Vamana is the fifth avatar of Vishnu. With Asura King Mahabali becoming all too powerful, Vishnu takes the form of a small boy and arrives at Mahabali's place where the king grants him anything. Vamana in turn, asks for just three paces of land, causing much amusement to Mahabali, who is confident that the young boy has asked for something trivial. Vamana then becomes bigger and bigger, covering the earth with his first step and the heavens with the second. Mahabali, realising he is outwitted, sticks to his promise and humbly offers his head for the third tract; Vamana places his foot on the king's head and sends him to patal (the netherworld).


  • Title: Vaman
  • Creator: Ravi Varma Press
  • Date Created: 1890
  • Physical Dimensions: 20 x 30 cm
  • Type: Reproduction
  • Original Source: From the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation
  • Rights: Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Art Form: Print
  • Labels and Inscriptions: Ravi Varma Press, Karla, Lonavala
  • Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02
  • About the Artist: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), India’s foremost artist, who took art to the masses, hailed from Kilimanoor, in the erstwhile state of Travancore. From a very young age, Ravi Varma, was drawn towards art, imbibing techniques from his uncle and mentor Raja Raja Varma and his mother, Umayamba Bayi, a poet in her own right. Varma was much sought after by the Royals and owing to his popularity and reputation, his spectacular and richly-textured works were prolific. His realistic portrayals of contemporary figures and interpretations of religious and mythological figures fetched him instant and enduring success, lifting his standing in the art world. If the Royals and his countrymen were in awe of this great talent, the international world was spellbound by his imagination and creativity. He ensured that art would be accessible to all, through reproductions of his paintings which were made available, and affordable to everyone.

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