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Home » South India Temples » Badami Cave Temple

Badami Cave Temple - Karnataka


Location : Badami, Karnataka
Depicting : Various Mythological Characters
Known For : Cave Temples

The capital of the Early Chalukyas, Badami is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills, Badami is famous for its cave temples - all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.

Badami is an interesting place to visit in Karnataka what with its artificial lake, ancient temples, Museum and Hindu and Jain caves carved in the Sandstone hills. The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu.

Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir dotted with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. Also a must are the Bhutanath temples that lend their name to the lake beneath the cave temples. The main attractions of Badami are the caves found there. The caves found here are as follows:
  • Cave 1
    The first cave made of red sandstone, dates back to 578 A.D. and was probably the first to be carved. One has to climb up 40 odd steps to reach the colonnaded verandah, a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall.

    Column shafts are masterfully crafted. On the ceiling one can see the paintings of amorous couples. Shiva and his consort Parvati, and a coiled serpent. The 18-armed lord Nataraja can be seen in 81 dancing poses.
  • Cave 2
    Dedicated to lord Vishnu depicted here as a dwarf or 'Trivikrama' of awesome dimensions with one foot mastering the Earth and the other the sky, the second cave is atop a sandstone hill.

    Vishnu here is depicted as a dwarf or. Another form of Vishnu portrayed here is as 'Varaha' or as a boar. Then there is a frieze endearingly depicting Vishnu as Lord Krishna.
  • Cave 3
    Still going higher up one comes across this cave antedating 578 A.D. The facade of the cave is nearly 70 feet wide, on the plinth one can see the carvings of ganas. The sheer artistry and sculptural genius makes this cave the highlight of Deccan art.

    It gives a virtual insight into the art and culture of the 6th century like costumes, jewelry hairstyle lifestyle etc. The other attractions to be looked carefully in this cave are the high relief of Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha (Vishnu as Man-Lion) Varaha, Harihara (Shiva Vishnu) and Vishnu as Trivikrama.
  • Cave 4
    The only Jain cave, the construction of Cave four started in the 6th century and completed after nearly 100 years later then the earlier three caves.

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