the centre of its front, however, there rises a masterpiece of wood-carvings, still most
impressive despite its present deplorable condition: a richly carved entrance frame on
which rests a three- storeyed pediment, in its turn crowned by a triangular gable. The
seated figure in the arch is not Kali, as supposed by Cunning- ham, but Surya the,
sun-god, as is evident from the position of the legs. His twelve arms, holding, various
attributes, are presumably indicative of the twelve months of the year.
Inside, there is a rectangular mandapa supported by four pillars
interlinked by railing on both sides. And behind the mandapa there opens the quadratic
cella, again with a richly carved entrancebetween other two pillars, enshrining the brass
(ashtadhatu) statue of Lakshana Devi. It is not easy to describe the facade of the temple;
for the snow and rain of thirteen centuries have utterly corroded even the resistant
deodar wood, so that only the stronger fibres of the carved surface remain.
Thus, from some distance the figures, deeply craved, appear
quite distinct, but if one approaches in order to study the details, the definition
becomes more and more indistinct. For an exact explanation of Indian religious images the
identification, of their costumes, hair style, crowns and various emblems is necessary,
but only an approximate explanation of the decoration is now possible.
In its general layout the temple entrance follows the
average pattern of the later Gupta temple, such as, in the Himalaya, still survives in
the, much later, wooden temples of Kulu. It consists of a sequence of alternating
ornamental and figural frames, successive receding from the enclosing wall to the deep
niches of the door proper.