Mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu, late 5th century. Learn more about 5th century masks
Meaning “nine planets” in Sanskrit, it is a grouping of astronomical bodies and their nine associated deities in Hinduism. These deities also find mention in Jaina texts, where they are included as Jyotiska Devas (“heavenly beings”). The nine deities are Ravi (Sun), Soma or Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu (the ascending node of the Moon) and Ketu (the descending node of the Moon). They may be carved onto architectural elements, such as the doorways or niches of a temple, or may be worshipped in a separate shrine within the temple complex.