Ambika in Ellora Cave 32, Maharashtra, India

This sculpture found in the upper level of Jain Cave 32 at Ellora - depicts Goddess Ambika seated on her lion under a mango tree that is laden with fruits; Ambika is known to be the protector goddess of the Tirthankara Neminatha. (Many refer to this sculpture also as that of Yakshini Siddhayika - or the goddess of fertility - sitting below a mango tree.)

You will find Yakshi Ambika and Yaksha Sarvanubhuti featured in many Jain Caves of Ellora be it as flanking shrines or in a fairly large size at the edges of the veranda. There are many other divine beings carved in Jain Caves of Ellora including Padmavati and goddess Chakreshvari. 

Note - As per Jain ancient texts - Yakshas and Yakshinis were appointed by Indra to look after the well-being of Tirthankaras. Jain art depicts them around Jinas in Jain temples and are found in pair of a male (yaksha - found on the right) and a female (yakshini found on the left). In the earlier period of Jainism, they were mainly depicted as devotees of Jina but as the time passed by people started to worship them too. Also not all Yaksha or Yakshinis are benevolent as some can have malicious intent. (The term Jina describes a human being who has achieved omniscience and then teaches and guides other people wanting to walk the path to liberation or mokṣha-mārga. Jina as a 'term' used interchangeably with Tīrthankara.)

Ellora Caves located in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, India is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. How to reach Ellora Caves?

Tag : Travel Maharashtra | Content: | Image: Hiroki Ogawa | Update: 18-Mar-2021