Varaha Cave Temple - The Rock-Cut Hindu Temple

The Varaha Cave Temple is the best example of the ancient South Indian architecture. This is a rock-cut Hindu temple is located in the ancient city of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The cave reflects a transitional style of architecture in its columns mounted on seated lions and frescoes carved on the walls inside the cave which evolved during the rule of Pallava kings Mahendra Varman I and Rajasimha or Narasimhavarman I known as Mamalla. 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 prominent sculpture in the cave is that of the Hindu god Vishnu in the incarnated form of a Varaha or boar lifting Bhudevi, the mother earth goddess from the sea. 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. 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.
The Gajalakshmi panel is on the rear wall which represents Gajalakshmi, an aspect of Lakshmi - the goddess of prosperity. The religious significance of Gajalakshmi is well brought out in the panel. She is shown with her hand holding lotus flowers, fawned by four attendants, and carved in "perfect beauty and gracious countenance". The Durga panel, also on the rear wall, is indicative of victory over ignorance. The Trivikrama panel depicts Vishnu as the Lord of the three worlds. Another strikingly impressive panel is of Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura who is in an anthropomorphic form of a human with a buffalo head, the scene is reminiscent of a battle between good and evil forces.
Varaha Cave Temple is located on the hills of Mahabalipuram town, 4 kilometres to the north of the main Mahabalipurm sites of rathas and Shore Temple. It is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean. It is approximately 58 kilometres from Chennai city and about 32 kilometres from Chingelpet.
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.

South India Heritage Tour

Duration : 16 Days - 15 Nights
Destination Covered :

Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Gangai Kondacholapuram - Darasuram - Swamimalai - Karaikudi - Dindigul - Madurai - Kovalam - Kumarakom - Cochin

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Beach Vacations

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Duration : 13 Days - 12 Nights
Destination Covered :

Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Tiruchirappalli - Tanjore - Madurai - Thekkady - Periyar - Kumarakom - Trivandrum - Kovalam

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