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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Visit to Badami, Karnataka - Part II

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. The small but important tourist destination needs better civic amenities.

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

Lord Ganesha sculptured out of the rock. Here the tummy is flatter, arms are two & His personal carrier Mushak is missing

King has crushed his enemy & is enjoying the victory with his queen looking impressed with his feat

Figures of such amorous & happy couples are engraved on top of pillars in largest Cave 3

Happy couple with a child

Statue of Bahubali which perhaps served as a model for 57 ft high statue at Shravanabelagola

Agastyatheertha 

Carving on a ceiling inside the cave. Four swastikas have been carved out without any break in the line

In front of the cave

Artist's palette. They used to mix colours here for decorating the engravings on the ceiling.

Happy couple

View of Agstyatheertha from top. On the other side of the reservoir at the top of the hill there is a small temple & on the ground entrance of the palace can be seen.
Ardhanariswara. Left side of statue is of a female playing veena & the right side that of a male. There are several stories about Ardhanariswara in Puranas - merger of Shiva & Shakti, merger of Purusha & Prakriti etc. Here sage Bhringi is shown as  devotee of Shiva & only Shiva. He does not acknowledge even Parvati. So she reduced him to a skeleton. Bhringi did not relent & kept worshiping only Shiva and was later blessed by Parvati.  

Statue has left-half as Vishnu & right-half as Shiva signifying that creator is one


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