At a glimpse :
Location : Bagalkot district, North Karnataka, India.
Place : Badami town.
Main significance : Badami Cave Temples.
Established by : Kingdom of Chalukya.
Constructed in : 6th and 7th Century.
Badami town was the previous capital city of Chalukya Empire located in the southern part of India. The Chalukyas dynasty is credited for their wonderful work of creating new styles of architecture that can be seen in these holy shrines. The entire four temples here are embellished with amazing architecture and striking figures of god and goddess. Within the premises of this place, there is also the most popular Archaeological Museum which is build by archaeological study of India. In this museum it displays some spectacular sculptures, such as the images of Lajja-Gauri, which increased in the period.
Badami town is located in the Northern part of Karnataka, earlier it was the capital city of the Chalukyas. It is the most prominent tourist attractions for tourist who are fond of historical and architectural sites. This place is marked popular for its striking engraved cave temples, Museme, artificial lake, and stunning rock cut cliff with the red sandstone hillocks. All these attractions in this enchanting place were built mainly during the 6th and 7th Centuries. The Badami caves temples are picturesquely located at the jaws of a narrow valley that lies between the two steep rocky hills. There are total four beautiful cave temples that are hewn out of the soft sandstone located on the very steep cliffs of a hill.
All these temples showcase the wide range of tradition and religious sects that are evolved in India. By overlooking these temples there is a reservoir which is enhanced in dotted pattern with its holy shrines. Among the entire four, two are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and one to Lord Shiva, while the fourth one is devoted as a Jain temple. From all four, the first three are the part of Vedic faith. The fourth and also the natural cave are devoted as a Buddhist temple in the whole Badami city.
In this sacred place, there are also some of the marvelous carvings of Hindu gods and goddess. Narasimha, was half-man and half Lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu Hari Hara. He was the composite deity who is partly-Vishnu and half-Shiva. Lord Vishnu Narayana was placed in a sitting posture also leaning back on the snake known as ‘Shesh’ or ‘Ananta’ (Infinity). While roaming in the Badami Caves Temple, visitors can spot some of the marvelous murals that are painted on the ceiling and amazing bracket designs on the wharf.
Badami, one of the towns closely connected with the great ancient empire of Chalukyas, in the earlier period from 600 to 700 A.D. During this era, the great Chalukayas dynasty constructed several temples, and a number of monuments that marked as a start of Hindu architectural style. This innovative style was the mixture of two different architectures; one is Indo-Aryan Nagara style and other is Dravidian style. This style was identified as the Chalukyan style and is one of the examples showcased in the various cave temples that are devoted to Brahmanical divinity. Some of the Badami cave temples also belong to the Jain and Buddhist religious residence in this region.
In the medieval stage, Badami town was ruled by great Adil Shahi, who was the ruler of Marathas and Bijapur. Finally, the township of Badami was taken over by the British government, who survived a part of pervious Bombay Presidency. In Karnataka, this region was established in the earlier period of 540 A.D. by the great Pulikesi I, who served Badami as the capital city of Chalukyas kingdom. Originally, the Chalukyas governed nearly the whole of Karnataka, before the rule of Rashtrakutas. These four temples note the appearance of Chalukya style through these architectural temples, which are the combination of the Southern Indian Dravidian style and Northern Indian Nagara style.
Badami is well renowned for its four amazing cave temples that are all carved out from the sand stone on the very steep cliffs of a red small hill. The architectural style of Chalukyan is the best example which is displayed in cave temples of Badami City. All these four renowned temples are beautifully carved from the soft sandstone, which includes a holy shrine, erected pillars, an open verandah (porch), and, a vast hall. Due to the exquisite carvings and the sculptures that are made in the cave temples are worth to watch. Badami Township is also surrounded with a number of marvelously carved monuments and various other religious temples that are nestled on the banks of the basin.
Among all the pilgrimage centers and monuments, only these four freestanding rock cut stone holy shrines in Badami, is an illustration to the development of Chalukyan architectural style. In the town of Aiholr, the Ladhakh temple is another paradigm of showcasing the architectural work of Chalukaya. The next stage of growth is noticeable in Gowdaragudi temple, which is another complex structure made by him.
