Roof Corner

Ambika Mata temple, Jagat

This sculptural ornament portrays a celestial palace in the mountains, with deities and attendants. The architecture of the mountain palace, as the heavenly abode of the gods, echoes the temple which is their earthly residence. The palace tower is decorated with intricate horseshoe-shaped gavaksha arch-motifs, and is surrounded by small model shikhara towers which represent the surrounding mountain peaks. A well-carved elephant, "walking the plank" at the corner, supplies compositional balance and interest, as well as associations with clouds (as Indra's vehicle) and royalty.

In Indian temples, the form of the temple is developed fractally, by repeating its elements at different scales on the building's exterior. The palace/temple in this photo is but one of several parts that repeat the whole, and it is posssible to imagine that on its small towers are placed tiny palace/temples with even smaller towers, and so on, continuing indefinitely.