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Badami

Badami - The Destination

Badami

The ancient capital of the early Chalukya kingdom, Badami is well known for its rich history and ancient architecture. A number of richly carved monuments and caves belonging to Chalukyas, dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries are found here. The Chalukyas laid the foundation of a unique style of architecture, which is a fine blend of North Indian Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style of architecture. The architecture and sculptures formed in Badami during the time of the Chalukyas inspired later-day architectural and sculpting traditions.

Situated in North Karnataka near a red sandstone ridge, Badami was formerly known as Vatapi. It was founded by Pulkeshin I, the great lion king in AD 543, and remained their capital till AD 757. It was precisely during this period that Badami became a centre of rock-cut temples. These architectural splendors of Badami later influenced several new architectural and sculpting traditions.

Especially famous for its four caves, the first cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Climbing the 40 steps, you would reach the verandah with its row of pillars and a square shaped sanctum created in the back wall. It is here that you will see Shiva and his consort Parvati. Also watch out for the mage of Shiva as Natraja with 18 arms and in 81 dancing poses.   

Go up the sandstone hill and you will come across cave 2, which is dedicated to Vishnu. It is indeed a sight to see Vishnu depicted as a dwarf or Trivikrama of grand dimensions with one foot mastering the Earth and the other the sky. Another form of Vishnu portrayed here is in Varaha or as a boar. Then there is a frieze depicting Vishnu as Lord Krishna, Vishnu riding the Garnda & lotus surrounded by sixteen fishes.

The facade of the third cave is nearly 70 feet wide, and the sheer artistry and sculptural genius makes this cave the highlight of Deccani art. It gives a virtual insight into the art and culture of the 6th century like costumes, jewelry hairstyle lifestyle etc. The other attractions to be looked out for in this cave are the images of Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha (Vishnu as Man-Lion) Varaha, Harihara (Shiva Vishnu) and Vishnu as Trivikrama.


Finally, cave four is the lone Jain cave. Here one can see the carvings of the Tirthankara Parshavnatha with a serpent at his feet; Mahavira in a sitting posture also can be seen in the shrine. It also has a statue of Parshuanatha with two dvarapals (doorkeepers) at the entrance steps.

Badami is a fascinating place to visit in Karnataka what with its artificial lake, ancient temples, Museum and Hindu and Jain caves carved in the Sandstone hills. The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu.

Badami Facts at a Glance

State : Karnataka
Area : 10.3 sq km
Altitude : 77 mts
Temperature : 38°C - 23°C (Summers)
29°C - 15°C (Winters)
Language : Kannada, English
Best Season : October-February

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