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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Hampi Sacred Center: Photo 76

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Originally, there was an attached figure of Narasimha's wife, Lakshmi. You can see her arm poking out from more or less under his armpit on the right, but otherwise she's missing. Where is she? She's in pieces at the museum. The curator said she was not on public view but was instead in a storeroom. He said he'd show me. Sure enough: one room had her legs and torso; another room had her head and other arm. The curator said the staff could put it together where it belonged, with the monolithic statue, but there was a controversy. Some sects insisted that this form of Narasimha is always shown without his wife. In other words, they disregarded the existing arm near his torso. The Archaeological Survey of India was caught in this sectarian controversy and had decided to stay out of the line of fire. "We have so many religious controversies," the curator said. This one wouldn't end anytime soon. "No pictures," he added.

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