Lord Indra is the most popular Vedic deity, having thousands of hymns dedicated to Him in the Rigveda (a text dated 2,000 BC) and a large number of Pauranic stories narrating His valour. He is the supreme Aryan king, of a roopa the colour of marble, set off by a mass of jet black curls spreading about His pristine shoulders. He is seated in His characteristic ardha-padmasana amidst the lush Himalayan landscape on a mountaintop. Beneath Him is a lotus pedestal with multi-hued petals and a red-and-gold velvet back. A bejewelled gold crown with a delicate pink lotus on the brow holds His hair in place. The same is complemented by the rest of the shringar and silks that clothe His divine being.
Every square inch of this thangka comprises of the gorgeous colours and motifs that are to be found in these traditional paintings. Flowers of ethereal shapes and tints grace the religious flora. The leaves have a distinctive shape, so do the clouds and the canopies. The foreground features a series of hills and shrubbery in romantic pastels and a stream of thick Himalayan snowmelt making its way to us mortals down below. A fire-spewing dragon is at the Lord's side, a popular motif in art that belongs to this part of the world. It has a long serpentine body, a vicious set of teeth, and fire in place of brows and whiskers. It is a stark contrast to the calm exuded by the deva by its side.