In Search of the Original Image of Viṭṭhal

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

in Rise of a Folk God

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199777594
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919048 | DOI:

Series: South Asia Research

In Search of the Original Image of Viṭṭhal

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This chapter argues that the image of Viṭṭhal described in the Māhātmyas is most closely replicated by that in the Viṭṭhal temple at Māḍhe (Madhe Taluka, Solapur District). Dhere shows that the obscure mantra carved on the chest of that image is the mantra referred to in the oldest Māhātmya of Pandharpur. He then discusses the numerous occasions on which the image of Viṭṭhal was moved from Pandharpur, including one time (in a.d. 1659) when it was moved to Māḍhe. He argues that the image presently at Māḍhe is, in other ways too, much closer to the descriptions in literary sources than is the image presently installed in the Viṭṭhal temple at Pandharpur. Dhere concludes that the original image was returned to Pandharpur from Māḍhe, and the image presently in Māḍhe is a replica made to commemorate the original one from Pandharpur that stayed there temporarily.

Keywords: Madhe Taluka; Pandharpur; literary sources

Chapter.  10653 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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