(Last Updated on : 16/09/2010)
Varaha cave temple is the greatest example of Indian rock-cut architecture, located in Mamallapuram, a tiny village south to Chennai in the state of TamilNadu. The temple was built during seventh century in the reign of Pallava dynasty. The temple is a cave temple built in a rock cut manner and the rocky walls of the granite hill is sculptured beautifully by the same technique. The place is now classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple is a good example of naturalistic Pallava art. This small monolithic rock-cut temple has a Mandapam built on seventh century. Inside the sidewalls have large sculptured panels depicting Vishnu as 'Varaha' or boar raising 'Bhudevi', the Earth Goddess from the ocean. This panel is known as 'Bhuvaraha Panel'. In the doors there are four pillars that have lions carved into the bases. Inside , in the rear wall the shrine of the temple is located which has 'Dwarpalas' or guardian figures on either side. There is also relic of 'Gajalaxmi' seated on lotus and bathed by elephants.
Durga with four arms and Vishnu's avatar Trivikrama overcoming the demon king Bali are the other glorious sculptures in Varaha Cave Temple. The portrayal and modeling technique of all these sculptures are perfect. In the cave temple of Varaha there is a scene in which devotee of Devi Durga offers up his head to the bloodthirsty goddess. This depicts a great contrast with the Varaha sculpture in mood and style.