Varaha Cave Temple Mahabalipuram

The Varaha Cave Temple is an exquisite gem of the ancient South Indian architecture. The rock-cut Hindu temple is located in the ancient city of Mahabalipuram. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site named "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram" located at Coromandel Coast in Tamil Nadu.

Varaha Cave Temple is one of greatest examples of Pallava art. The fine specimen of ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis or Indian rock-cut cave architecture, it is a marvelous sight. It was created during the reign of Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla (630 – 668 AD). The beautiful architectural style hints at the early stage in Dravidian architecture with many dominant elements of Buddhist design. The Varaha Cave Temple in this sense is one of the most primitive buildings in Mahabalipuram. An ancient testament to the rock-cut architecture.

The Varaha Cave Temple is a small shrine. At the entrance through mandapa, a beautiful verandah with two pillars and two semi-columns greets you. All four contain doorkeepers, figures of horned lions at the bases of columns. The entrance in the hall of temple is guarded by two gate keepers. Side walls inside the temple are adorned with four large sculpted panels.

The most important sculptural is Varaha, the avatar of Lord Vishnu, similar to wild boar. Varaha holds up his wife Bhūmī, mother earth in his trunks. He has saved her from Naga, the snake king. Another fascinating sculptrure shows Vishnu Trivikrama as a dwarf with one foot on earth, another in clouded sky and the third leg on tyrant Bali, pushing him to underworld. Next to Vishnu stand Brahma, Shiva, Sun and the moon. Another panel on the east shows goddess Lakshmi with two maidens and two elephants. The fourth panel shows goddess Durga standing on a lotus under umbrella.

This is the only cave temple in Mahabalipuram where worship is conducted daily in the mornings and evenings.

Entry Timings : 6.00 am to 6.00 pm

Entry Fee : INR 10 for Indian citizens; INR 250 for other, no fee for visitors below age 15.

No fee for still photography, INR 25 for videography.

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