Badami Caves

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Badami also known as as Vatapi was the capital of the Chalukyan Empire (6th to 8th century a.d.). The town is known for its rock cut temples. U see 18 hands Nataraj. It is carved in the 1st cave. The 18 hands Shiva is dancing on a lotus. Upper two hands hold a snake and the remaining holding Damaru. The dancing style Shiva exhibits different dancing styles with a display of 18 hands. On left is Nandi nodding performance. Ganesh is also dancing observing the Shiva natya. Musicians observing the duo dance are performing Tripura Vaadya (instrument).

Attracted by the scenic beauty, defense provided by the hills and water the Chalukyas shifted capital from Aihole to Badami. 2 key places are rock caves n fort, in the centre is holy tank. Took this pic from top of fort hill. U see the hill which houses the caves that are right to left. Top of hill right side are remains of a fort wall that Tipu Sultan tried to build - give it a Islamic stamp.

U see a view of Badami Fort taken from the caves area. Even while experimenting in temple building they evolved the proto-type of the famous Southern Vimana style which the lower and upper Shivalaya (temple that you see on hill top) represent. Water body is Augustya Tirta Maha Sarovar. There is something divine by this sarovar and the caves. Very good vibrations in the place.

Of the 5 caves, 1st is Shiva, 2nd is Vishnu, 3rd is Buddha, 4th is Maha Vishnu, 5th is Jaina. Never seen temples of various sects in one place. Inspite of being Vaishnavites the Chalukyas allowed Jainas, Shivas temples. Cave temples are rich in architecture and give glimpse of rock cut skill and technology then. The emples are ornamental with exquisitely carved animal and human figures, scenes from the Epics.

This is a close up of hill that houses cave temples. Extreme right is cave no 1, mid right u see next to huge rock cave 2, centre of pic hole in hill is cave 3, u see some people going up ie cave 4 on left of pic. Cave 5 could not get in frame. If u have a better picture please mail me. Dome like structure on right of pic is magbara of Tipu Sultan`s general - Muslims like to make a monument next to a revered Hindu monument, one more eg.

Cave 1 is dedicated to Shiva is the oldest, carved from solid rock app 550.A.D. It has 3 parts ie Sabha Mantap, Mukha Mantap and the Sanctorum. There is a Nandi in the temple corridor not outside the temple as what we see today.

The temple is carved out of a huge single rock. Left of pic u see visitors climbing steep steps to go to cave 2. I drove in from Hubli (app 3 hours). Below this cave is a car park ie app 5 minutes drive from the highway into the village. Left top of hill is a fort wall made by Tipu Sultan.

A closer view of the cave entrance. Right of pic is the 18 armed dancing Shiva demonstrating Bharata-natyam postures. The pillars that separate the verandah from the hall have fluted upper parts with cushion capitals. Apart from bead-garlands and other finely carved decorations the pillar faces have smaller depictions of iha-mrigas (dream animals). Observe closely pillar design of external and verandah is different.

U see Mahishashur Mardhini. Mahisha means Male Buffalo. Asura means demon. Mardhini means slay. Goddess Adishakti slaying Mahishahur with a Trishul ie carved in the sculpture.

U see Ganesh without mukut - crown, with only two arms (as against four) and no big stomach. Badami Cave Temples are a must visit for serious students of Indian architecture.

U see Kartikeya (son of Parvati) sitting on his vehicle a Peacock. Can someone send me a better picture.

Eg of Chaturmukha art. Shows two children but actually 4 poses ie sleeping baby, crawling baby, sitting baby and jumping baby. Super work.

Shiva, Parvati and Bhagirathi rishi muni. Similar one found in Aihole. Why does the Rishi look famished. The rishi took a vow never to worship female goddess, went to Kailash worshipped Shiva. Parvati cursed him that all blood, flesh shall go so you see him in skelton form. Note that importance is given to worship of both forms ie male and female. The form of Siva is also called Ardha Nareesvara (half portion of Parvati body of Shiva).

In ceiling is five hooded Cobra with half human body.

U see Harihara (composite form of Shiva and Vishnu) flanked by consorts Parvati and Lakshmi. Can someone help with a better picture.

U see Harihara. Also known as Shankaranarayana ("Shankara" is Shiva, and "Narayana” is Vishnu), Harihara is thus worshipped by both Vaishnavites and Saivites as a form of the Supreme God. Swami Sivananda states: "Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same entity. They are the names given to the Different aspects of the all-pervading Supreme Soul or the Absolute. “Sivasya hridayam vishnur - vishnoscha hridayam sivah, yathantharam na pashyami — Vishnu is the heart of Siva and likewise Siva is the heart of Vishnu and I do not know the difference in them”.

U see doorkeeper of cave temple. Note has a Trishul in his hand.

Steps from cave 1 to cave 2. There are monkeys all over the place - many many of them. Where garden end is where car park starts.

Entrance to cave 2 called Vishu cave. Note the carvings next on left and right of steps. This cave has different forms of Vishnu like Trivikrim, Varaha etc.

Temple doorman Jay.

Temple doorman Vijaya.

U see Trivikram, the 5th avatar of Vishnu who came to earth as Vamana. Bali, the grandson of Prahlada was a very powerful Asura. By penance he conquered the whole world. Indira n other gods went to Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu was then born as a dwarf Vamana, went to Bali n asked for arms. Bali did not refuse. Vishnu asked for land that could come under his 3 feet. Bali agreed. Vishnu then grew in size and covered the earth n heaven in two strides. Due to lack of space he put his third head on Bali and crushed him.

U see Varaha third Avatar of the Hindu Godhead Vishnu, in the form of a Boar. Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar`s head on a man`s body. The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa (cosmic cycle).

