ONE of the largest murals (23 feet by 13 feet) ever painted in Asia happens to be on the ceiling of the shrine at the Veerabhadreswara temple at Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh, in South India. The mural shows vitality and vigour and depicts Kira-tarjuneeyam, Dakshinamurthy and the divine wedding of Shiva and his consort Parvati.
The mukha-mandapa has a 50 feet long panel, which bears paintings that narrate the legend of Manuneedhi Cholan. The mandapa also bears paintings depicting Krishna as a child and other scenes from the Mahabharata particularly Draupadi’s wedding, while the ardahmandapam of the Lepakshi temple bears paintings of 14 manifestations of Lord Shiva.
The Chola rulers, besides being great warriors, were builders of magnificent temples and great patrons of arts. Due to their patronage, highly specialised forms of art with characteristically beautiful ornamental relief work flourished. The Tanjore School of Painting dates back to the 16th century.