Badami Cave Temples

Saivam and Vainavam

 

Overview

Badami Cave Temple, located on top of a hill that stands at a distance of about 2 km from the main town of Badami in the  Bagalkot district of North Karnataka, Badami was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty that ruled over the most parts of peninsular India. It is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. Its all four cave temples all hewn out of sandstone on the precipice of a hill.
 
It is beautiful carved cave temples, artificial lake , Museme & rock-cut into the cliff face of a red sandstone hill, of the 6th & 7th Centuries.
 
The cave temples of Badami which date back to 600 and 700 A.D. are carved out of sandstone hills. Each has a sanctum, a hall, an open verandah and pillars. What makes these cave temples remarkable, are the large number of exquisite carvings and sculptures. The town encompasses a number of carved monuments and caves of the Chalukyas that is a blend of Indian Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style of architecture. There are many beautiful murals as well. The free standing stone temples in Badami, provide enlightening information about the development of the Chalukyan style of architecture, as many seem to have been experimental constructions. The early temples appear to be like large court halls to which shrines were attached. The Ladkhan temple at Aihole belongs to this early phase. The next phase of development is visible in the Gowdaragudi temple which is a more complex structure.One of the many masterpieces to be found in these caves is the famous, 18-armed Nataraja  who if observed closely, strikes 81 poses. Cave 4, the last cave, is the only Jain Temple in Badami. The 24th Tirthankara- Mahavira, is seated in a uniquely comfortable pose here, against a cushion in the inner sanctum. On the other bank of the ancient Bhutnatha lake, astride whose shores the caves stand, is the shrine of Nagamma, the local serpent goddess, within a massive tamarind tree. Nearby, are two Shiva temples, which deify Him as Bhutanatha, God of Souls. Within the inner sanctum, on the edge of the water, He sits in a rare pose, leaning back, in all his awesome majesty. It is said that the better known caves of Elephanta and Ellora were modelled on the ones in Badami. The Kailashnatha temple at Ellora, has been hewn out of an entire hillock, cut out from the parent hill and combines the best of cave and free-standing temples.
 
The rich past of Badami is closely linked with the ancient Kingdom of Chalukyas. It was first founded by Pulakesin I in the 6th century A.D. The Chalukyas are to be credited with pioneering a new architectural style, examples of which can be seen in Aihole, Pattadakal and other neighbouring areas. It was also ruled by the Chalukyas of Kalyan, the Kalachuryas, Yadavas of Devangiri and the Vijaynagar Empire. In the latter medieval period, Adil Shahi rulers of Bijapur and the Marathas ruled it. Badami was finally taken over by the British, who made it a part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. They built a number of temples, and other monuments that marked the beginning of the Hindu style of architecture. This new style combined the best of two distinct styles - the North Indian, Indo-Aryan Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style. Known as the Chalukyan style, this style is manifested in many cave temples, dedicated to Brahmanical deities, as well as the many Buddhist and Jain monasteries in the region.
 
The four cave temples of Badami were built by the son of Pulakesi I – Kirthivarman (ruled in 567 – 598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (ruled in 598 – 610 AD). One cave is devoted to Shiva, two – to Vishnu. Fourth cave is Jain temple. There exists also the fifth cave in Badami – natural cave used as a Buddhist temple. It can be entered only on all fours. Area contains also many other temples.
 
Cave 1 : This cave most likely is the oldest – built in 575 – 585 AD.This cave most likely is the oldest – built in 575 – 585 AD.Entrance portal can be reached by 40 steps and contains four freestanding square columns and two semi-columns. Below the columns there is a frieze with ganas – attendants of Shiva.Main hall contains pillars and a square shaped shrine at the back wall. Ceiling is adorned with murals of amorous couples miraculously preserved for more than 1,400 years. Cave is adorned with exquisite reliefs, the most impressive ones include a group with Shiva and Parvati with a coiled serpent as well as unique monument of art – 18 armed Nataraja, which, when closely observed, strikes 81 dancing poses.
 
Cave 2 : Created in the late 6th century AD and dedicated to Vishnu who is shown here as Trivikrama – with one foot on Earth and another – directed to the north. Vishnu in this temple is represented also as Varaha (boar) and Krishna avatars.Cave is reached by climbing 64 steps from the first cave. Entrance is adorned with reliefs of guardians (dvarapalas) with smaller female attendants shown.
 
Cave 3 : The largest and most renowned cave temple in Badami most likely is created in 578 – 580 AD. Cave contains inscription by later Chalukya king Mangalesa in Kannada – he organised excavation of this Vaishnava temple. Inscription has been made in 578 AD, Mangalesa became a king in 597 and ruled until 609 AD. It is common that Indian cave temples were patronised by influential members of royal families.Rock-cut temple has north – south orientation. Main hall together with verandah goes up to 14.5 m deep into the mountain, shrine makes the cave for some 4 m deeper. Height of the main hall is approximately 4.5 m.Cave is reached by climbing 60 steps from the Cave 2. Facade of the temple is approximately 21 m wide and is adorned with a row of six massive columns. Below the columns there is a friese consisting of 30 smaller reliefs of ganas.Whole cave is covered with magnificent adornments, including paintings on ceiling. Centrepiece of these murals is four-armed Brahma on his swan. On the floor below the mural of Brahma there is a lotus medallion – place where offerings were laid.Significant monuments of Indian art are the numerous reliefs of Vishnu including standing Vishnu, Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha, Varaha, Harihara and Trivikrama avatars. Reliefs are 4 m high.Art in cave 3 provides important information about the culture and clothing in this region in the 6th century.
 
Cave 4 : This is the only Jain temple in complex and the newest cave in complex, made in the late 6th century – 7th century AD. It is located higher than other caves. If compared to the three previous caves, this cave is less elaborate and smaller – but still beautiful and rich with adornment. It contains carving of the Tirthankara Parshavnatha with a serpent at his feet. Here is located also sculpture of Jain saint Mahavira in seated pose  and standing Gomatesvara with creepers twisted around his legs.
 
Badami Cave Temple Timing : 9am to 5:30pm
 
How to reach,
Road Way : One can easily reach Badami Cave Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from throughout the state of Karnataka
 
Nearest Railway Station :  Bagalkot Railway Station
 
Nearest Airport : Bellary Airport
 

Location

Country
India
State
Karnataka
City
Bagalkot
Location
Badami
Address
Badami Cave Temples,Badami,Bagalkot district, Karnataka 587201
Contact Info
Phone: 080 4334 4334
Mobile :
Fax :
Near Cities
Nearest Bus Terminal
Badami Cave Temples,Badami
Nearest Railway Station
Nearest Airport
Bellary Airport
IN
latitude : 15.162799840 longitude :76.882797240
Corporation : Bellary
GPS Code : VOBI
Open Year
6th - 7th century AD
Architect
Nagara and Dravidian styles
Visiting Hours
9am to 5:30pm

Nearest Places

  • Aihole is a historical town situated on the banks of Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Earlier, this historical town was also called as "Ayyavole" and "Aryapura". Aihole was once capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries).

  • Badami Cave Temple, located on top of a hill that stands at a distance of about 2 km from the main town of Badami in the  Bagalkot district of North Karnataka, Badami was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty that ruled over the most parts of peninsular India. It is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. Its all four cave temples all hewn out of sandstone on the precipice of a hill.

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