At the time of the Samudra-Manthana, from the depths of the ocean emerged a potent emanation and manifestation of the curing and protective powers of the Supreme Lord, called Dhanavantari. Blue-skinned and holding a conch and discus in his secondary limbs, Dhanvantari is undistinguished from Vishnu, other than the unique attributes held in his primary hands- a pot of Amrita and a Leech. Both Amrita and Leech (which in traditional medicine technique is used to suck out the "dirty" blood) represent regenerative powers, due to which Dhanavantari is a powerful god revered in Hinduism and Ayurveda. In this exquisite Tanjore painting, Dhanvantari sits on a regal throne, beautifully ornamented, under an ornate structure formed like the Dravidian shrines. A rich use of gold in the composition lends it a divine aura, which is amplified by the enlivened face of Lord Dhanavantari, imparting boons of long life and health to those who evoke him in this benevolent form.
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