine shaped Prabhaavalli around him contains the depiction of the 10 incarnations of Shri Vishnu. The Prabhaavalli rests on elephant heads on either side, above which two lions in the Kadamb emblem style are depicted.
Two ‘Makars’ are mounted on the ‘Dvaar Shaakhaas’ on either side. Sridevi and Bhudevi flank the image on either side near his feet. They have snail-curls type hair which is a common feature of the Hoysal art. There is very little stone matrix seen supporting the image. The image can be probably assigned to 1110-1170AD.
The village of Savai is mentioned in the copper plate inscription of Kadamb King Shasth Dev II dating to 1038AD. The copper plate record mentions it as ‘Sahaavai’.
Sculpture of Shri Narayan in Mulgao:-
The image is colossal and is probably the only image of its kind in Goa. Shri Narayan is carved in a standing pose having four arms. He holds a lotus in his upper right hand and a beautifully carved mace in his upper left hand. According to iconography he should be holding a conch in his lower right hand and a disc in his lower left hand. But in this case both the lower hands appear to be mutilated and hence the details are not known today.
The ‘Prabhaavalli’ is intricately carved with motifs and patterns or flowers and various other designs. Small images of the Trinity are seen carved in a niche in the Prabhaavalli. Shri Brahma is seen on the right hand side, Shri Mahesh on the top (just above the head) while Shri Vishnu is seen on the left hand side. In other images of Narayan or Vishnu, the Prabhaavalli normally contains the 10 avtaars of Shri Vishnu. However, in this case these are absent. This appears to be the only image found in Goa with the Prabhaavalli containing the image of the Trinity.
The ‘Dwaar Shaakaa’, elephants, lions and Makar (the mythological animals) adorn the sculpture on both the sides. The crown that the deity wears is of Kirit Mukut type. The sculptor has tried to show even the details of hair coming out underneath the crown on the forehead. ‘Makar Kundal’ type of earrings adorn the ears. The ornaments worn around the neck and the waist are noteworthy.
Sculpture of Kaalbhairav of Netravalli:-
The sculpture of Kaalbhairav is four armed and holds a Trishul and a ‘damru’ in his upper left and right hands respectively. In his lower left hand he holds a ‘paatr’ and a mutilated ‘Khadg’ (sword) in the lower right hand. A small image of a ‘Pret Gann’ is seen near his right foot. The sculptor has made a beautiful attempt to depict the ribs and the skeleton through the muscles of this ‘Pret Gann’. The sculpture of Shri Kaalbhairav is yet another beautiful specimen of Kadamb school of art and can be assigned to 12th-13th century AD.
Shri Betaall in Loliem:-
The life size image of a local deity, Shri Betaall in Loliem is also a beautiful example of Kadamb art. He stands amidst the verdant surroundings in a ‘kulaagar’. The image is different from the other Betaall sculptures found elsewhere in Goa and is probably the only one of its kind in Goa. The two armed deity holds a sword in his right hand and a ‘Paatr’ (vessel) in his left hand. He has huge bulging eyes which gives it a fierce look. A huge halo surrounds his head. The sculpture is nude and ribcage on his chest is clearly carved out. Even the veins of his hand, neck and the legs are perfectly hewn. He wears a necklace of beads around his neck and a necklace of bells runs across his legs from his back.
Another unique feature of this image is the absence of a crown which is normally found on Betaall sculptures. In the Betaall sculptures found in other parts of Goa, a crown of hooded serpents adorns the head. However, in this case, an ornamented band around the forehead has taken the place of the crown.
Though Betaall is local deity of Goa one can see the influence of Kadamb-Hoysala art on this sculpture. He is made to stand in a particular style which a special element found in Hoysala art. Although, there is no much intricacy seen in ornamentation of the sculpture, the intricacy depicted in carving out the veins and muscles of the body is worth admiring. This image can be assigned to the late 13th century or early 14th century. Due to constant exposure to sun and rains the sculpture is wearing off slowly.
Sculpture of Shri Brahma at Sattari:-
Yet another colossal sculpture carved to its full beauty is the the sculpture of Brahma at Sattari. Though the temple is a modern structure the sculpture inside it is a unique specimen of Kadamb art. The village was originally called Chandivade (to be pronounced as Chaandivde). But since the time God Brahma chose to reside there it came to be called as Brahma Karmali. The village got this new name because the deity was shifted from village Karmali of the Tiswadi taluka during the 16th century. Lopes Mendes in his book mentions that the image was transferred in the year 1541 AD. The day of establishment of the deity after shifting was perhaps the Vadya Tritiya of the Hindu month of Margashish. It was the time during which the Portuguese had framed their iconoclastic laws which made the devotees shift many deities out of Tiswadi taluka.
