The fort of Kalinga in the south-western corner of district Banda in UP is on the border of Madhya Pradesh.This fort has a long and ancient history and has been apart from a city tell an important place of pilgrimage. The fort is located on a plateau which has a vertical scarp of around 40 feet all round thus making it almost impregnable
Beyond that is a 30 foot wall there are various entrances to it built into its wall
as it was built in the rocky hills it also had many rock shelters in the sky up below the rampart in which ascetics left as borne by the many scriptures and has a number of religious places. I have already made a video of the very famous temple Neelkanth and mrigdhara both of which are famous. Today I am going to showcase The rock cut sculpture amazing in its design and scope and some thing that has not been viewed by many people.We set of with Samir Kher of Deep Dive India and Sanatkada Heritage to see this spectacular piece of art.Samir warned is it was a difficult walk along the ramparts and that we would need to go outside the fort gates to see one of it’s outer walls.The walk was indeed tough but spectacular.Going out of the Panna and to tje toad going down to the village.But instead of going down to the village we climbed towards a n area called Mandukya Bhairava. Bhairava as we all know is one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva and that’s whom we were going to see.But what or who was Mandukya? That’s the name by which the Shiva sculpture is described in the inscriptions all around it on the rockface by pilgrims & devotees.It’s a name used for a frog, but though there’s a deep reservoir there called Bhairav jhirka it’s too deep for frogs to survive.I emailed Mr. Vijay Kumar whose detailed article in the Indian journal of Archaeology on the inscriptions of Kalinjar told me about the name. He replied that a “A plant called nirgundi also known as meudi grows in abundance in that area.I think this place is named after this weed.”Finally we had taken the turn and above me were again steep steps and the image we had come to see.
I am talking of a huge sculpture called into the wall of Lord Shiva as the Gajantaka or Gajasursamharamurti which is an aggressive / destructive form of Shiva as a martial lord who killed an elephant demon. The story occurs in a couple of Puranas as well as some other sources. The killing was so violent that he skinned him and danced within his hide—which is why in some examples he dances on the elephant’s head and lifts the hind legs up.
When a demon (Rakshasa) assumed the form of an elephant and terrorized Brahmins who were worshipping the linga, Shiva emerged from this linga, slew the demon, and removed the elephant skin, thereafter wearing the hide on his upper body.This icon waa popular in Pallava and Chola art, which portrayed him dancing vigorously in the flayed elephant hide of Gajasura.What makes the image in Kalinjar very special us that it’s 5th century Gupta Era. the sculpture of Elephanta of circa A.D. 550