Rama piercing seven Sala trees with a single arrow


National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi
New Delhi , India

This event is when Rama encounter’s the monkey kingdom during his forest exile. Despite Rama’s assurance, Sugriva, the monkey king, wanted to examine Rama's strength to determine if he could kill Bali, elder brother of Sugriva. Sugriva narrated to him a story that revealed Bali’s strength. Once a demon named Dundhubhi, taking a form of buffalo challenged Bali for a fight. Accepting the challenge, Bali wearing the divine garland given to him by Indra, fought and overpowered Dundhubhi. Some of the drops of Dundhubhi’s blood fell in the ashram of sage Matanga at Rishyamuka who pronounced a curse according to which Bali could not enter Rishyamuka Mountain. Sugriva then showed the carcass of Dundhubhi to Rama, pointing out at the same time towards seven sala trees. He said that Bali pierced each of them in a single stroke and questioned him whether he could accomplish such achievements. On being confronted, Rama threw away the carcass of Dundhubhi with a single stroke, and immediately struck all seven trees with a single arrow.

Rama stands blue complexioned, dressed in yellow garments, wearing a crown is about to shoot an arrow. Beside him is the Lakshmana in yellow garments holding bow and arrow standing on the brilliant dome, an arrangement of semicircular rocks of deep maroon marked with floral motifs out of which is emerging the grey coloured carcass of buffalo faced demon- Dundhubhi. On the left are the highly stylized seven sala trees in sap green and turquoise blue adorned with different patterns. Rama has just shot an arrow; his power was so great that he shot through seven trees with one arrow and the arrow is stuck in the far left sala tree. In the foreground, Hanuman and Sugriva are standing with folded hands witnessing this great event. The rich and flat red fills the background, the highly stylized trees and flowering creepers, and interest in using different patterns very much belongs to Malwa paintings.


  • Title: Rama piercing seven Sala trees with a single arrow
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1600/1700
  • Location: National Museum, New Delhi
  • Location Created: Central India
  • Physical Dimensions: 17.3x 25.4 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Ramayana, Sugriva, Rama
  • Medium: Opaque watercolour on paper
  • Art Form: Malwa Style
  • Depicted Person: Rama, Sugriva, the monkey king, Bali, Buffalo faced demon- Dundhubhi., Lakshmana
  • Exhibition History: 2020 Ramayana exhibition in Kolkata
  • Accession Number: 51.65/34

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