Brahma the Creator, is shown holding a ‘Palli’ and the ‘Vedas’ in his upper left and right hands respectively, while an ‘Aksh Maalaa’ and a Kamandalu is seen in his lower right and left hands respectively. He is shown as chaturmukh (four faced). His each face is said to represent the four Vedas. The face looking towards the devotees sports a beard and has a very calm and serene look.
Another interesting part are the Jataa Mukut style crowns. The body is adorned with ornaments like the skand maalaa, kati sutr and the Paadsaar. He is shown standing in a Sambhang Mudraa on the pedestal having motifs of two geese. Apart from this, two female attendants are shown on the either side of his feet. Near his feet, there are two more human figures sitting in Anjali Mudraa.
The Prabhaavalli is richly decorated and has figures of the goose embedded in it. It has three niches. The niche on the top has Brahma carved in it, where as the niches on the either side have Vishnu and Mahesh carved in it. The sculpture is approximately 5ft tall and has a strong Kadamb influence on it. The sculpture can be dated to the 13th century.
Sculpture of Saraswati:-
The only sculpture of Saraswati found in Ponda is also an example of early Kadamb art and the only specimen found till today of its kind. She is the consort of Shri Brahma, the Creator and is called as Pustak Vinaa Dharini in the ancient scriptures. The deity is shown seated on a lotus shaped seat. The entire image is mounted on a star shaped “Pitth”. The Goddess of Learning holds a ‘Veena’ and some broad rectangular leaves in the two left hands. The leaves appear to be manuscripts and play a significant role in identification of the icon as she is also referred as “Pustak Veena Dhaarini”. The two right hands have a “Brahm Kamal” and an ‘Aksh Maalaa’ respectively. The Aksh Maalaa is also an important feature in the icon of Shri Brahma. The Saraswati sculpture portrays a Kadamb-Chaluky influence
Sculpture of Indra at Vargao:-
This sculpture is in Chaturbhuj form. He is shown holding a ‘Vajr’ in the upper right hand, an ‘Ankush’ in his upper left hand. A small elephant is carved near his right foot. The elephant is called ‘Airaavat’, which is the vaahan (carrier) of Indra. These attributes are the key features of Indra. The item in the lower right hand is unclear as it is mutilated but probably is a ‘Padm’. In his lower left hand he holds a ‘Kamandalu’. There are two female ‘Chauri’- bearers seen on either side of his feet. The sculpture was originally found in Goa Velha by some locals while excavating a particular area.
It was handed over to the temple at Vargao and was later kept in the water tank of the temple.
Sculpture of Shri Kaalbhairav of Bandoda:-
Apart from Jainism, Hinduism also flourished in this village. Deities like Shri Ravalnath, Shri Betaall, Shri Nagesh, Shri Mahalakshmi etc are also worshipped here from times immemorial. Inscriptional evidences of the medieval period mention that the village came under the sway of Vijaynagar kings. Many relics in the form of sculptures of this period are found here.
But while moving in the village in search of vestiges of ancient history I came across some relics which date to the Kadamb period:- for example the image of Kaalbhairav in Nageshi. The sculpture is a beautiful piece of Kadamb art and can be assigned to the 13th to 14th century AD. Kaalbhairav, a manifestation of Shiva is shown in a ‘Tribhang Mudraa’. He is depicted as ‘Chaturbhuj’ deity holding a ‘Damru’ in his upper right hand, a ‘Khatvaang’ in his upper left hand, a ‘Gadaa’ in lower right hand and a ‘Paatr’ in his lower left hand. He is shown wearing ‘Sarp Kundal’ styled earrings in his ears. These earrings are very rarely seen in the sculptures of Goa. The Dvaar-Shaakaas seen on either sides of the main sculpture are very different and unique. Their upper ends are free and have triangular edges.
A hooded serpent crowns the head of this deity. Beautiful necklaces adorn his ears. A garland of human skulls is shown passing around his legs. An interesting aspect of this sculpture is the presence of the two ‘Vish-Kanyaas’ shown on either side his legs. The ‘Vish-Kanyaa’ near his right leg is shown holding a bow above her head in her right hand while the ‘Vish-kanyaa’ near his left leg holds a dagger in her right hand. Both of them hold a ‘Paatr’ in their left hands. In any sculptures of Goa no ‘Vish-kanyaas’ are seen. This image appears to be a prototype of 12th century Hoysal styled images. Though there are many sculptures of Kaalbhairav found in Goa this one is very unique.
