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Illustration of an Indian woman holding a flower
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कूर्म अवतार Kurma Avatar

circa 1790

RCIN 1005115.e

Folio 2

A depiction of the samudra manthan or 'Churning of the Ocean of Milk' .The gods (right) and demons (left) use Mount Mandara as the churning staff (with Vishnu seated on top, and the tortoise Kurma carrying it on his back) and the serpent Vasuki as a rope. On the shore are those animals, gods and objects which were emitted from the ocean as it was churned (from right to left: a pot of Amrita, the nectar of immortality; Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and wealth; emeralds and rubies (representing kaustubha, the most valuable jewel in the world, worn by Vishnu); the elephant, Airavata, with three trunks; Kamadhenu, the wish-granting divine cow; the four vedas; the flowering tree with blossoms that never fade or wilt; the shankha, Vishnu's conch shell; Uchhaishravas, the divine seven-headed horse; chandra, the moon which adorned Shiva's head; Varuni, the goddess and creator of alcohol; Dhanvantari, the doctor of the gods; a sharanga ('powerful bow'); and a pot of halāhala, the poison swallowed by Shiva.

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