Gaja Gauri

Raja Ravi Varma and Ravi Varma Press, Karla LonavalaCirca 1910

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation
Bengaluru, India

GAJA GAURI OR GAJA LAKSHMI: This is an ancient representation where Lakshmi is described as seated in padmasana (on a lotus or lotus posture) with the four arms. In two of her arms, she carries lotuses while the other two are in the gestures of abhaya (protection) and varada (boon bestowal). On either side, she is attended to by elephants which pour water from kumbhas (pots) held in their trunks. While the elephants are symbolic of power and strength, pots have always symbolized fertility. The water represents the shower of fertility emanating there-from.

In this print by the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma, the representation adheres to the strict iconographic description and places Gaja Lakshmi in a grand palatial setting.


  • Title: Gaja Gauri
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Ravi Varma Press, Karla Lonavala
  • Date Created: Circa 1910
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 35 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru.
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Hinduism, Gigapixel
  • Type: Chromolithograph
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Creator's Biography: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma's paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

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