Sculpture of Shri Gopinath of Netravalli:-
The historic sculpture of Shri Gopinath was housed in a temple in the village Netravalli (Neturli). The old temple faced the famous ‘Budbudyaanchi Tali’. The old temple has been renovated. The old sculpture of Shri Gopinath was replaced by a new one because it had both its arms missing.
Shri Gopinath is the other name for Shri Krishna. In the sculpture, he is depicted playing a flute. Unfortunately, today the flute and his arms are missing. The sculpture is truly beautiful, hence there was a need to preserve and conserve it. After a lot of efforts and persuasion it was possible to convince the temple authorities to handover the sculpture to the Goa State Museum. The sculpture was damaged and broken into three pieces and had to be restored. Today, it is displayed in one of the galleries of the Museum and forms the main centre of attraction.
Shri Gopinath is shown in an ‘Ardhsam’ postured sculpture and is adorned with heavy ornaments. Ornaments like the ‘Prakosht’ around his wrists, ‘Keyur’ on his arms, ‘Skand Maalaa’ on his shoulders, Nupur on his ankles and ‘paadsaar’ on his feet are seen. ‘Ratn Kundal’ type earrings are seen in his ears. His hairdo is of a typical Dravidian styled bun worn on the right side above the ear. The bun is fastened by a beaded ornament. Such hairstyles are common features of Kadamb and Hoysala sculptures of Halsi, Belur, Halebidu etc. Similar hairdos are also seen on many Kadamb virgals of Goa. The deity also wears many different types of necklaces around his neck.
There is a huge ‘Kalpvriksh’ carved above his head. Many have mistaken this ‘Kalpvriksh’ for ‘Kaalia’ the serpent. Above the ‘Kalpvriksh’ a serpentine shaped Prabhaavalli is seen. All the 10 incarnations find a place in the Prabhaavalli. The Prabhaavalli rests on two ‘Dvaarshaakhaa’ on either side of the image. ‘Gadaa’ and the ‘Chakr’ are seen carved on the right side, near the ‘Dvaarshaakhaa’, while the left side has a ‘Padm’ and a ‘Shankh’ carved bon it. Three cows and two calves are shown looking towards him, near his foot. Two shepherds with blankets around their head are seen near the cattle. A ‘Garud’ in ‘Anjali Mudraa’ is also seen on the right side on base of the image.
Such images are very commonly found in the temples built by the Hoysal dynasty in Karnataka. As mentioned earlier the Kadambs had accepted the feudatoryship of the Hoysals and, therefore, a lot of Hoysal art influence is seen on the sculpture. The sculpture of Gopinath can be assigned to the 14th or early 15th century. Though such sculptures were common during the 12th century this image does not contain the features and the intricacy of 12th century Kadamb sculptures. There is also a lot of crudeness seen in the sculpture, which was not very common in 12th century. The 12th century Kadamb sculptures were intricate and perfectly carved.
Sculptural stone art after the Kadambs:-
After the downfall of the Kadambs in 1300 AD, the sculptural art of this dynasty was also on decline. The sculptures of this subsequent period were made to look like replicas of the Kadamb artistic style. But due to no royal patronage, the details, the moldings and the carvings of this art did not attain the zenith which it had reached during the 12th century AD.
However their rule embossed their art and architecture on Goa’s soil. So strong was their influence that even after their downfall the artisans still incorporated their sculptural styles in their art.
Sculpture of Uma- Maheshwar of Kudne:-
An example of prototype of Kadamb art is the sculpture of Uma- Maheshwar of Kudne. Uma is another name for Parvati and Maheshwar for Shiva. In this sculpture, the couple is depicted embracing each other modestly. The sculpture is depicted in a standing pose. Four armed Maheshwar holds a Trishul in his upper right hand and a three hooded serpent called ‘Naagendr’ in his upper left hand which passes behind Parvati’s neck. He holds a fruit in his lower right hand and embraces Uma around her waist by his lower left hand. Uma is depicted as two-armed with her right hand is shown embracing Maheshwar around his neck while she holds a ‘Darpan’ (mirror) in her left hand.
The images are adorned with various ornaments. Maheshwar is shown wearing a Jataa-Mukut on his head. This is one of the rarest images found in Goa which has a Jataa-Mukut styled crown on its head. This type of crown is normally seen on images of Shiva. A crescent moon is seen embedded in his crown. Ratn Kundal styled earrings adorn the couple’s ears while beautiful necklaces and jewellery adorn their body. A set of Nupur are seen in Uma’s feet.
