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Tour Destinations In Karnataka - Badami

Earlier History | Culture of Karnataka | Facts & Figures | Beaches in Karnataka | Cuisines | Festivals | Around Karnataka

Badami saw a succession of rulers of which the Chalukyas were only the most important. There is architecture and sculpture here from periods ranging as far back as the 7th century AD Pallava rule to as recently as the 19th century Marathas. Badami was the capital of the early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I(535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas.

Badami is famous for its four cave temples - all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.Legend has it there were two demon siblings Vatapi and Ilvala, who had a trick by which they could kill and make a meal of mendicants

passing by. Their tricks worked until Agastya muni came by and counter-tricked them and brought an end to Vatapi's life. Two of the hills in Badami are supposed to represent the demons Ilvalan and Vatapi.
The oldest, Cave 1, has stunning carvings of Shiva in his Nataraja avatar, dancing the apocalyptic tandava. There are also carvings of the god in the Ardhanarishvara form where he is depicted as half man-half woman, the woman half representing his wife Parvati. Yet another carving is of Harihara, the right half of this figure depicts Shiva - the Destroyer and the left, Vishnu - the Preserver. Caves 2 and 3 are dedicated entirely to Vishnu, whereas Cave 4 is has an image of the Jain tirthankara, Adinath.

The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Places of Interest

Cave Temple 1
The first temple dating back to the 5th century CE has gigantic carvings of Ardhanareeswara and Harira manifestations of Shiva in bas relief. It enshrines a Shivalingam. In the adjacent wall there is a carving of the cosmic dance of Shiva Nataraja depicted with eighteen arms. There are also reliefs of Ganapati, Shanmukha and Mahishasuramardhini, and may be the oldest in Badami. It is made of red sandstone and has a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall.

Cave Temple 2
The second temple bears images of Vishnu in his Varaha and Trivikrama incarnations. It is reached through a flight of 64 stairs from the first one. On its celing, are carvings of Vishnu on Garuda and several other scenes from the puranas.

Cave Temple 3
The third rock cut temple is reached from the 2nd temple through a flight of 60 steps. It is a 100 feet dep cave, with inscriptions dating this Vishnu temple to 578 CE during, the period of Kiritivarma Chalukya. Here there are carved

images of the Narasimha and Trivikrama avataras of Vishnu. There are also murals depicting the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvati.

Cave Temple 4

Cave temple 4 relates to 6th century Jainism. There is a carving of the Tirthankara Parshavnatha (with a serpent at his feet). Mahavira is depicted in a sitting posture. The archaeological museum of Badami has Nandi, Lord Shiva's bull, at its entrance. This museum is closed on Fridays. It houses superb examples of local sculptures, including the remarkable Lajja-Gauri images of fertility cult, which flourished in the era.

Badami Fort
Perched on top of the hill is the fort with the Upper and Lower Shivalayas. The Upper Shivalaya, built by Pulakesan II, a devotee of Lord Vishnu is marked by sculpted tales from mythology on its outer walls. Look for the lion and elephant heads atop the temple steps. The Lower Shivalaya was raised to Lord Ganesh. To its north a 16th century cannon looks down on the township. The watchtower, a little further on, is believed to date to the 14th century.
Bhuthanatha temple Stroll along the edge of the serene lake to explore these two temples, one flanking the north and the other to its northeast. Raised to Lord Shiva as the lord of the five elements (bhuthaas) the temples was constructed in 5th century

Fairs & Festivals
A number of annual temple festivals are held in towns near Badami. The annual temple festival, held at Banashankari, in the month of January-February is worth visiting; so are the Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and Mallikarjuna Temple Festival held in Pattadakal during March-April.

How to Reach

ByAir: The nearest airport is at Belgaum, 192 km away.

By Rail: It takes four hours to get to Badami by the Guntakal Express from Hampi. The other trains take a little longer for this journey as it involves a change at the Gadag station. Tangas and autorickshaws ply from the station to the town.

By Road: Badami is connected by road to Pattadakal (22 kms), Aihole (44 kms) and Hubli (110 kms). Karnataka State Transport Corporation buses ply from Badami to different major locations of the state.

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