(Last Updated on : 04-07-2012)
was a famous Yaksi of the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Lord Neminath
. As per references of the Jain literary and the sculptural evidences, the worship of Ambika was in vogue in the sixth century A. D. She occupies the most prominent position among the group of Yaksis of the Jaina pantheon. The other Yakshis are Cakreivart, Ambika Siddhayika and Padmavati
. At Deogarh
Ambika has been given much priority among all the Yakshis. Almost fifty sculptures, excluding the smaller ones can be seen here. All these have been carved beautifully and look magnificent. The figures of Ambika range in date from ninth (862 A. D.) to the 12th century. A. D. The Digambara
works have carved Ambika with two arms and riding a lion. The Pratisthasarasaihgraha invokes Ambika in two varieties of form, namely, the two armed and the four armed. According to Pratisthtisaroddhnra and the Pratisthatilakam the two armed Yaksi is seen riding on a lion and bearing an amralumbi i.e. a bunch of mangoes and a child Priyankara by name and seated in lap. She is seen resting under a mango tree
and is accompanied by her second son Subhankata by name.
Ambika at Deogarh is depicted as standing or sitting in tilt lalitasana. The former posture is seen more frequently. Here she is represented in two varieties of form namely, the two armed and the four armed. The four armed form can be seen in three sculptures only. A small figure of Lord Neminatha can be seen over the head of Ambika along with the branches of a mango tree
that is spread all along. The two armed form of Ambika customarily holds an amralumbi in the right hand while with the left she is seen holding a child. Sometimes it is seen either seated in her lap and at other times standing by her side. A lion is also carved close to her which is her vahana or vehicle. On the right hand side generally the sculptured image of her second son is seen standing and touching the amralumbi. Ambika at times is flanked by two fiywhisk bearers at the sides and two hovering mnlndharas at the top. Two images of Ambika can be seen having two arms in which she either carries a lotus in her right hand or it rests on the head of her second son. All these figures belong to the 11th century A. D. and have been carefully preserved respectively in the Sahu Jaina Museum, Deogarh and on the enclosure wall of the Temple No. 12 that is on the northern side. In some of the images like those carved on the beautiful pillars the second son of Ambika has not been rendered. Two sculptures in the Sahu Jaina Museum houses the figures of Lord Suparshavnatha
and two goddesses bearing the abhaya mudra, a lotus, a fiywhisk and a kalasa in their hands. Thus the two images of Ambika mostly match with the injunctions of the Digambara texts.
The earliest figure of Ambika at Deogarh is in the group of the 24 Yaksa. It has been carved on the facade of the Temple No, 12 of 862 A. D. The Ambika has four arms and is without any vehicle. In the inscriptions she is known as Ambayika and bears a flower, a flywhisk, a lotus and a child in her hands. Other than these there are two other figures of four armed Ambika that belongs to the 11th and 12th century A. D. These have been carved on the splendid standing pillars that are built adjacent to the Tempi Nos. 11 and 16. The pillars date back to the 12th century A. D. In the carved images Ambika holds an amralumbi, a goad and a noose in her three hands, while in the remaining one hand she supports a child holding a fruit. A small figure of Jina and amrasakha are carved over her head. A lion is also seen near her seat. However, in two images installed in the Temple Nos. 13 and 24 she is seen holding a mango in place of amralumbi. It belongs to the 11th century A. D.