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Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Ascetics Before the Shrine of the Goddess
page from a manuscript of the Kedara Kalpa
approx. 1815, attrib. to the workshop of Purkhu (Indian, active 1780–approx. 1820)
India; Himachal Pradesh state, former kingdom of Kangra
Opaque watercolor on paper

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland (Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2001), W. 859

At this point on their pilgrimage, the five ascetics arrive at an isolated mountaintop shrine of Shiva’s spouse Gauri (another name for Parvati). They appear three times in this painting. First, they bathe in the glacial river. Then, prayer beads in hand, they bow low before her multi-armed image, visible just inside the shrine’s door. Finally, they meditate around a fire.