Durakhi Devi Temple, Patna

Durakhi Devi Temple, Patna

This is a detatched member of a carved railing of a stupa. The piece of the stone shows the semi-nude female figures on both of its faces, hence earned the name of 'Durukhi' or 'Durukhiya' (double faced) Devi. It was discovered by Waddell way back in 1890s while excavating the site Kumhrar, which eventually became famous for the unique Pillared Hall built by the Mauryas. Sometime afterwards (no authentic record is available on this count), it was brought down to its present location at Naya Tola (Kankarbagh) about a kilometer west and has been kept in a temple-like shed, where it is being also worshipped.

This is a fine specimen of the Shunga art of the 2nd-1st Century B.C. As these female figures are shown grabbing and breaking branches of trees with one of their hands, they are considered to be representing the 'Shalabhanjikas' (the breaker of branches), the young women under a ritual associated with fertility, that was popular during the early historic period in this part of India.

A replica of this image is displayed in the Patna Museum's sculptural gallery. A comparable bifacial female figure was accidentally discovered in the recent past from Rajendra Nagar locality in Patna which is also displayed in the same gallery.

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