Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

April object

SAURA - PITHA

Dolerite

Andhra Pradesh

12th century CE

26 * 58 * 55 cms

Acc No 90.7/4

Saura-Pitha is one of the unique sculptures which does not depict a divinity or a decorative figure. Saura-Pitha in fact symbolises astronomical concepts expressed through religious imagery. The rising and setting of the sun provided directions and its revolution through various radical signs determined the time of the day. Both the correct direction and the right direction were computed by drawing a circle on a plain ground with gnomon fixed in the centre of the circle. The shadow of the gnomon would move proportionately with the movement of the sun and would therefore, indicate the time.

This sculpture or pitha is divided into three levels: a square base, octagonal structure in the middle and above it is a circular panel having a carved circle or chart made of lotus petals, symbolising the sun. The top circle has sixteen equidistant segments pointing to sixteen directions. Around the circle are carved the figures of the twelve constellations through which the sun makes his sojourn in one complete day of twenty four hours.