A huge halo is seen around Maheshwar’s head but the halo is not ornamental and is very plain. A Nandi bull is seen near Maheshwar’s right foot while a lion is seen near Uma’s left foot. The sculpture can be assigned to the 14th-15th century.
Sculpture of Gajlakshmi of Shiroda:-
The Gajlakshmi sculpture in Shiroda has also got the Goddess Lakshmi seating in between two elephants but her attributes are quite different from the other sculptures of Lakshmi. Moreover there are two more elephants shown behind these elephants. All of them have water pots in their trunks. But the only the elephants facing the deity are shown pouring water from the pots on the deity. Mostly, goddess Lakshmi in other panels is shown two-armed and hold lotuses in her hands. But in this case she is in Chaturbhuj form. She is shown holding a Trishul in her upper right hand, a sword in her lower right hand. The attributes in both her hands are not very clear as the sculpture is mutilated and eroded.
The deity is flanked by two female attendants who probably hold lotuses in their hands. The sculpture has a Kirtimukh in its central part on the top. Another interesting feature of this panel is the angels shown around the deity. These angels are depicted holding garlands in their hands. The goddess is seated on a seat having the faces of Makhars looking in the opposite direction. The Makhar is also very closely associated with water in the Hindu mythology. The sculpture is a rare piece of medieval art and may be probably assigned to the 14th-15th century AD.
The sculpture of Bhagvati of Khawat in Kankona:-
The most interesting aspect of this deity is the belief that the deity Shri Bhagvati wards off the evil eye. Many devotees of all faiths throng to the temple on every Wednesdays and Sundays. The priest of the temple sprinkles s of water drawn from a narrow well existing outside the temple. It is believed that Shri Bhagvati wards off the evil eye if this water is sprinkled in the wee hours of Sunday mornings. This ritual is traditionally called as ‘Dishtiche Udak Ghaalap’. This act of sprinkling water is believed to cure skin diseases and other ailments.
The sculpture of the deity is equally interesting like this ritual. Shri Bhagvati is shown in the form of Mahishaasur-Mardini. The deity is depicted slaying the demon Mahishaasur who attained the form of a buffalo.
The four armed goddess is shown holding a sword in her upper right hand and a semi-circular shaped shield in her upper left hand. She is depicted slaying the demon with a trident which she holds in her lower right arm. With her lower left arm she is shown pulling the tongue of the demon buffalo.
This dynamic sculpture is surrounded by a very interesting ‘Prabhaavali’. A small ‘Kirtimukh’ is seen atop the Prabhaavali. The Prabhaavali which surrounds her head contains motifs of vines and flowers emerging out from the mouth of two animals on the either side of her head. These animals appear to be a crude version of the ‘Makars’. In addition to this, there are images of four warriors seen on either side of the deity. Amongst these four warriors, two are wearing a unique turban, whereas the other two are seen holding a sword and a shield in their hands. The floral motifs are hardly seen on the Prabhaavali of the sculpture of Mahishaasur-Mardini. This makes this sculpture stand out from the other sculptures of Mahishaasur-Mardini found elsewhere in Goa.
The sculpture seems to be prototype, since it is not very intricately carved. The motifs of the lion and the Makars shown on it provide corroborative evidences to the above inference. The image can be dated to the late 16th or early 17th century.
Lakshmi Narayan image of Narve:-
Another example of a 12th century prototype sculpted in the 17th century is the Lakshmi Narayan image of Narve. The archival records of this temple mention that it was established by a Gujrati person called Sagarji Shet in 1650 AD. Sagarji Shet was born in Diu and had come to Goa to trade with the Portuguese. He then felt the need of establishing a temple for the Gujir (Gujratis) community of Goa. Before his death Sagarji Shet handed over the administration to Mathuradas Lakshmidas from Panaji.
The sculpture of Shri Lakshmi Narayan in the temple is very interesting and is one of the few surviving images of Shri Narayan in Goa in a very good condition. The extremely beautiful sculpture is ‘Chaturbhuj’ (four armed) in style. Shri Narayan holds a lotus and a ‘Gadhaa’ in his upper right and left hands respectively. Similarly his lower right and left hands hold a ‘Shhankh’ and a ‘Chakr’ respectively. He wears a ‘yadnyopavit’ across his body. Many necklaces adorn his neck. One of the necklaces which struck my eye was a pendant of tiger claws facing the opposite direction. ‘Keyur’ are seen around both his arms. His body is also embellished with many other ornaments like the ‘Kankan’ around his wrists, ‘Nupur’ around his legs etc. He is shown wearing a pair of ‘Khadau’ (wooden footwear) on his feet. ‘Kirit Mukut’ styled crown is seen on his head and a pair of ‘Ratn Kundal’ (earrings) in his ears.
