24 forms of Bishnu at Jagannath Temple

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Bishnu, painting by Michael Ball in Yoga Vidya Ashram Germany.

The most remarkable features of Jagannath Temple is that on the both sides of each parsvadevata shrines, in the outer wall, twenty four forms of bishnu is represented They are, such as Keshab, Madhava, Damodara, Narayan, Bishnu, Gobinda, Madhusudan, Trivikram, Vamana, Sridhra, Hrusikesha, Padmnava, Sankarasana, Basudeba, Pradyumna, Anirudha, Purusottam, Adhoksaja, Narasimha, Achyuta, Janardana, Upendra, Hari, Srikrisna. These twenty-four manifestations are alike in their iconographic features. They are all standing figures with no band in the body possessing four arms and adorned with kirita crown and other usual ornaments, each one of them stands upon a Padmasana. The difference between any two of these images has to be made out by the way in which the Sankha ( Conch), the chakra ( Wheel ), the gada ( Club ) and the Padma ( Lotus ) are found distributed among their four hands. The ‘ Rupamnadan’ furnishes the twenty-four names of Bishnu and the corresponding arrangements of the four ayudhas in the four hands in each case. These twenty-four forms of Bishnu that have been listed in the Silpasastras are found nowhere in any temple sculpture except in the Jagannath Temple.


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