Two versions of the same story, or are they, a comparison of two special depictions of Varaha ( boar) incarnations – mallai and Udayagiri

One of the favorite depictions of the Indian sculptor was the act of saving the earth ( lady earth…booma devi) by Lord Vishnu – who takes the form of a boar. There are many different depictions of this but to see the beauty of the sculpture and the delicate interplay of sculpture with literature is seen in these two forms…

what started off as comparison between the varaha images in udayagiri n
mallai lead to this post . Was always fascinated by so many depictions of this scene n had
wrongly surmised that canons for such sculpture was not existent then.


For eg, u hv already seen the mallai explanation when the lord is lovingly embracing mother earth

( ok he is lovingly nuzzling her)….


but in udayagiri she is shown as dangling from his tusks……The mallai sculpture brings out the delicate emotions as the lord gently lays down the earth on his lap….( ok this image needs a seperate post by itself)


It was only after i read Andaal’s verses that I realised both were
correct……just that they were two acts of the same story

Aandaal had ….. Fallen in love with the lord n composed some of the most divinely inspired verses on the Lord …of her love to him

She sings thus…. The lord who sleeps in srirangam n stands in
tirupathy who took the form of the shameless boar having dug up the
earth from the deep depths … Seeing her beauty just swallows her up
( like a boar would do witha tuber he found) but immdly realises his
folly spits her out….n seeing her disheveled beauty embraces her in
his broad shoulders…… N then continues that he wears the victory
garland vyjayanthi mala for the feat of restoring the earth.

Now if u look at the pictures… Udayagiri is the first act n mallai the next.

4 thoughts on “Two versions of the same story, or are they, a comparison of two special depictions of Varaha ( boar) incarnations – mallai and Udayagiri

  1. கடல் மல்லையில் உள்ள வராக மூர்த்தி ஞான பிரான் வலது தொடையில் பூமாதேவியை வைத்துக் கொண்டு அவருக்கு சரம ஸ்லோகத்தை உபசரிக்கும் கோலம்.

    கடல் மல்லைக்கு அருகில் உள்ள திருவிடந்தையில் கோவில் கொண்டுள்ளதும் வராகப்பெருமானின் இதே கோலம்தான் ஆயினும் இடத்தொடையில் பூமாதேவியை தாங்கிய கோலம்.

  2. எங்களுடன் பகிர்ந்தமைக்கு மிக்க நன்றி முருகானந்தம். படங்கள் இருந்தால் எங்களுடன் பகிருங்களேன்


  3. Ah Vijay

    Again peach of information from you in mentioning about the Udayagiri sculpture pre-dating the Mallai Varaha. Just look at the clarity of expression and the completeness of Udayagiri… Surely, not for nothing the period of the Guptas (who no doubt sculpted Udayagiri Varaha) was known as the golden period of Indian history… they built around an equal number of themes for Vishnu and Buddha plus they have left behind very famous sculptures of Lord Shiva with three faces as the Trimurti… these were later adapted or inspired at Ajanta / Ellora also.

    One also cannot take one’s eyes away from the naga lying and praying at the feet of Varaha.

    I think I mentioned elsehwere to Kathie about our mind boggling about very ancient sculptures of the Pallavas… The Udayagiri sculpture (without taking anything away from the Mallai Varaha which is so beautiful, graceful and flowing… the grace of Bhooma is very languid to say the least and is hence very eye catching) is full of vigour, valour just as you explained in the text… only a fool will disagree with the observations… Splendid one would say.

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