Panivarai Shiva – A Rare Reclining Hindu God Shiva Painting at Vadakkumnathan Temple at Thrissur in Kerala



Reclining posture of Hindu God Shiva is very rare as the reclining posture is most popularly associated with Sri Hari Vishnu. But during a recent study of mural paintings in Kerala by Archaeological Society of India (ASI) a mural of reclining Shiva was discovered. Known as Panivarai Shiva, for long the image was thought to be that of Vishnu. Detail study has now revealed that it is the image of Shiva with Parvati, Ganga and other attendant deities.
An ASI study of 600 panels of murals in Kerala has revealed paintings that were hitherto covered, and also new details of the existing ones. Notable among them are the two rare paintings which are about 350 years old — a reclining Shiva and a Nataraja with 20 arms found on the walls of Vadakkumnathan temple at Thrissur.
‘For long this painting was thought to be a reclining Vishnu, since it was partly covered with soot. Another reason is that a reclining figure is usually associated with Vishnu and it is common in Kerala to paint Vaishnavaite themes in Shaivaite temples. When we cleaned the painting, the details became evident and we could establish that it is a reclining Shiva (Panivarai Siva) with Parvati, Ganga and other attendant deities. This is a rare panel’ said M. Nambirajan, Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Society of India, Thrissur circle.
Vadakkumnathan Temple in Kerala is dedicated to Shiva and is the place where the world famous Thrissur Pooram is held annually.
Note - We could not locate the mural painting of Panivarai Shiva. The image above is that of the Vadakkumnathan Temple.