This larger than life size single image of Garuda is shown in human form, identified by his two tiny wings. He is symbolically represented here performing the feat of bringing the nectar belonging to Indra for the nagas who had cheated his mother and enslaved her. As narrated in the Mahabharata, the nagas, the children of Kadru, cheated Garuda’s mother Vinata and enslaved her. They agreed to restore her freedom provided Garuda brought them the nectar from Indra. Garuda performed many feats and reached the place where the pot of nectar was kept. Two rotating wheels protected the pot and below the wheels were two monstrous serpents. Garuda overpowered them and carrying the pot of nectar in his beak, he rose to the sky, shielding the pot from the rays of the sun by his wings. He also defeated Indra who blessed Garuda that he would live by eating the nagas.
The sculpture depicts Garuda in the act of flying with his outstretched wings suggestively placed behind his shoulders. His right hand is raised up for protection from the sun. A serpent, is loosely hanging from his left hand. His right leg is firmly planted on the ground and the left one is placed on the small pedestal supported by the two serpents whom he had defeated. His beautifully chiseled face is in three-quarter profile, as he is looking sideways. He is royally adorned with a high tiara and various ornaments. It is rare to find such a powerful image of Garuda.
Late 11th century CE
Dohad, Panch Mahal District, Gujarat
171 x 65 x 39 cms.