In the Hindu epic Mahabharatha, Navagunjara is a creature composed of nine different animals. The animal is a common motif in the Pata-chitra style of painting, of the Odisha The beast is considered a form of the Hindu god Vishnu, or of Krishna, who is considered an Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. It is considered a variant of the virat-rupa (Omnipresent or vast) form of Krishna, that he displays to Arjuna, as mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, a part of the epic Mahabharatha.
Once, when Arjuna was doing penance on a hill, Krishna-Vishnu appears to him as Navagunjara. Navagunjara has the head of a rooster, and stands on three feet, those of an elephant, tiger and deer or horse; the fourth limb is a raised human arm carrying a lotus or a wheel. The beast has the neck of a peacock, the back or hump of a bull and the waist of a lion; the tail is a serpent. Initially, Arjuna was terrified as well as mesmerized by the strange creature and raises his bow to shoot it. Finally, Arjuna realizes that Navagunjara is a manifestation of Vishnu and drops his weapons, bowing before Navagunjara.
Navagunjara motif on the pallu and the fish designs on the border as well as pallu is yet another classic example of Kanchipuram weavers’ creativy in adopting the Odisha design. Beautiful black Kanchi cotton saree
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