RATHU ROAD, RANCHI, JHARKHAND, INDIA.
The immortal love story of Shiva and Sati.
On a quiet little street in Ranchi, Jharkhand, art and religion come together to remind passers by of an immortal love story with no parallel echoes across the world. Shiva and Sati are a celebrated couple among all Hindu gods, and their story is about blessed marital happiness and the inconsolable grief of separation in death.
In the final chapter, when haughty king Daksha, publicly humiliates his own daughter, Sati, (whom he despises for marrying Shiva as much as he despises his son-in-law) little does he realize the chain of events he unknowingly unleashes.
In the heat of the moment, Sati takes her own life leaving behind the grief stricken ascetic god with a murderous rage that refuses to simmer down even when he has slain Daksha, and brought all three worlds to the brink of destruction with his Rudra Tandava: the dance of destruction.
The sculpture is of an inconsolable Shiva running distraught with the corpse of his beloved consort -unable to come to terms with her death. Shiva Lingams and giant-size statues of Shiva are numerous and scattered across India but a colossal Shiva re-enacting a passage from the Bhagavata Purana, a compilation of stories written near about in the same era as the great Indian epic Mahabharata, is a sight one doesn’t come across everyday.
File fact: The Rudra Tandava or Shiva’s dance of destruction comes from the Bengali version of Duraga compiled some centuries after the main Puranas – which offers a very different account of the legend. The Hindu Mythology by W.J Wilkins is among the few books on the subject that encompasses both versions.