A photo is being shared on social media claiming it is a 1000-year-old sculpture depicting lord Varaha lifting the spherical-shaped earth on his tusk. The post claims that Hindu Vedic scriptures had discovered the shape of the earth hundreds of years before Galileo had concluded the shape of the earth was spherical. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Photo of a 1000-year-old sculpture depicting lord Varaha lifting the spherical-shaped earth on his tusk.
Fact: The photo shared in the post shows the lord Varaha sculpture carved inside the 8th century Chalukyas-built Durga temple in Aihole, Karnataka. The ancient sculpture depicts lord Varaha lifting the Shankha (conch) on its tusk and Bhudevi (represented as a female goddess) in one of his hands. The sculpture does not show lord Varaha lifting spherical-shaped earth on its tusk. Hence, the claim made in the post is False.
On reverse image search of the photo shared in the post, the same photo was found published on the ‘Wikimedia Commons’ website, with the description, “8th century Durga Surya temple Varaha avatar of Vishnu with Bhudevi, Aihole Hindu temples monuments”. The same photo was found published on the ‘Alamy’ and ‘iStock’ image-sharing websites by mentioning that the ancient sculpture was from the Durga temple at Aihole in Karnataka’s Bagalkote district. The temple was believed to be constructed by the Chalukya dynasty in the 8th century.
When we searched for further sources, we found a clearer image of the Varaha sculpture carved inside the Durga temple in Aihole. On observing the photo carefully, one could see that the carving depicts lord Varaha, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, lifting the Shankha (conch) on its tusk, and Bhudevi (represented as a female goddess) on one of his hands.
The carving of a female goddess on one of the hands of Varaha represents Bhudevi, a Hindu goddess symbolized as the personification of the earth. A modern sculpture built in the Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Balasore district can be seen here. A fact-check article published related to this modern Varaha sculpture in Odisha’s Shree Jagannath temple can be seen here. From all these pieces of evidence, it can be concluded that the sculpture in Aihole’s Durga temple does not depict lord Varaha lifting the spherical shaped-earth structure on its tusk.
To sum it up, the sculpture in Aihole Durga temple does not depict lord Varaha lifting the spherical-shaped earth on its tusk.