Among the numerous art of work that are discovered in these carving caves are the glorious eighteen armed Nataraja, the expression of powerful Lord Shiva set up in eighty one striking poses is a awesome sight that is craved out from rock stone. The architecture engraved in fourth cave is devoted as a Jain Temple in this Badami city gives an awe-inspiring view. Another major attraction you can see here is the 24th Tirthankara- Mahavira, which is placed in a uniquely comfortable seated posture, mainly against the cushion in the internal holy place. The religious temples of Nagamma are the local snake goddess, which resides within a huge tamarind tree and is another instance of this architecture.
The Badami cave temples are well planned and designed in the same architectural style including the massive veranda with brackets and columns that leads to the main hall. The pillared portico also known as the ‘maha mandapa’ leads to small religious place that is identified as an abode of various sculptures.
According to legend tales, it is said that in this place there were two devil siblings named as Ilvala and Vatapi. They usually made some or the trick to kill the beggars passing by and making their meal. Their efforts for making these tricks worked until the Agastya muni dropped in and also counter-tricked with them, later he tricked end the life of Vatapi. In Badami, there are two stunning hills are believed to be the two demons siblings known as Vatapi and Ilvalan.
The four carved cave temples symbolize the natural art work of the great rulers, and it represents some of the religious ritual and traditions that belongs to Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
First Cave :
The first cave is the most famous among all which was constructed in the year 578 A.D. that is carved out from the red sandstone. According to records from the archeologist, it is said that this cave was the first one to be carved rather than others.
The first cave temple at Badami city is devoted to powerful Lord Shiva. Visitors who hail from far away places have to climb around forty steps that lead to reach at this cave. This amazing cave represents Lord Shiva`s statue which is illustrated in his dancing style, similarly what the Nataraja portrays with his eighteen arms. The cave is adorned with beautiful different dancing postures of Nataraja that are not less than eighty one that is depicted here. This is the only first cave which contains massive carvings of Hari Hara and Ardhanareeswara appearance of Lord Shiva in low spiritual relief.
Apart from them, there are some of the other reprieves of Lord Ganapati, Mahishasuramardhini, and Shanmukha, which might be the oldest of all in Badami city. This initial cave was constructed from the red soft sandstone, which contains a massive hall with several erected pillars and also a square shaped holy place excavated in the supportive back wall.
The erected column beams present here are elegantly crafted and adds a glory to this religious place. Other main attraction of the first cave in this place is the paintings of adoring couples that is painted on the ceiling area.
Second Cave :
The second cave is rested on a stunning sandstone hill at Badami town. This carved cave temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu, who was the holy divinity of this magnificent cave apparent as a Trivikrama or dwarf. The religious deity is at the point of winning the Earth by keeping his one bare foot and governs the sky with another foot, and the third bare foot resting on Mahabali’s head. To reach this temple, one has to climb around sixty four stairs from the first cave. Inside the temple, the walls and the ceilings are adorned with depicts of Lord Vishnu as boar or ‘Varaha’ riding on his Garuda that are all bounded by beautiful vivid lotus flowers with sixteen amazing fishes. On the wall surface, some of the scenes from puranas are also engraved that attracts the tourist from all around the world.
Third Cave :
The third cave is accessible from the second temple at escalated stairs of around sixty steps. This temple is constructed from the rock cuts that flights from the second temple. It is the largest deep cave that measures around hundred feet with dedications dating Lord Vishnu holy shrine to period of 578 CE. It was mainly build during the era of the Kiritivarma Chalukya.
The religious temple is also devoted to mighty Lord Vishnu. In this place, he is embodied in different forms like the Vamana, as Trivikrama, the dwarf, and a vast creature measuring the whole world. He was also the avatar of Narasimha, the half man and half lion; and also the Varaha, picking up Goddess Mother Earth from the deep sea. While wandering in the third cave, visitors can also spot some of the wonderful statues of Lord Vishnu, but the most famous is the one where he is sitting on the deity of snakes (serpent) Adisesha.
Besides the serpent, this rock cut cave is decorated with various carvings of the images of Trivikrama and Narasimha, who were the avataras of Lord Vishnu. There are some of the amazing murals that represent the heavenly marriage of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. The masterwork of the sixth century seeks the attention of the visitors to hail here. The natural beauty and the carvings of the temple are marvelous that please the eyes of beholders.
