Varaha Temple. Temple in India, Asia

Varaha Temple

Temple in India, Asia

Varaha temple Photo © lionel.viroulaud

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Varaha Temple

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Varaha temple - Varaha Temple
Varaha temple - Varaha Temple. Photo by lionel.viroulaud
The Varaha Temple at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, India is one of the prominent temples among the Khajuraho group of temples. It is among the Western group of temples among which are the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Lakshmana Temple, and the Devi Jagadambi Temple (Wikipedia Article). The Varaha Temple, one of the first you see upon entering the compound, is dedicated to the third avtar (manifestation of a divine being on earth) of Lord Vishnu, Vrahra, or Boar.


The gate keepers of Lord Vishnu’s heavenly abode were cursed by sages for insulting them. Vaikuntha, one of the gate keepers was born on Earth as the demon, Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha did great penance, and Brahma, the God of creation was pleased to grant him a boon. By virtue of the boon, Hiranyaksha could not be killed by neither man nor animal. With his new prowess, Hiranyaksha grew adamant, kidnapped Bhudevi (Wikipedia
	Article) (the personification of Mother Earth) and took her to the depths of the cosmic ocean.

Lord Vishnu, realizing that the boar was one of the animals that Hiranyaksha failed to list when seeking the boon of immunity from Lord Brahma, manifests himself into the form of a boar, Varaha, to rescue Bhudevi. Varaha grew to an enormous size. The ensuing battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted a thousand years. At the end of the battle, a victorious Varaha sle Hiranyaksha carried Bhudevi between his tusks and restored her to her rightful place. He subsequently married her.


The Khajuraho temples were mostly built during the reign of the Chandela (Wikipedia Article) Rajputs from 950 AD to 1150 AD. Only 22 of the 85 temples believed to have been built then have survived, The Varaha Temple is one of them. Because of their historical importance, and excellent architecture depicting the culture of the times, UNESCO declared the whole group of temples as a World Heritage Site in 1986. The temples are now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The Varaha Temple is believed to have been built in 950, during the reign of Yashovarman, also known as Lakshavarman. The king is also believed to have built the Lakshmana Temple. In the later years, the Muslim invaders went on a spree of destroying any temples that crossed their path. The temples of Khajuraho were probably saved because of their remoteness. Muslim rulers enjoyed control of the region for at least five centuries after the thirteenth century and the Khajuraho temples were neglected. They were covered with vegetation until they were rediscovered by T. S. Burt, a British army surveyor in the 1830s.


The small and modest Varaha Temple is built on an almost two-and-a-half-meter-high plinth. Oblong in shape, the pyramidal roof is supported by fourteen stone pillars. The shikara (crowning roof) is built of receding tiers in the shape of a pyramid. When seen from the inside, the ceiling is carved with beautiful lotus, the symbol of Lord Vishnu.

The temple is built entirely from red sandstone and houses a colossal monolithic sculpture of Varaha, the Boar. All over the body of the boar are carved images of various Hindu deities. The sculpture is 2.6 meters long and 1.7 meters high. Sculpted on the snout, between the nose and the mouth, is a figure of Goddess Saraswati (Wikipedia Article) with a veena (a seven stringed instrument) in her arms. As with most other temples in Khajuraho, the temple is built of stone without the use of mortar.

Visiting Khajuraho

Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The erotic sculptures in the temples, some of them explicit and shocking, are widely publicized.

Khajuraho is 630 kilometers south-east of Delhi and 175 kilometers away from the nearest large city, Jhansi. Nevertheless, it is well-connected by road to the nearest cities. An airport, five kilometers out of the village, connects it with Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, and Ahmedabad. There is a railway station that is connected by railroad to the major cities in India.

Khajuraho is best visited in the months between November and March, when the temperature hovers in the mid-twenties. Between April and June, Khajuraho can be hot and sultry. The onset of monsoons at the beginning of July renders the place wet, but transforms the countryside into lush green and is a beautiful sight, though humid.

The temples are open to visitors from 8AM to 6PM. The entry fee for Indian visitors is ₨ 10 ($0.16), while foreigners will have to pay a fee of $ 10 USD in equivalent value in Indian rupees. Sound and light shows are conducted daily in English at 6.30PM to 7.25PM. There is a show in Hindi thereafter. Entry fees for the shows are ₨ 75 ($1.20) for an Indian adult and ₨ 25 ($0.40) for a child, whereas a foreign adult will have to pay ₨ 300 ($4.80) and a child ₨ 150 ($2.40).

Other Places of Interest

Along with some prominent Hindu temples, there are some Jain temples too. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, the Lakshmana Temple, the Chitragupta Temple and the Vishwanatha Temple are in the Western Group of temples. The Chatrabhuj Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the Duladeo Temple are in the Southern group. Among the temples of the Jain school are Parshvnath Temple and the Adinatha Temple. The prominent Hindu temples in the Eastern group are the Brahma Temple and Vamana Temple.

Close to the Khajuraho village are the Raneh Falls, Ken Nature Trail, Panna National Park, Pandava Falls, and the Benisagar Lake. The holy city of Varanasi and the Gwalior Fort are located within a radius of 300 kilometers from Khajuraho.

Places to stay at

A visitor to Khajuraho will get to enjoy the atmosphere of a serene Indian village and yet enjoy the comfort of luxurious accommodation. Hotels like the
Isabel Palace, Hotel Surya, and Hotel Harmony will cater to the budget traveler while the Taj Hotel Chandela and the Radisson Jass* will accommodate those seeking luxurious comfort.

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Author: jackmartis. Last updated: Jan 10, 2015


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