www.IndianMiniaturePaintings.co.uk - Indian miniature painting: Yama Loka: The Realm of Yama (King of Death). Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercour with gold on wasli. 14 x 18.9cm

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Yama Loka: The Realm of Yama (King of Death). Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercour with gold on wasli. 14 x 18.9cm

Garuda Purana details the Realm of Yama as told by Narayana. After death Hindus journey for a year to the realm where their life's deeds, good and bad, will be judged by its king, Yamaraja. The sinful suffer tortures and terrors while travelling toward the pestilent blood-filled Vaitarani river which those who performed righteous deeds are taken across by boat, while sinners must sink or swim the vast and pestilent waters. On reaching the banks of Yama Loka these sinners are apprehended by sentinels of Yama who aid the journey by means of torment and torture until arrival at the dreadful southern gates signifying they will enter as sinners into Yama Loka in readiness for Yama's judgement whether to what extent they are deserving of being sentenced to a period in many of its differently-hellish abodes. To the right of the picture are depicted some of the tortures being applied to those unfortunate souls consigned to these abodes, and in continuous narrative, Raja Yama here and there.

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Bibliography: Garuda Purana, B K Chaturvedi, India 2002, pp. 13-24

Images and text © Peter Blohm 2012