|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.
|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|
|Entrance to the fort on top since closed to public|
..... more photos shall be available in Part 2.