top of page

Mahabharatha in Sculptures

The Ramayana and Mahab­hara­ta have been trans­mit­ted across sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions in the form of sto­ries, poems, nar­ra­tives and var­i­ous art forms. Each Indi­an art form, be it Kathakali or Kalamkari paint­ing, has always depict­ed scenes from the Mahab­hara­ta in thor­ough detail often tak­ing one or two impor­tant sequences. Through these art forms, the intri­cate sto­ries and the phi­los­o­phy of the Mahab­harath has stood the test of time. Ofcourse! one can­not ignore the local leg­ends that have been added to the main sto­ry­line. Here are a few stone carv­ings from tem­ples in India and abroad show­ing scenes from the Mahaba­harat. It would be won­der­ful to make a tour of these places to see these beau­ti­ful sculp­tures.

This sculp­ture of the Pan­davas and Drau­pa­di can be found at the Dasha­vatara Tem­ple at Deog­a­rh, Rajasthan, India. Notice the unique head­gear adorned by each of the Pan­davas.

The main pan­el at Maha­balipu­ram shows the descent of the ganges. On a clos­er look one can find the med­i­tat­ing cat, the sto­ry that was nar­rat­ed in the Udyo­ga Par­va by Dury­o­d­hana com­par­ing its cun­ning­ness and hid­den agen­da to Yud­histhi­ra’s atti­tude.


The Pan­davas and Drau­pa­di with the Akshaya Patra has been depict­ed in the stone carv­ings at Amba theertha, Kar­nata­ka. The Akshaya patra was giv­en as boon by Surya Deva to the Pan­davas dur­ing their exile. The nar­ra­tive appears in the Vana Par­va of the Mahab­hara­ta.


The beau­ti­ful Amriteswara Tem­ple of the Hoysala Peri­od in Kar­nata­ka depicts the comabt between Shi­va (dressed as a hunter) and Arju­na after which Arju­na obtained his Pashu­patas­tra. The nar­ra­tive appears in the Vana Par­va-Kira­ta Par­va

The Chakravyuh that took Abhi­manyu’s life in the Mahab­hara­ta war is shown in the mar­vel­lous carv­ings at Halebid Tem­ple, Kar­nata­ka.

A scene from the war depict­ed in great detail at the Kailasa tem­ple, Ello­ra. Bhish­ma on the bed of arrows at Pat­tadakkal tem­ple, Kar­nata­ka.

Pattadakkal 48small

The fame of the Mahab­harat not only spread through­out India but to oth­er parts of the world, espe­cial­ly Cam­bo­dia, Indone­sia and Thai­land. Their dance forms have var­i­ous scenes from the Mahab­hara­ta. Here are some depic­tions from these places.


felled by Arju­na and lying on his bed of arrows is at the Angkor Wat tem­ple.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page