The image has ‘Dvaar Shaakhaa’ on both its sides. The ‘Dvaar Shaakhaa’ on the right side has motifs of the first three incarnations of Vishnu, whereas the left side has the last two incarnations carved on it. Above these ‘Dvaar Shaakhaa’ motifs of elephants, ‘Makar’, lions are carved. The top most triangular portion of the ‘Prabhaavalli’ has small images of the ‘Hindu Trinity’ carved in niches. In the left niche, Shri Vishnu is carved, in the top most (middle) niche Shiva is carved and the niche to the right hand side has Shri Brahma carved in it. An image of ‘Garud’, the ‘Vaahan’ of Shri Narayan is seen near his right foot, whereas ‘Sridevi’ (his consort) is seen holding a lotus near the deity’s left foot.
The sculptor has beautifully tried to show minute details like nails and rings on the fingers, gems on the necklaces and even the knees of the deity. A strong local influence is seen on the earrings, the crowns, ornaments and on other sculptural details. Therefore it is possible to assign a date to the sculpture. Archaeologically this image can be assigned to the 17th century but the sculptor has tried carve it like an image of Kadamb period (12th century). The image is around 1 metre tall and is a pure prototype of the sculpture of Shri Narayan of Mulgao, which dates back to the 12th century.
Sculpture of Shri Navdurga at Pali:-
The deity known as Shri Navdurga is worshipped in the village of Pali. The sculpture is a beautiful imitation of Kadamb art. She is shown having four hands and is depicted killing the demon Mahishaasur near her feet. She holds sword in her upper right hand and a Khetak in her upper left hand. With her lower right hand, she is shown striking the Trishul at the demon who is near her feet. With her lower left hand, she is shown holding the tongue of the demon. Her right foot is mounted on the demon. A small lion is seen near her right foot.
The sculptor has tried his best to imitate a sculpture of Navdurga of the Kadamb period. However, he does not seem to have achieved the intricacy in carving found in the Kadamb sculptures. The sculpture does not have beautiful ornamentation and is somewhat plainly adorned. However, ornamentation like the necklaces and Ratn – kundal – styled earrings are seen in her ears. The ornaments like the keyur, Skand Mala, Paadssaar, Nupur, Kankan are also seen on her but they are not as exquisite or intricate as seen in other sculptures of the Kadamb period.
Even the Prabhaavalli around the deity is a clear prototype of the Kadamb period.
The kings of Vijaynagar were also patrons of sculptural art. This is evident from the city of Hampi which was supposed to be one of the best cities of that era. However their school of art did not stress on showing intricacy and exquisiteness in the sculptures. I have not come across a single stone sculpture in Goa having the influence of Vijaynagar school of art till today.
But bronze sculptures of this style have been found in the temple at Nasnoda and are now preserved in the Goa State Museum.
Local sculptural stone Art
Apart from this dynastic art, it is very interesting to note that without any doubts local sculptural art on stone also existed in Goa. Many images of local as well as Puraanic deities in Goan temples were carved out in local style by the local sculptors. The sculpture of Betaall, and local gods like the Purush, Virs etc in many villages are found to be carved completely in local style.
Even in case of deities, like Mahishaasurmardini worshipped as Bhumikaa, Kankeshwari, Saateri in many villages have a strong local influence on their sculptures. The talukas of Sattari and Bicholim are repositories of beautiful stone sculptures having local taste.
Shri Aadinath sculpture in Ponda:-
The Aadinath shrine is the only surviving temple in which the sun is worshipped. The sculpture of Shri Aadinath standing in the Garbgriha is a very good example of local art. He is shown holding two lotuses in both his hands. The exquisitely carved halo around the head and the crown deserve a special mention. He wears a horizontal vermillion mark on his forehead. He is standing on a chariot driven by seven horses. The number seven represents the seven colors of the rainbow. This image is sculpted out of stone and is very unique to Goa. It is probably the only sculpture in Goa in which the wheels of the chariot are depicted. Below the chariot, a man holding a sword in his hand is also seen. Usha; meaning Dawn, and Sandhya, meaning Dusk, are shown kneeling down on either sides of the image.
Another image of Shri Aadinath is also seen standing under a tree near the foot of the temple. Some opine that this image was installed in the temple prior to the one in worship today. But this appears only to be folklore as the image in the temple appears to be much more ancient than this one outside it.
