(Last Updated on : 27/02/2017)
The Ardhanari Temple was built during the reign of Yadav ruler Ramachandradev in the 12th century located at Velapur which is 32 kms from Pandharpur
. The idol is made of a single rock only.
, one of the beautiful towns of Himachal Pradesh
boasts the rare Ardhanari image with superior carvings. The right half of the stone image in the temple represents Shiva
and the left half his spouse Parvati
. Shiva is seen in his typical knotted hair and wearing a garland of skulls, an entwined serpent, a musical instrument in one hand and a 'damru
' or 'drum' on the other. Parvati, on the other hand is seen wearing a diadem, a pair of earrings
and a ring on the nose
There is a slab joined to the image. On this the vehicles of the deities- the bull and the lion, are carved artistically. There are also the images of Bhairon and Hanuman
. The temple consists of a cellar, porch and a mandap
. The temple carvings are of high order.
History of the Ardhanari Temple
The notion of Ardhanarishvara initiated in Kushan and Greek cultures concurrently. The iconography developed in the Kushan period. In the middle of the mid-first century, Kushan era stela in the Mathura Museum has a half-male, half-female image with three additional figures recognized with Vishnu, Gaja Lakshmi and Kubera.
The male half is an urdhvalinga and makes an abhaya mudra wave and the female left half holds a mirror and has a smoothed breast. This is the earliest depiction of Ardhanarishvara which was unanimously acknowledged. An early Kushan Ardhanarishvara head revealed at Rajghat is displayed at the Mathura Museum. The right male half has tangled hair with a skull and semi-circular moon and the left female half has well-combed hair ornamented with flowers and wears a patra-kundala. The face has a regular third eye and a terracotta seal bared in Vaishali has half-man, half-woman features.
Representation of the Ardhanari Temple
The Ardhanari Temple signifies that the male and female beliefs are indivisible and the combination of this suggests the harmony of opposites. Ardhanari signifies the wholeness that lies beyond the duality, bi-unity of male and female along with the bi-sexuality.
It transmits that God is both Shiva and Parvati which means both male and female, both father and mother, both cold and vigorous, both formidable and moderate, both negative and constructive.
Worship of the Ardhanari Temple
The temple is one of most popular iconographic appearance of Lord Shiva and his sect highlighting on the combined worship of Shiva and Parvati that may still have had a high place in Hinduism.