U see MATSYA AVATAR – the Fish Incarnation of Lord Vishnu Matsya, the one horned fish, is the first among the Dasa Avatara of Lord Vishnu. The core concept of Hinduism is that there is no beginning or end. There is only transformation. When man abandons Dharma and ventures into the territory of Adharma, Nature starts its destructive transformation. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya to save all that was good in the world before its destruction.

A Swastika in the cave ceiling made in one line. Note the workmanship. Can someone tell me what do the four sculptures at each corner represent.

This indicates the quality of workmanship of the Shilpi or scultptor. U can see as 4 hands and 4 legs for 3 people. When u cover they have 2 feet and 2 legs.

U see Samundra Manthan - churning of the sea by Devas and Asuras. What existed in Badami nearly 1500 years ago is found is Bangkok today.

From cave 2 walk towards natural Buddhist Cave, have called it cave 3. The guide insisted I walk into the cave and take pictue. Top is rock. In the center is the Badami Fort, waterbody is Augustya Tirtha. It is quite a big fort - extends behind the hill that you see.

U see a devotee holding hands praising to Padmapani carved in the sculpture.

The gateway was built by Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara, takes you from cave 2 to cave 3 quite a climb.

This is the Southern fort wall. Is locked now but enables you go the top of the hill.

U see 4th Maha Vishnu 578 A.D. Mangalesh, father of Chalukyan architecture built this cave of his brother Kirtivarma. If cave 2 was Vishnu this is Maha Vishnu means everything is bigger. I wonder how they made these sculptures out of rock - can todays workers do as good as a job. Wish someone could enlighten in simple language. U get on steps to a platform, left side is door keeper, right is Maha Trivikram that you shall see.

U see Lord Vishnu as door guard called Ashthaibuja or Viraat Purusha - 8 handed Vishnu.

U see Maha Trivikram, the 5th avatar of Vishnu who came to earth as Vamana. Bali, the grandson of Prahlada was a very powerful Asura. By penance he conquered the whole world. Indira n other gods went to Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu was then born as a dwarf Vamana, went to Bali n asked for arms. Bali did not refuse. Vishnu asked for land that could come under his 3 feet. Bali agreed. Vishnu then grew in size and covered the earth n heaven in two strides. Due to lack of space he put his third head on Bali and crushed him.

U see the temple corridor. At the end is Maha Vishnu sitting on Adisesha (Serpant). Note pillar design on both left and right. Left pillar has scultpure in center, ornaments design above that and then sculptures erected on the pillars. Left hand is Shankchakra. There is no idol inside the cave.

A close up of Maha Vishnu sitting on a serpent. The 5 headed Adhivesha on top is providing umbrella like shelter to the Lord. Left of pic is Vishnu`s vehicle Garuda and right is wife Lakshmi. U see serpent one level, there are two levels below that.

U see Varaha third Avatar of the Hindu Godhead Vishnu, in the form of a Boar. Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar`s head on a man`s body. The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa (cosmic cycle).

A combined view of Maha Vishnu sitting on a serpent and Varaha. In this cave temple everything is bigger than in cave 2. The Varaha is cave 2 is much smaller as compared to this one. O/s work - how did they do this?

U see the temple corridor from the Maha Vishnu side. At the end is Narasimha. It is a huge sculpture. Note column design on either side.

Narasimha is the fourth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. He is often visualised as half man half lion. He is a God of Strength and Energy ie prayed to. He is decorated with a necklace, tied ornmaents and a waist belt. Standing right of pic is human faced Garud and right is Prahlada.

U see Narasimha`s laughing scene after slaying Hiranyakashapu, a demon erected in the cave. The Kamal Pusha (Lotus Flower) is erected on his head. He is decorated with a necklace, tied ornaments in the arms and waist belt as u shall see in the next picture

Centre top of pic is waist belt of Narasimha. In front are tribal women from a nearby village. They specialise in making bangles. Look at their hair do and jewellery. I was impressed. They loved the idea of being clicked. Belong to Lambani tribe if I got the name correctly.

Next to Narasimha is a sculpture of Harihara. Also known as Shankaranaryana (Shankara is Shiva, Narayana is Vishnu). Harihara is thus worshipped by both Vaishnavites and Saivites

Next six pictures are of sculptures in ceiling. U see Shiva along with Parvati and Nandi surrounded by different Gana idols.

U see Kubera or the God of Wealth.

U see Lord Indra.

U see Mahavishnu with wives Sridevi and Bhudevi.

4 headed Lord Brahma.

Rain God Varuna.

Mithuna or couple making love.

On the outer pillar u have lots of o/s sculptures. Here a lady is holding a mirror in the hand to make her hair.

Taken from cave five u see a side view of Holy Sarovar and Badami town behind. Left of centre end of pic u see small temple ie lower Shivalaya. Right side u see two watch towers.Left hand side u see a huge ghat where local woman wash their clothes - what was a holy sarovar has become a washing ghat.

Entrance to cave no 5 ie Jaina Caves.

Icon of Bahubali. Went end January yet was very sunny hot during day but cool by night. Keep a full day to see Badami at leisure. Take pics early morning and after 4pm. U have to stay in Badami to visit Pattadakal and Aihole. Has one swanky hotel and Karnataka Tourism guesthouse.

Icon of Lord Parshunath. I stayed at Karnataka Tourism guesthouse - go for the new rooms only. It is far from the bazaar so need a vehicle.

Icon of Lord Mahavir. I have tried to write narrations as picked up from Tourist Guide book by Veeresh Angadi and local guide. In case of any errors, they are unitended. Do write in if there are any improvements so can correct.

U see Lord Indra.

U see Mahavishnu with wives Sridevi and Bhudevi.

4 headed Lord Brahma.