Where can you hunt for the roots of Chola history? South India?? Nay! You could do it in Philadelphia as well. I entered the “Asian Art” section on the second floor thinking no museum can be complete without Indian art. I wasn’t disappointed. There is a temple hall made out of the pillars from Madanagopala Swamy Temple, Madurai. It was a classic Vijayanagar architecture of 16th century CE. It is the biggest collection. On the next room, in the South Indian section, I found Chola sculptures. Never thought I could see a classic there. Eight arms with weapons, flaring hair, eyebrows bent in anger, a hint of smile in lips… my eyes were opening wider and wider… I was like “Is she…?” and bent down to read the note on the side… “Oh my God… Oh my God… She is her indeed” I got goose bumps confirming her name. I found a bas-relief of “Nishumbhasudani”. The card read “Goddess Durga As the Slayer of the Demon Nishumbha (Nishumbhasudani), 900 to 925 CE, Tamil Nadu, India”. I was thinking of meeting her in Thanjavur. She couldn’t wait any longer for my trip down there and gave me a darshan in Philadelphia. I examined her details closely with a wide smile.

According to Thiruvalangadu copper plates, Vijayalaya Chola, the first king of medieval Cholas, established a temple of Nishumbhasudani at Thanjavur soon after his conquest of the town circa 850 CE. Although Natarajar of Chidambaram temple is considered as favorite God of Cholas, Nishumbhasudani is considered as their “family deity”.


2 Responses to Nishumbhasudani

  1. injamaven says:

    dear Mercy,
    May I put this wonderful photo in the grand collection website of all-India murthis being created for public use : ?
    It's the best yet of this Devi.
    An enormous website is being created by a bunch of folks in Chennai, Mathura, Mumbai, & me.
    Kathie Brobeck,
    please let me know. . . .

  2. Just sent the photo to you… Good luck!

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