Sculptures of Saateri:-
The worship of Saateri is completely local and is not only found in Goa but is also very commonly seen along the Konkan belt. The anthill appears to be the correct and the original representation of Mother Earth by visualized by erstwhile village elders. In many temples of Saateri, there is no wooden or stone image of this goddess in the Garbgriha. But a huge anthill forms the object of worship. In some villages, a female face made of brass is hung on the facade of the anthill. But it is very surprising to know that the Goans also worshipped Saateri in the form of a stone icon.
In many places, the name ‘Saanteri’ was changed to Shaanteri or later to Shantadurga. The worship of Saateri being purely local, very less research is done on the iconography of this deity. It is also very difficult to arrive at and define a fixed iconography of Saateri. A study of various images of Saateri found in the nooks and corners of Goa helps one to generalize how Saateri was represented in the form of an icon.
Though there is no reference of this deity’s iconographical features in many ancient texts, a uniform iconography is seen existing of Saateri in many villages of Goa. However, till now I have not across any icon of Saateri which dates prior to the 16th century. It is not known whether the ancient icons were replaced by new ones during this period or whether the iconography of this deity evolved during this era.
Saateri is normally depicted in a ‘Chaturbhuj’ form standing in a ‘Sambhang Mudraa’. The key feature of identifying the goddess is the presence of serpents in the sculpture. In most of the sculptures she is shown holding hooded snakes in both her top hands. The attributes in the lower hands keep varying depending on the locality and the cultural trends of the village. In the village of Maye in Bicholim taluka, the deity is shown holding hooded serpents in both the top hands. Her lower right hand is ‘Abhay Mudraa’ while a coiled snake is seen sitting on the palm of her lower left hand. This image may be assigned to the 16th-17th century.
The sculpture of Gajlakshmi of Kudshe in Sattari:-
The worship of Gajlakshmi is also quite common in Goa. This deity is also referred as Kelbaai, Mhaamaai (Mahamaya), Bhaavkaa, Saateri etc. The sculpture of this deity consists of a huge panel with the deity seated in the middle and elephants on her either sides. The elephants are depicted with raised trunks holding water pots. They are depicted showering water on the Goddess from the pots. Due to these icongraphical details, the Goddess has got its name as Gajlakshmi where ‘Gaj’ refers to the elephant. The goddess is called Lakshmi because she is shown holding lotus buds in her hands as is peculiar to the Godess Lakshmi.
The sculpture at Kudshe is beautiful and rare example of local sculpting art. The panel of Gajlakshmi found amidst a plantation here is worth a see. It is a treat for the eyes of all the historians. The sculpture has three panels; the topmost being the broadest. Normally, the panels of Gajlakshmi found elsewhere in Goa are semi circular in shape. But this panel is trapezoidal in shape with well defined edges. The central position of the stone slab is occupied by the Goddess. The ‘Dvibhuj’ deity is shown seated in a niche on a raised platform in a ‘Padmaasan’ posture. She holds two lotus buds in her hands. ‘Ratn Kundal’ styled earrings and necklaces adorn her neck. Two elephants are shown on either side of her, holding pots in their trunks. Two coconut trees are seen behind the elephants. A sage performing ‘Abhishekh’ on a Shivling is seen towards the left side of the deity behind the elephant.
The second panel (middle) depicts a war scene. It includes warriors on horseback, archers, men with spears and swordsmen with shields in their hands. The third panel (last from top) depicts a scene of musicians and dancers. The interesting part of this panel is the degree to which the details of carvings are shown. There are musicians playing the flute, the gong, dholak and also people holding the ‘Chauri’.
Under the left arm of the Goddess, a small hole can be seen. There is an interesting piece of folklore about this hole. It is said that that the hole is a bullet mark caused during the firing by the Portuguese from the other side of the hill. This Gajlakshmi panel can be possibly assigned to the 15th- 16th century.
It is probably one of the largest panels of Gajlakshmi found in Goa.
Sculpture of Gajlakshmi in Bondla:-
It is yet another example of local art form in Goa. The sculpture of Bondla is conceptually the same as other sculpture of Gajlakshmi found elsewhere. But it differs to a great extent by the carvings and details shown on it. The sculpture has the deity Lakshmi seated in a niche which is crowned by a Kirtimukh.
Two identical elephants are shown on her either side holding pitchers in their trunks. They are depicted pouring water form these pitchers over the niche. The elephant on the left hand side of the deity is eroded. It has three warriors seated on its back. While the elephant on the right side is in good condition and has two warriors riding it. In both the cases, the warriors riding the elephant hold a spear in their hands. Apart from this, there are four more warriors (two on either side) near the foot of the elephants. They hold a shield and a sword. The shield is depicted with beautiful floral designs.
