(Last Updated on : 07-07-2012)
The iconography of Lord Parshvanatha
, the twenty-third Jain Tirthankara at Khajuraho Temples
has been beautifully represented through images. It is made of buff sandstone and is marked with srivatsa symbol in the centre of the chest. The image of the Jina is 52"x31" in height and is seated on serpent coils. The image is surmounted by a seven hooded cobra. However, all the hoods are now in damaged condition. Its coils go down on the back side. The image of Lord Parshvanatha seated on the serpent coils with its seven hoods forming a canopy over his head is in complete harmony with the Jain texts.
Both the Swetambara
texts mentions about the story of Lord Parshvanatha. They state about Dharanendra, a snake king who came to rescue and protect the Parshvanatha during his meditation from heavy rain and calamity that was caused by Kamatha demon. The demon wanted to create hindrances for Parshvanatha. Dhararendra kept the Jina's both legs in its lap made of coils and raised the canopy of seven hoods to rescue him from that calamity. It is for this reason that the idols of Parshvanatha are always surmounted by the hoods of a seven headed cobra over his head. Sometimes the serpent's coil extends down to the figure's base.
In the present idol the covering cloth is decorated with garland. The image of Padmavati Devi, a Yakshi can be seen in left hand side corner. She has two arms and is surmounted by a three headed cobra over her head. Padmavati
holds a fruit in the left hand while the other arm is hidden. On the right hand side an image of a worshipper can be seen kneeling down with his hands folded in reverence and head under a serpent canopy. A seated Jina is also visible on either side above the figures of flywhisk bearers. The figure is accompanied by an elephant
and two riders. Again beside the elephant an image of a standing Jina is carved magnificently at each top corner. The wrist of Parshvanatha is slightly mutilated. Jina's hair is arranged in curls. All the male figures among the group of celestial beings are seen carrying a garland while their spouses are shown with folded hands. The image of the drum beater with the triple umbrella is somewhat damaged. The image of Lord Parshvanatha has, thus, been carved brilliantly and looks very appealing.