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Murals of Sibi

by K.L.Kamat

Sibi is a small sleepy village on Bangalore-Pune highway, located 24 kilometers north of Tumkur town in Karnataka (see the map locating Sibi ). Lord Narasimhaswamy is the presiding deity of a five hundred year old temple located here. The inner walls of the roof of the temple has been extensively covered with murals.

© K. L. Kamat
Krishna with butter on his face  -- line drawing based on a Sibi painting
Krishna with butter on his chin
Line drawing by the author based on a painting from Sibi

These wall paintings could be grouped into five distinct groups. The great epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shiva-purana, and Bhagwata episodes are the basis for the religious paintings. 

© K. L. Kamat
Rawana from a Sibi Temple Painting
Rawana from a Sibi Temple Painting
Notice his numerous arms and a naked body

In some panels, commoners, their dresses and ornaments and their social customs have been highlighted. There are a few panels in which domesticated and wild animals have been painted in their natural habitat. Many contemporary historical personalities have found a place among these paintings. Hyder Ali ("Bada Navab,") is relaxing on a chair, whereas his son, Tippu Sultan ("Tiger of Mysore," see the biography of Tippu Sultan) is seated on the floor. Nallappa, the biographer of Hyder Ali ("Hydernama") and the builder of the temple, is shown as consulting his brothers. The roof of the mukhanamtapa (the main entrance) is flooded with erotic paintings. Their contents and compositions are highly imaginative.

© K. L. Kamat
Temple Builder Nallappa, with Relatives
Temple Builder Nallappa, with Relatives
Detail from a wall painting in Sibi

More Pictures of Sibi

Nallappa, A courtier of Hyder Ali
Nallappa is remembered for the temple he built in town of Sibi. Portrait is from a painting in the temple
Paintings of Sibi
Sibi Murals
Transportation of Liquor
Detail from a painting in Sibi


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Timeless Theater CD-ROMContents from Timeless Theater CD-ROM
ISBN: 1929648006, 1999
K.L.Kamat, Jyotsna Kamat, All Rights Reserved


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