Session 5 of the 2007 Shivdasani Conference.
The Ambika temple in Jagat village, about 50 km southeast of Udaipur in the western Indian State of Rajasthan, dates back to 961 AD. The temple has a simple but well-spelt iconological scheme. Its numerous fine sculptures are in an excellent state of preservation. Ambika temple is a Devi (goddess) temple, with images of Durga, Saptamatrikas and other female divinities sculpted on the walls and doorframes of the main temple and the adjunct halls. As the red flag on the sikhara and the congregation of devotees indicate, the temple is still being used for worship. The principal image of Devi presently placed in the garbha-griha (sanctum-sanctorum) though is not of the same date as the temple’s construction and consecration but is a more recent image installed on the earlier pedestal and placed in front of the original parikara (image-frame). Since when do we have evidence of the association of this site at Jagat with Devi worship? What does archaeological evidence and the iconography of the temple sculptures reveal about the nature of goddess worship at this site? What are the textual injunctions regarding worship in a temple when the main image of the deity in the sanctum is lost, stolen or damaged? What could have been the motivating forces for the local population to continue worship to the goddess in this temple? The present paper attempts a biographical sketch of this monument to relate the received evidence to textual injunctions and the iconological programme of the temple in addressing such concerns.