The 500 AD temple of the Vishnu Dashavatar is in Deogarh,UP,India.
It was the first North Indian temple with a shikhara or tower, although the shikhara is curtailed and part of it has disappeared (details as to when the shikara disappeared are not reported). The temple has a high plinth and is set with a basement porch. The Dashavatara temple has a “compelling presence” in spite of its dilapidated condition.
The ancient treatise Vishnudharmottara Purana describes several temples including a “Sarvatobhadra temple”, which has been compared by archaeologists and Indologists with the Dashavatara Temple (Vishnu temple) or the Gupta Mandir of Deogarh. A comparative study revealed that the ideal temple design described in the treatise as “Sarvatobhadra temple” was the same as the Vishnu temple of Deogarh. This conclusion was based on plan, size, iconography and several other norms described for building Hindu temples.Based on this comparison, the structural details of the Deogarh temple have been inferred. Maps have also been drawn of the temple structure. The probable date of the temple’s construction has been estimated to be between 450 and 650. During this period, the temple was highly venerated.
In the unique and large sculpture of Sheshashayi Vishnu, Vishnu is depicted reclining on the serpent Shesha, with four-arms lying down on the spiral of a serpent with seven hoods, forming a shade over his crowned head. Lakshmi (Vishnu’s consort), along with her two attendants, are at Vishnu’s feet. Other gods and celestials are seen watching this display. In another panel below this, two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, are getting ready to attack. They are shown to be repulsed by the four personified weapons or ayudhapurushas of Vishnu. According to another interpretation, the lower panel depicts the five Pandavas and their common wife Draupadi.
The relief on the doorway (Lalatabhimba in Sanskrit) of the temple depicts Vishnu seated on Shesha the serpent, with Lakshmi sitting down and caressing his feet, flanked by two incarnations of Vishnu: Narasimha (the man-lion form) on the right, and Vamana (the dwarf form) on the left.
The side and back walls of the temple depict carved panels related to several facets of Lord Vishnu’s life. On the northern wall, the elegantly carved panel shows “Gajendra Moksha”, which represents Vishnu coming to the rescue of the Gajendra (elephant). On the eastern side wall, a panel depicts a carved image of the sages Nara-Narayana. On the southern wall, Vishnu is depicted reclining on Shesha the serpent, relaxing or in a sleeping or creative mode. These depictions on the four walls (including entrance) of the temple, represent four facets of Vishnu:
the entrance represents Vasudeva; the Gajendramoksha side is referred as Samkarshana, the destructive aspect[disambiguation needed] of Vishnu; the Nara-Narayana side is known as Pradyumna, the preserving aspect of Vishnu; and the Anantashayana side is known as Aniruddha.
Another unique sculpture found in the Vishnu temple depicts the Krishna legend in which Devaki hands over her new-born son Krishna to her husband Vasudeva. This sculpture is said to be one of the best depictions of Gupta period art, based on the sensuous and graceful modelling of the figurines, but different in that its clothes are shown draped in an exclusive fashion. It is now housed at the National Museum in New Delhi.