Varaha Temple Group, Chandpur Village, Lalitpur District, Uttar Pradesh

Chandpur – Jahajpura is revered by historians, archaeologists, architects and artists for its exemplary artefacts dating back to the 9th – 12th century. This heritage site is a fine example of the architectural, artistic and engineering prowess of the Chandelas. The east and north-west parts of this complex in particular have innumerable broken sculptures, architectural elements, carved panels and stones that adorned the ancient wells and temples and remnants of bathing ghats and halls.

 

This extensive complex has five groups of temples along with independent temples and ruined structures. One of the five groups is the Varaha Temple and adjoining shrines that is located on the edge of a tank.

 

This structure built in 1148 CE as per the inscription offers a panoramic view of the magnificent religious centre that stood once. This group had many temples within its premises but sadly only ruins are seen today.

 

Locals say that originally there were three large temples along with a few smaller temples which has also been confirmed by historians and archaeologists who uncovered plinths of these temples amidst the rubble.

 

Historical documents and journals have stated that this site was plundered repeatedly by successive Muslim invaders who ran away with cartloads of precious gems, jewels and crowns and even hauled away stones, pillars and sculptures for the construction of mosques.

 

The entire structure of the main Varaha Temple has collapsed and Lord Varaha sits alone on a raised platform exposed to the vagaries of the weather. The most striking feature of Lord 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 repetitive figures in yogic posture, gods and goddesses, jewel and bead embellishments in each tier, figures carved on the legs and the decorative elements on his feet, ears and forehead 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 created. The size and proportion of each figure in each tier is visually pleasing and harmonious.

 

A damaged column with an inscription is found among the debris. This temple is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

 

Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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