The role of this exotic bird in India has enormous value. The presence and importance of the peacock in aspects such as folklore and religion have led him to be the symbol of the country. So much so, that in 1972 his hunting was prohibited. We will try to get closer to this animal so revered within the culture and its presence in the architecture of India.
The real dread and its symbolismDetail of the City Palace of Udaipur
The symbolism of the peacock is undoubtedly very varied. This animal, considered the national bird of India since 1963, is closely linked to the senses. As a bird used for snake hunting, the peacock exerts its power over the instinctive elements. It can also represent wealth, splendor and vanity.
The peacock also serves as a sacred animal and is related to several gods. Within its religious role, this animal will be the mount of Kârttikeya, son of Shiva, and of Sarasvatî, the goddess of wisdom. Other gods use their feathers as an ornament, as in the case of Vishnu or Indra, king of the gods, whose throne is shaped like a peacock.
It also has a certain relationship with the sun thanks to its colorful wheel-shaped tail, reminiscent of the star and its rays. In the same way, it is said that it is the form that souls take after death. It can also be found in literature, both as an aesthetic point and as a character.
His presence in the architecture of IndiaPeacock Gate of the City Palace of Jaipur
The presence of the peacock is reflected in paintings, mosaics, palaces and temples. It is part of the decoration of majestic doors, interiors and gardens. Special mention deserves the City Palace of Jaipur, at whose entrance gate, known as Peacock Gate, the peacock is the central motive. This mosaic refers to the rainy season.
The strong influence of the peacock in the country's architecture can also be found in other areas of India. We can see a beautiful sculpture in the City Palace of Udaipur. We can also see it represented in the architecture of the state of Tamil Nadu, as a main element of buildings and constructions.
The peacock also has a great influence on religious representations, hence we can see it in such symbolic places as the Rathinagiri Hill temple and the Kapaleeswarar temple.
The Basadi Betta temple, an example of Indian architecture
Located at the top of the Mandharagiri hills is the Basadi Betta temple, also known as the peacock temple. This architectural complex is a place of pilgrimage. To reach the temple it is necessary to climb its 435 steps.
During the tour we can enjoy beautiful views to, finally and once the top has been reached, be greeted by a spectacular pond surrounded by statues. The complex is composed of four temples. One of them, with more than 80 meters high, recreates the shape of a duster made of peacock feathers.
Known as pinchi, this duster was used by the monks as a healing object and to scare off bad luck. The impressive dome is completely engraved with huge peacock feathers and the color used is so striking that it delights curious, tourists and photographers.
The Throne of the PeacockNadir Sha on the Throne of the Peacock - Wikimedia Commons
The legendary Peacock Throne is considered one of the most expensive pieces in history. In fact, it is estimated that its construction exceeded the high costs of the Taj Mahal. He was commanded by the emperor Mughal Badshah Shah Jahan in the 17th century to build for his royal palace in Delhi and took his name because of its characteristic shape.
The original throne was guarded by two peacock figures. Both queues expanded to create a headboard with great detail. The tails were set with precious stones such as sapphires and emeralds. In addition to having a platform, the throne was crowned by a canopy held by about twelve columns.
The entire structure was decorated with diamonds, pearls and rubies. This work so representative of the influence of Mongolian art has been the inspiration of other later works that, even today, can be seen in Iran. A clear example is found in the Naderi Throne, built in 1812 for Fath Ali Shah Qajar.