Kalki Avatar seated on throne (1800/1899)Salar Jung Museum
Kalki avatar of Lord Vishnu (the last of the ten avatars of the Dashavatara of Hindu mythology as mentioned in the Garuda-purana), also called Kalkin, is in a palace setting enthroned as a king. He is seated in an octagonal and ornate marble enclosure.
Kalki is holding a double edged powerful sword, the khanda and a shield, wearing a crown, jewellery and resplendent dress. This painting is in Mughal-Rajput style, dated to the 19th century.
The Kalki avatar is prophesised to arrive riding on Devadatta, a white horse with wings, holding a sword, at the end of Kali Yuga, and will end the dark period of degeneration and unrighteousness. He restarts a new cycle of time.
Avatar means 'descent', and refers to 'a descent of the divine into earthly realm in human form'. An attendant is depicted paying obeisance to the avatar.
An attendant is depicted paying obeisance to the avatar.
The miniature painting depicts the palace in scenic surroundings. One can see the blue sky and lush greenery made up of different trees.
An attendant is standing behind the Kalki avatar holding a flywhisk. The canopy overhead is ornate and seems studded with precious stones.
A beautiful red carpet is on the floor behind the throne.
The architecture of the marble pavillion where the avatar is seated is having ornamental designs and splendid vegetal patterns in this royal depiction.
The Kalki Avatar will be ushering in the Satya Yuga, a new epoch in the cycle of existence, destroying all evil, riding a white horse with a powerful sword.
The Kalki concept is also found in Buddhist texts; the Kalachakra Tantra of Tibetan Buddhism. The prophecy of the Kalki avatar is there in Sikh texts as well.
Text and Curation : Soma Ghosh
Photography : M. Krishnamurthy and Bahadur Ali
Special Thanks to : Dr. A. Nagender Reddy, Director, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India.