Eastern Temples Group

Khajuraho – Vamana Temple


Just 200m north-east beyond the so-called Brahma Temple, this temple is dedicated to Vamana, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This is the first incarnation where Vishnu came in a full human form, as a dwarf Brahmin.

(click on the smaller images to view full-size)

The temple plan is known as sapta-ratha (seven projections), consisting of a sanctum, vestibule, maha mandapa, lateral transepts and an entrance porch (now missing, only the plinth survives). Unlike some of the larger temples at Khajuraho, there is no ambulatory.

The Vamana Temple has some of the finest carvings that can be found anywhere in Khajuraho.



There is very little sexual imagery here, instead we have perhaps a little more in the way of sculpture depicting women applying makeup, and the classic Khajuraho pose of women extracting thorns from their feet.

Notice how none of the women depicted on the temple walls have their hair done in the form of a knot ? This is known as dhammilla, which can be seen extensively at other temples in Khajuraho such as the Kandariya Mahadeva. This helps date the monument, along with other architectural details, to around 1050 – 1075 A.D.

Inside there are more fine carvings, the chubby icon of the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu is especially appealing. With broad hips and sporting an unusual headdress, Vamana’s features appear almost East Asian.



Legend says that Vamana came to earth to give the authority of the celestial world back to Lord Indra (King of Heaven), after Asura king Bali (a demon) took over the control of all the three worlds; Swarg (heaven), Bhulok (earth) and Pataal lok (underworld).


Not many temples in India are dedicated to Vamana, but in Khajuraho he appears to have been the center of major worship. A recently excavated brick complex to the north of the Vamana Temple has uncovered a significant number of exquisite statues of Vamana.

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



You’re welcome to ‘Like’ or add a comment if you enjoyed this blog post. If you’d like to be notified of any new content, why not sign up by clicking the ‘Follow’ button.

If you’re interested in using any of my photography or articles please get in touch. I’m also available for any freelance work worldwide, my duffel bag is always packed ready to go…


1 reply »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s