Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cambodian Apsaras (अप्सराः), Devatas & Gods

My last post from my trip to Cambodia last Christmas. Gods, devatas and apsaras fill your senses and you consciousness when you visit the temples of Angkor. Here's a few shots of these wondrous forms.
Beautifully adorned multi-armed form of Vishnu in Angkor Wat

An Apsara (also spelled as Apsarasa) is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology

Apsaras represent an important motif in the stone bas-reliefs of the Angkorian temples in Cambodia (8th–13th centuries AD), however all female images are not considered to be apsaras. In harmony with the Indian association of dance with apsaras, Khmer female figures that are dancing or are poised to dance are considered apsaras; female figures, depicted individually or in groups, who are standing still and facing forward in the manner of temple guardians or custodians are called devatas 

Apsaras and devatas are beautiful, supernatural female beings

They are youthful and elegant, and apsaras are superb in the art of dancing

Deva is the Hindu term for deity

Apsaras are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra

Beautiful threesome

They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men

As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels

Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling

Love these smiling Devatas. I'm seduced!

English translations of the word "Apsara" include "nymph," "celestial nymph," and "celestial maiden"

While women and goddesses appear as icons in many ancient and modern societies, the Khmers gave sanctified women dominance over their state temples more consistently and more visibly than any other group

Pyramid of gods

Lovely pillar

Guardian elephants

Work of art

Devatas often occurred in Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and also some Buddhist holy scriptures

Every human activity has its devata, its spiritual counterpart or aspect


Bas reliefs from Angkor Thom