Below this scene there is a layer of another war scene. But, in this case, the cavalry is shown. Four warriors on horseback are shown fighting with swords in one hand while they hold the reins of the horse in the other hand. To the extreme left hand side of the same scene an archer holding a bow and arrow is seen.
The lower most panel of the sculpture has a scene of musicians playing two different types of drums, trumpets, and some ancient unidentifiable instruments. In addition to these, there are two figures of men, whose dress closely resembles African gowns, seen rejoicing with their hands raised in the air.
The entire sculpture may be assigned to the 17th- 18th century and pictorially depicts that era. The war scenes beautifully show the kinds of weapons we then possessed. It also shows the role of the foreigners, especially the Negroid figures in the political history of Goa. It is widely known that these people were brought to Goa as slaves. Perhaps their participation in the wars was justifiable as they had to follow the orders of their lords.
Sculptures of Ganesh in Goa :-
Though it is not possible to mention all the ancient modes of worship of Ganesh found in Goa in one article, I have made an attempt to cite some of the important places where ancient idols of Ganpati were found. The temple of Shri Mahadev in Kurdi dating to 960 AD has a very ancient image of Ganesh outside the main shrine and also one carved on its door lintel. In a nearby cave an exquisitely carved sculpture of Uma-sahit-Maheshwar (Uma with Shiva) was also found. The temple was translocated near the Salauli dam.
An ancient temple of Shri Ganpati existed on the island of Divar. Probably around 1541 to 1545 AD, the image was shifted to Khandepar in the Ponda taluka and then to Khandola near Mashel. Based on the vestiges found on the Divar island today, it can be maintained that the temple probably dates to the 12th century AD. Fr. Henry Heras and Rui Gomes Pereira mention all the vestiges of this temple in their respective books. Another beautiful image of Ganpati is seen carved on a 11th century stone lintel of Shri Keshav temple at Priol. The temple was probably built by Kadamb king Tribhuvanmall Dev in 1099AD.
An ancient temple of Shri Madhav Ganpati in Shiroda in Ponda taluka has a very ancient image of Ganesh in its shrine. The temple has been restored without concretizing it. This image is probably one of the few ancient images of Ganpati which are undamaged and intact. He holds a container with a heap of laddus in his lower left hand. The lower right hand is in the ‘Varad Mudra’.
Ancient temples of Shri Shantadurga existing in Sangolda and Verla in Bardez taluka and Shri Saptkoteshwar in Divar had Ganesh as their affiliate deity. The image of Shantadurga from Sangolda was shifted to Bordem in Bicholim and that of Verla was taken to Mashel along with other images during the 16th century.
Ganpati was also the affiliate deity of the temple of Shri Mahalsa in Verna.
There is also a very old image of Ganesh existing behind the temple of Shri Nagesh in Nageshi probably dating to the 14th century. The pedestal of this image has Jain influence.
Another very old image of Ganpati is also seen in a temple at Shelvan in Kepem. This image was affiliate deity of Shri Shantadurga temple existing in Kudtari prior to the 16th century. The deity Shri Shantadurga, was shifted to Shelvan temporarily and then to Avedem in Kepem where it was permanently established. But the ancient image of Shri Ganpati was kept in the village of Shelvan and a new image was established in the temple at Avedem.
Sculptural wooden art of Goa.
Along with stone art, the art of sculpting wood was also very popular in Goa. The local flora, fauna, environment and nature also influences the architecture of that place. This is evident from the designs and patterns of various local flowers, leaves found on walls of houses, temples, wooden pillars, altars etc.
Art of sculpting wood is found in many ancient and medieval temples of Goa. The Sabhaamandap of these temples, was erected on massive, wooden pillars with intricate carvings on them. The pillars were 4, 6, or sometimes even 10 in number. The artisans tried to show minute details on these wooden pillars through their carvings. Ornaments like bangles, nose rings, clothing and different hairstyles prevalent at that time were shown in the carvings.
Each wooden pillar has a design and pattern, which is different from other wooden pillars of the same temple. This is because each pillar was carved out by a different artisan. So in case of a temple having 10 pillars, 10 different craftsmen were appointed to carve the pillars. The temple of Shri Parshuram has a six pillared hall. According to Shri Nishikant Tengse, the priest of this temple, each artisan was given 40 kg of rice to carve the pillar. From the day carving of the pillar began till it was erected, the artisan’s daily meal consisted of rice water (pej in Konkani) and khatkhatem (a cooked dish consisting of coconut milk and all types of vegetables). The carving work began with the crack of the dawn and went on till dusk. Heavy meal was probably avoided by them so that they could remain active throughout the day while working.
