The image shows a large-size relief depicting the story of Varahavatara 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 Hoysala temples. The Chennakeshava and the Hoysaleshvara temples in Belur have several Varahavatara reliefs carved on their outer walls. Cave – 2 of the Badami caves also has the Varahavatara relief carved on its wall.
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