indian art - miniatures - archecticture - vedic philosophy

Classical - Kangra - Ramayana / Exile in the Forest
Plate 7 - Lakshmana and Jatayu Conversing at Panchavati Hermitage  


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Here we again experience the calm and quiet of the hermitage at Panchavati. We see Rama of handsome body and features with His mind at peace, as clearly reflected in his countenance, seated at the center of the painting and engaged in worship. Rama's right shoulder is uncovered for free movement of the arm while his right hand is placed on his breast as he recites the traditional texts. The object of worship is a Saligrama (deity) and is kept on an earthen pedestal placed over a platter of leaves. A jar of water, a conch, and five cups of leaves are kept around the platter. In temples and households a copper platter with five depressions in it, called panchapatra, is used for keeping various auspicious articles required for deity worship. Here at the hermitage we do not see any kind of metal utensil. It seems it is morning and Rama is offering his daily prayers.

At the right, Sita, wearing a blissful look, is seated near the hearth attending to the cooking of a meal. A river is seen flowing down from behind the hut. The oblique course of the river takes the beholder's eye, moving with the swift downward current of the river, to the lower left corner where Lakshmana is seen seated on a grass mat conversing with Jatayu. His white body is in contrast to the black feathers of the great bird. At the extreme left, beside the river, a tree with wide open branches and sparse foliage rising above the boulders creates a spacious atmosphere and the eye returns again to the focal point of the picture.