Khajuraho – Varaha Temple


Directly in front of the Lakshmana Temple facing east, the Varaha Temple will be the first monument you come to in the Western Group at Khajuraho, assuming you tour the complex in a clockwise fashion.

The Varaha Temple is in fact one of the oldest temples in the compound, believed to have been constructed around 900 – 925 A.D. Who instigated its construction remains unclear, some think it may have been the Chandella king Yashovarman, in order to celebrate his victory over his Pratihara overlord.

The shrine consists of an oblong pavilion with a pyramidal roof of receding tiers resting on fourteen plain pillars. The flat ceiling is carved with a lotus flower, often seen in the hand of the God Vishnu.



Within the shrine is a superb highly polished freestanding sandstone carving of the boar Varaha, the third of Vishnu’s ten avatars. This massive boar, over 2.5m in length, was carved out of a single piece of rock, and is very similar to the Varaha that can be seen at Eran.

Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar’s head on a man’s body. A fantastic early example of the latter can be found at Udayagiri Caves.



On the surface of the boar are 675 miniature figures, carved in twelve neat rows. These figures represent many of the important Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, in part because the boar itself embodies all beings.




The carving also at one point included the image of the Earth Goddess, but today all that remains are her feet on the pedestal below along with a penitent serpent.


The first Englishman to see and report on the Varaha in 1838, Captain T. S. Burt, attempted to locate the broken image of the Earth Goddess, but it had long since disappeared.


Group Khajuraho Monuments
Western Lakshmana Varaha Kandariya Mahadeva Mahadeva Shrine ♦ Jagadambi Chitragupta Parvati Vishvanatha Nandi Pratapeshwar Bhairava Statue MatangeshvaraChausath YoginiLalguan Mahadeva Chopra Tank
Eastern Hanuman  Brahma  Vamana  Javari  Ghantai  Adinatha  Parshvanatha  Shantinatha
Southern Duladeo  Chaturbhuj Bijamandal




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7 replies »

  1. Love, love, love the temples and carvings in India. I love to imagine what happened to parts of it, where and when, like the image of the goddess. Is she sitting in someone’s house right now, in a museum or has she been lost under several feet of earth, just stone’s throw from this temple? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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