A sleepy yet picturesque riverside village, Tala or Talegaon is the site of the twin Devrani-Jethani temples. Not much remains of these ancient structures except for flashes of sculptural brilliance that make a trip here worthwhile. Of particular note is the inscrutable 2.7m-high statue called Rudrashiva. At first glance it to like a depiction of a somewhat grotesque man. But look closely and you will see that his corpulent form is an amalgamation of various animal carvings.
Encaged to the bottom left of the Devrani temple entrance, Tala’s famous Rudrashiva statue is considered by many to be the aghori avatar of Shiva. Gaze at the burly figure and try to identify the different creatures that combine to form his anatomy. Coiled snakes make up the turban, a lizard the nose and eyebrows, a crab forms its lips and chin, fish the moustache, peacocks the ears — and that’s just the face. Human heads replace the torso, stomach and thighs, crocodiles the arms; a tortoise and bells stand in for his genitalia and lion faces make up the knee caps.