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Salabhanjika is a stone sculpture in the shape of a woman holding a lamp set in place as a sacred guard to the deity. In South India, many temples have Salabhanjika. However, this Salabhanjika is no ordinary stone. The poet opines the existence of Ahalya in it. Salabhanjika is a choreography inspired by the story of Ahalya, a Hindu epic Ramayana character who was turned into a stone by the curse of her husband, sage Goutama and later freed by Lord Rama.

This choreography is not a mere retelling of the story of Ahalya but a portrayal of a bereaved feminine personality, the varied shades of conflict, pain, ephemeral happiness, dreams and aspirations. Both external and internal levels of existence of the human being are explored in this theme. In this choreography, a sculptor searches for an ideal stone to make a Salabhanjika and finds this stone in a dense forest where Ahalya has been lying dormant. The sculptor works tirelessly on the stone imparting all the grace of the feminine ideal, touching every bit of the evolving feminine shape, and enjoying the emanating beauty created in a captivating sculpture. The split personality within the sculpture branches out into Ahalya and Salabhanjika.
The physical and mental intimacy between the sculptor and Salabhanjika becomes a mutual possession. Salabhanjika, the outer self of the sculpture, yearns for union with the sculptor and dreams of happiness, however fleeting it might be. Ahalya, the inner self, the bereaved spirit, feels shades of pain and awaits salvation that Rama will bring- a contrast of worldly desire and spiritual divinity.
Every human being is bound to undergo a temporary transformation in the great drama of life. Nevertheless, even while the transformation continues, he is the same personality in the inner recesses of his existence. Ahalya’s waiting for Rama, for her salvation, symbolizes the liberation from all bondages that is the ultimate truth of human existence.
Pallavi Krishnan, a leading exponent of Mohiniyattam in the national and international performance circuit, is acclaimed for her versatility as a performer, choreographer, and trainer. Initially, Pallavi earned her training in Kathakali and Mohiniyattam under Guru Kalamandalam Sankaranarayanan at Santiniketan.

Pallavi Krishnan
Artistic Director.
Lasya Akademi of Mohiniyattam
Charulata, 16th Street, Hari Nagar.
Thrissur – 680 002.
Kerala ,INDIA.

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