Thursday, 20 August 2015

Visit to Badami, Karnataka, Part I

Badami Caves - this is first of the four caves

Badami is located in Bagalkot district of Karnataka nearly 600 km from Bangalore, 130 km from Bijapur & 130 Km from Hubli.  Its average elevation is nearly 2000 ft & temperature can go over 40 in summer. Best time of visit is November to March when there is low humidity.

From Bangalore one can reach via Chitradurga & Hubli by tolled NH 4 which is in good condition. Hubli to Badami roads are single & not well maintained. It is connected with rail also.

Badami is situated in between two rocky sand stone hills reddish in colour & a lake in between them. The rocks & boulders on these hills have colour like colour of Badam or kernel of almond & hence called Badami as per our local guide. In ancient texts it has been referred as Vatapi Adhishthana. Vatapi the demon was eliminated by Sage Agastya here & the reservoir in between the hills is called Agastyatheertha.

Badami was the capital of Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. They ruled over large areas of Karnataka & Andhra. Subsequently Chalukyas lost to Rashtrakutas & thereafter the capital Badami never regained its stature & importance. It has thereafter been under the rule of Hoysalas, Vijayanagar empire, Adil Shah & other nawabs, Marathas, Hyder Ali & then British. 

Badami is famous for rock-cut caves one above the other. These have been carved in huge tall rocks of reddish hard sand stone. Cave 1 is dedicated to Lord Shiva, cave 2 & 3 (which is biggest) have statues of Lord Vishnu in various avtaars & cave 4 is dedicated to Jain religion, their Tirthankars, Yakshas & Yakshis. Some photos.

Lord Shiva in dancing pose. Nine arms on each side total up to 81 poses. Imagine one right hand stationary & left arms flowing in dance formation. Then second right hand stationary & left arms flowing in dance formation. And so on. Fantastic. He is accompanied by Nandi, Ganesha & a drummer. Here Ganesha has a flatter tummy, two arms & is without his carrier Mushak

Walk up to another cave

Must have toiled hard to dig in the caves

Cave 3 is the largest of four caves. Beautifully carved ceiling with amorous & happy couples engraved on each pillar

Colours filled in the engravings on the ceiling are now fading

Cave walls have lot of idols

Lord Mahaveera in meditation pose

Lord Parshavnath protected by Nagraj & flanked by a Yaksha & Yakshni

View of Badami town from the top. In the foreground is Agatyatheertha. The houses in white are modern addition & in all probability look like encroachments in the old capital of Badami. They give a shabby look to the 1500 year old majestic set up of temples, palace, caves & lake. 
Entrance to the fort on top since closed to public

..... more photos shall be available in Part 2.

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