Temples of Karnataka - Badami Caves

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Being the capital of Chalukyas, Badami located at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills has the world famous cave temples dating back 6th or 7th centuries. These temples are all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. They represent different religious sects. Two of the temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the fourth is a Jain temple. The third cave temple of Vishnu is the largest and most ornamental.

The first three temples are of Vedic faith and the fourth is the only Jain temple in Badami.

The Chalukya architecture style is also referred as Vesara style which is a blend of North Indian nagara style and South Indian Dravidian style. The Badami Chalukya contribution to temple building matched the valor and achievements of Chalukyas in battles. The Chalukyan style has two monuments which are the rock cut halls or the caves and the structural temples. The rock cut temples or caves have the Pillared Veranda, the Coloumned Hall and a sanctum cut out deep into rock.

The cave temples also have exquisite carvings, sculptures and beautiful murals. One more important feature is the running frieze of Ganas in various amusing postures carved on each plinth. Outside verandas of the cave temples have plain designs but the inner halls have rich prolific sculptural symbolism with finishing like jewels. They represent a fine balance of versatility and restrain.

The place of Badami was originally founded by Pulakesin I, in the 6th century and the temples were built by the Chalukyas marking the beginning of the Hindu style of architecture. There are many annual festivals associated with the temples.

Mainly the annual temple festival of Banashankari is very popular which is held during January or February.


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