A single wooden pillar had six or more different horizontal sections. The carving on each section is different from the other. The topmost section of the pillar always had “Naag Bandhi” carved on it. “Naag Bandhi” are serpents with chain around them. This “Naag Bandhi” is also seen in Channkeshav Temple at Belur, built by the Hoysala, Shiva Temple at Ikeri and Vijaynagar temples.
The middle section of the pillar normally had carvings of the 10 avatars (incarnation) of Shri Vishnu, images of different gods and goddesses. The lowermost design on the pillar was of peepal leaves. It is observed that after this design the rest part of the pillar would be left plain without any carving.
On the top of the wooden pillar, a short cantilever beam with carvings of lotuses, Makar (a mythological figure) was mounted. On this short cantilever beam the main beam would rest. These cantilever beams were designed to distribute the load evenly and they also formed a part of ornamentation.
Some temples which till today have such wooden pillared sabhamandap are Shri Navdurga Temple at Bori, Shri Mahalsa Temple at Mardol, Shri Ananta temple at Savai Verem, Shri Kamakshi Temple at Shiroda and Shri Parshuram and Shri Betaal temple at Paingini.
Shri Navdurga temple at Madkai, Shri Keshav temple at Loliem, Shri Mallikarjun temple at Shreesthal in Kankona also had exquisitely carved massive wooden pillars which are repalced by new ones today. However the old pillars have been reused in the nearby temple of Shri Kashipurush.
Shri Mallikarjun temple at Shreesthal had Goa’s finest carved wooden pillars. It had a 6 pillared sabhamandap with beautiful wooden panels on the ceiling.
Apart form sculpting wooden pillars, the Goan craftsmen also sculpted colossal images of Shri Betaall out of wood. Today these images have almost disappeared form the temples as they have been replaced by stone ones.
Reviving the sculptural stone and wood art by Puttuswamy Gudigar in Goa:-
After the downfall of Goa Kadambs, the sculptural art in Goa almost died. Sculpture guilds seem to have disappeared. Probably the 14th century in Goa saw the last of Kadamb styled sculptures being produced. Moreover, the art of carving on stone almost ceased to continue in Goa.
However, the art of sculpting of wood is still carried out by many artisans in Goa though not a very large scale.
But the 21st century in Goa witnessed the revival of this art due to the tremendous efforts of Puttuswamy Gudigar. Popularly known as P. Gudigar or just Gudigar by Goans, he was born on 4th October 1951. He completed his early studies at Sagar in Karnataka and Bachelor of Arts in Maharaja College at Mysore. He further finished his Master’s in Ancient History & Archaeology at Manasgangotri.
Gudigar traces his origin to Goa. He narrates that his family had migrated to coastal Karnataka and further to the forest areas of Sagar during the Portuguese rule. His ‘kuldev’ Shri Nagesh is a testimony to his origin.
Being born in a ‘shilpkaar’ (sculptor) family Gudigar was inclined to take up the family profession and was greatly influenced by D. Vadiraj, a National Awardee sculptor. He joined NIO in Goa in the year 1981 and was engaged in Marine Archaeology. Here he was involved in underwater excavations at Dwarka, Poompuhar, Lakshwadeep etc.
Hailing from a ‘shilpkaar’ family his mind was on sculptures and images. He gave up his job just with the aim of reviving the lost heritage of Goa. He began a sculpture studio called Shilplok at Verna in 2002. Gudigar strives hard to revive the sculptural art of the Kadambs which had vanished from Goa many centuries ago.
Shilplok is perhaps the first and the only studio existing in Goa which strives in making sculptures in the Kadamb-Hoysal style after the downfall of the Kadamb dynasty in Goa. Sculptures carved by Gudigar are almost comparable to the sculptures existing in the temples of Halsi, Degamve, Hangal which were cities and capitals of the Kadambs. His aim is to revive the classical sculptural art and bring this heritage back to Goa’s soil.
Gudigar has eight trainee sculptors hailing from different states, like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and even Goa, working under him in Shilplok at Verna. Apart from reviving Kadamb, Chaalukyan and Hoysal art forms Gudigar also incorporates Chandel and Chol styles in his sculptures. His carved images are worshipped in more than 50 temples in Goa. His sculptures are also in great demand in Karnataka and Maharastra. Apart from stone work, Gudigar is also an expert in wood and metal casting work. One of his master pieces is the 7 ft tall bronze image of Natraj installed in 2003 at the Cabo Raj Niwas at Dona Paula.