Is This The Most Beautiful Doorway in the World?
This elaborate multi-tiered doorway frames the entrance to the most sacred shrine of the ruined Gupta Dasavarata temple in Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh. This beautiful little late 5th century temple is thought by some to be dedicated to the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Its lavish doorway is embellished with dvarapalas (guardian figures), mithuna (loving couples), ganas (attendants of Shiva), makaras (crocodile-like creatures), nagas (snakes semi- personified), and Yaksis (nature demi-goddesses). Aside from the charming figural representations, the doorway abounds with vegetal motifs in the form of elegant vine scrolls and floral panels. I can scarcely believe the quality of the sculpture and the attention to detail here. The lovely figures are voluptuous yet strong, and slightly less exaggerated in the hip to waist ratio than sculpted figures become later on in India. They are beautifully adorned with decorative hairstyles and delicate jewellery. The relief friezes at Angkor Wat come to mind when I look at these sculptures. There is not only a ritual purpose for this doorway, but also a sheer love of beauty, and joy on the part of the artists, in representing nature, gods, goddesses and mythical creatures.
And some other lovely doorways…