Gajalaxmi

Goddess of fertility.

Gajalaxmi is one of the 8 aspects of the Hindu Goddess Laxmi. In Goa this manifestation of the Goddess is associated with fertility. Her presence is especially pronounced in the villages along the Mandovi River basin where she is also referred to as Kelbai and Bhauka.

The representation of Gajalaxmi in the ancient (10th-13th C) monolithic panels found in Goa shows her flanked by two elephants (Gaja is the Sanskrit word for elephant) and in the company of warriors, musicians and devotees. Many of these panels are found outdoors in forest groves or in temple compounds.

Gajalakshmi in Cudshem, Sattari, Goa

Gajalakshmi in Cudshem
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Gajalakshmi in Cudshem, Sattari, Goa

Wider view of the grove
5DS, 24-70L f/2.8 II

 
Gajalakshmi at Ganjeshwari temple at Ganjem, Sattari, Goaq

In Ganjem
5D, 24-105L

 
Gajantlakshmi Temple in Volvoi, Goa

Gajantalaxmi Temple in Volvoi
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

 
Gajalakshmi at Kelbai Temple, Caranzol, Sattari, Goa

In Caranzol
5DS, 24-70L f/2.8 II

 

In 2007 I met Gajalaxmi in the flesh in Hampi, Karnataka.

Lakshmi the elephant at Virupaksha temple

Laxmi the elephant, at Virupaksha Temple in Hampi
5D, 24-105L

 

And finally, a charming recitation of the Ashtalaxmi stotram

 
 
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  • Nachiketa Yakkundi - November 22, 2017 - 6:34 am

    Beautiful, Rajan. What great hidden beauty and tales surrounding Gajalaxmi!ReplyCancel

  • Nandkumar M. Kamat - November 19, 2017 - 1:59 am

    The region of western ghats in Mahadayi river basin from Tilari to Ganjem represents the ancient cult of Gajalaxmi worship. She is manifestation of Shakambari-the goddess of fertility and vegetation, and in all the monoliths the depiction of elephants is symbolic of the SW monsoon clouds. The Gajalaxmi monsoon festivals promoted mainly by the extinct hilly tribal kingdom of Malavas (which Kadambas of Goa destroyed in 11th century and took the title Malavara-mari-the slayers of Malavas) were soon forgotten. Certain images also show erotic coupling scenes, because magico-fertility rituals were also performed to the accompaniment of music and dances. Maharashtrian scholar Ramachandra Chintamini Dhere in his monograph Lajjagauri has demystified this cult. The iconography and stylistics of the goddess is a tribute to human dependence on biosphere. The lotus buds in the hands of goddess indicate fertility. Gajantlaxmi? No, it was Lord Siva who is known as gajantaka, or Gajasur-slayer as depicted in the magnificent scene of Gajasursamhara at Hoysala temple at Belur, Karnataka. Laxmi never slayed Gajasura – in fact naming Gajalaxmi panel as Gajantlaxmi is incorrect. But one cant argue before the faith and traditions on basis of iconographic studies. This portfolio is good for students of iconography of the monsoon goddess in the age of global climate chage. Congratulations Dr. Rajanbab.ReplyCancel

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