Fourth Cave :
The fourth cave temple is linked to the sixth century of Jainism; it is devoted to Lord Mahavira in the earlier period of time. The sculpture of their deity is represented in a unique way where it is placed in a sitting posture. After constructing all three Badami cave temples, this was the last one of all that was established around hundred years ago. The holy shrine is adorned with beautiful carvings of Tirthankara Parshavnatha along with the snake at his bottom feet. This cave is devoted to Jain Thirthankaras, it lies towards the eastern part of the third cave.
One of the major attractions of the fourth cave is the rock cut carving of Lord Mahavira beautifully looking at the holy place besides the figure of Padmavathi and Thirthankaras. It also heads towards the south of Badami Fort that lies within the premises of Badami cave temple. After hiking for a few steps a long narrow depression is formed between the second and the third cave that leads to the fort. While strolling towards the marvelous fort, visitors can also spot the old gun at this spot, which was placed by Tipu Sultan. It is one of the alluring attractions and mesmerizing view to witness this cave in Badami city of Karnataka.
Other places of interest at Badami
Naganath Temple :
Located in the lush green forest en route to Mahakuta at a distance of ten kilometers, it is the most visited tourist destination in Badami town.
Among all the Chalukyan monuments and temples, Naganath Temple is one of the first holy shrines which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. This holy shrine is adorned with beautiful carvings that are valued to see while exploring in the state of Karnataka.
In the township of Badami, there are some of the remarkable temples that are built during the earlier period of Chalukya rule. It is located at a short distance of around forty six kilometers from the main Badami cave temple. The constructing took place during the 6th and 8th centuries.
Tranquil Lake :
Tranquil Lake is the most prominent tourist spot where you can have a glance at the natural beauty and other attractions. Explore in the nature and see the scenic view of the Badami region. Visitors can also take a deep dip in this pristine green Tranquil Lake. According to the legend tales, it is believed that water in the lake has healing properties that cures the skin problems or any other one. As per the popular stories, it is said that by drinking the water of this lake King Kushataraya was totally cured from his leprosy.
Archaeological Museum :
Within the area of the Badami cave temple, there is also another attractions which is worth to watch while exploring in this region. If you get a chance get a glimpse of the archaeological museum that contains a huge Nandi. The bull of Lord Shiva is placed at the entrance of the museum that attracts the holiday seekers. The archeological museum is open all days in a week except it is closed on Fridays. It is a house of various superb collection of Chalukaya from the earlier period of time. This museum is the idyllic examples of displaying local sculptures that are carved from rock cut; it includes the noteworthy Lajja-Gauri pictures of fertility cult, which was thrived in this period.
Agasthya Tirtha :
The Agasthya Tirtha is one of the beautiful lakes which are located at the bottom of the stunning hill that is a house for several cave temples. It is most renowned for its pristine water in this lake, which is believed to be containing great elements of healing powers.
Badami Fort :
In Karnataka, there are various ancient forts and palaces that are worth to watch while you are on tour to this state of India. The Badami fort is one of the most popular ancient palaces which are located at a short distance of two kilometers from main town. Moreover, other then the attractions like underground chamber and the huge granary, it resides the oldest Lord Shiva temples in this region known as ‘the Malegitti Shiva.’
The Badami fort rests on the peak of the small hill with the Lower and Upper Shivalayas. The Upper Shivalaya is originally constructed by Pulakesan II; who was a follower of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, he marked some of the mythological stories in the form of carving sculptures on the outer wall surface of this fort. The flight steps that reach to the top of the temples are ornamented with splendid sculptures of animals like elephants and lion that enhance this place. While the Lower Shivalaya is raised to Lord Ganesh. To the northern, you can spot a cannon from the 16th century that gives a panoramic view of this township. There is also a watchtower, which is nestled just a few miles from the Badami fort; it is believed that it belongs to the 14th century in the earlier period.
Fairs and Festivals celebrated in Badami :
In this region of Karnataka, a large number of fairs and festivals are held around the year. They are annually celebrated in the various temples at their venues that are held here. The most popular festival held at Badami town is at Banashankari, which is celebrated during the month of January and February. Visitors who want to experience one of their alluring and remarkable vacations make sure you visit this place during the time of festive season. It is one of the worth visiting places to known the culture and tradition of Badami region in Karnataka. The most famous and renowned festival held in this township is the ‘Mallikarjuna Temple Festival’ and ‘Virupaksha Temple Car Festival’ that is held in the Pattadakal during the month of March and April.