Badami Cave Temples
Badami was the erstwhile capital of the Chalukya Empire of south
India. The town is situated in North Karnataka and is well known for
its magnificent carved cave temples, artificial lake, museums and
rock-cut into a crag. Famous four cave temples- the main attractions
of the town are carved out of sandstone on the cliff of a hill. There
are also number of temples dotted on the bank of reservoir dedicated
to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. and Mahavir Swami. The Chalukyas are to be
credited for creating a new architectural style that can easily be
visible in these temple architecture and sculptures of god and
There is an Archaeological Museum constructed by the archaeological
survey of India, that showcases sculptures, including the Lajja-Gauri
images of fertility cult, which flourished in the era.
The rich past of Badami is closely linked with the ancient Kingdom of
Chalukyas which date back to 600 and 700 AD. Chalukayas built number
of temples, and other monuments that marked the beginning of the Hindu
style of architecture. This new style was the blend of two distinct
architecture - the Indo-Aryan Nagara style and the Dravidian style.
Known as the Chalukyan style, this style is apparent in many cave
temples, dedicated to Brahmanical deities, as well as the many
Buddhist and Jain monasteries in the region.
Towards the medieval period, Badami was ruled by Adil Shahi ruler of
Bijapur and Marathas. Badami was finally taken over by the British,
who made it a part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency.
The Chalukyan style of architecture is quite evident in the cave
temples of Badami. These famous temples are carved out of sandstone
housing a shrine, a hall, an open verandah and pillars. The exquisite
carvings and sculptures make these cave temples noteworthy. Badami
town also girds a number of carved monuments and other temples located
on the bank of the reservoir.
The freestanding stone temples in Badami, is a specimen to the
evolution of the Chalukyan style of architecture. The Ladkhan temple
at Aihole is another example of the Chalukayan architecture. The next
phase of development is visible in the Gowdaragudi temple, which is a
more complex structure.
Among the many magnum opuses to be found in these caves, the
magnificent 18-armed Nataraja the manifestation of Lord Shiva erected
in 81 imposing poses is a marvel created out of carved stone.
Architecture of the Cave 4 - a Jain Temple in Badami is just
awe-inspiring. The 24th Tirthankara- Mahavira, is seated in a uniquely
comfortable pose here, against a cushion in the inner sanctum. The
shrine of Nagamma, the local serpent goddess, within a massive
tamarind tree is another example of the architecture.
¤ The Magnificet Cave Temples
The famous cave dates back to 578 A.D, carved out of red sandstone
and was most likely the first to be carved. The cave has 40 odd steps
that take one to the covered verandah, a hall with many pillars. Shiva
as Natraja with 18 arms is seen in 81 dancing poses. Column beams are
exquisitely crafted. On the ceiling one can see the paintings of
The second cave is perched on a sandstone hill. Lord Vishnu is the
holy deity of this cave manifested as a dwarf or Trivikrama. Lord is
in the position of conquering the Earth by his one foot and rules the
sky with his other foot. The temple also showcases Lord Vishnu as a
'Varaha' or as a boar, riding the Garnda all surrounded by beautiful
The third cave is about 70 feet wide a masterwork of 6th century. The
delicate creativity and image astuteness are the prominence of the
cave showcasing the ancient art. The art depicting ancient dresses,
jewelry, hairstyle and the lifestyle of the glorious past will leave
one mesmerize. The high alleviation of Vishnu manifested in many forms
- Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Man-Lion, Shiva Vishnu and Vishnu
as Trivikrama are the other attractions of the cave.
Cave fourth is dedicated to Jain Thirthankaras. They are the Jain
caves lying towards the east of cave-3. The main attraction of the
cave is the sculpture of Lord Mahavira decking the shrine besides the
images of Padmavathi and other Thirthankaras. The cave also leads
towards the southern part of Badami Fort, after climbing few steps a
cranny is formed between Cave II & III, that leads to the fort
where an old gun placed by Tippu Sultan is an attraction in itself.
¤ Accessibility To Badami Town
These famous caves can be reached by means of air transport, rail as
well as by road. The nearest airport is Belgaum -150 km. On can also
take up rail coach to Badami that is well connected to Bangalore. The
local and tourist buses are also run from all over the state to
Badami. Hubli -128 km, Bijapur -163 km and Bangalore - 550 km.