Another lesser-known sculptural gem of the Chandelas in the temple complex of Dudhai village is the pair of Varahas crafted in the 10th to 11th century. The larger Varaha is seated near the Larger and Lesser Surang Temples while the smaller one popularly known as Bachcha is near the lake.
The larger Varaha sits majestically on a high platform with a stone in front of it that has a serpent carved on it. The most striking feature of this Varaha is the intricate carvings on his back that are nothing short of spectacular. Great attention to detail has been paid to each and every aspect of the adornment.
The figures in yogic posture, gods and goddesses, Dashavatara, jewel and bead embellishments, figures mounted on the sides and the decorative elements on his feet and forehead in each tier have been painstakingly made using only a chisel and hammer! Though some of the details are unclear today, it is evident that this Varaha was an impressive piece of art when originally placed.
The smaller Varaha is equally embellished with repetitive motifs on his back, legs, neck and forehead. The size and proportion of each figure in each tier is visually pleasing and harmonious. There are single figures in yogic posture on his snout. An enchanting shankha, chakra, aṅkuśa and a foliage pattern are seen on the stone below the Varaha.
The facial expression, dress and ornaments in each figure is testimony to the mastery of the artisans and the Chandelas. Dudhai village should be promoted as a heritage spot as a sizeable number of temples and structures that were razed to the ground and burnt by the desert barbarian Akbar are still buried in the thick forest area around this village.
This is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)