Badami Cave – 3: Varahavatara

Sculptural relief depicting the story of Varahavatara carved in Cave - 3 of the Badami Caves in Karnataka, India

Sculptural relief depicting the story of Varahavatara carved in Cave – 3 of the Badami Caves

Varahavatara
The image shows a large-size relief depicting the story of Varahvatara carved on the wall perpendicular to the left sidewall of the mukhamantapa (verandah) of Cave – 3, the third of the four rock-cut cave temples of Badami in Karnataka, India.

Varahavatara is the third of the ten avatars of Vishnu of Vishnu. Varaha in Sanskrit means wild boar. In this avatar, he assumes the form of a wild boar and rescues Bhudevi (Mother Earth) from an evil demon named Hiranyaksha, who was tormenting her. As you can see from the image, Vishnu as Varaha is lifting Bhudevi while Hiranyaksha lay dying on the ground killed by Vishnu.

The story of Varahavatara is a popular theme in both Chalukya and Holysals temples. Both the Chennakeshava and the Holysaleshvara temples have several reliefs carved on their walls. Cave – 2 of the Badami caves also has the Varahavatara relief carved on its wall.

Copyright © 2019 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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