Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cave temples of Badami

Continuing my journey on the cultural triangle; my next stop after Bijapur, Aihole and Pattadakkal was Badami. Badami was the earliest capital of the Chalukyas; it was also known as the Vatapi.

It is famous for rock cut shrines and cave temples carved out of red sandstone outcrop surrounded by Lake Agastya. The rocks out of which 4 caves are carved out are huge and has rich deep hue of red. The giant rocks are good 100 meters tall. The rich red hue of the sandstone looks more stunning and charming in the evening light.

Facing the rock cut shrines is the Agastyamuni lake which is serene and enhances the beauty of the place. The first cave temple is dedicated to Shiva and is probably the oldest. The next 2 cave temples are Vishnu temples while the forth one is the Jain temple.

Cave temple planning :It is pretty simple. The entrance is a hall/verendah called as mukha mantapa, with numerous pillars with exquisite carvings on the walls and on the ceilings. It leads to main hall - maha mandapa and then to the shrine; the sanctum sanctorum which is the garbagruha

The atmosphere was awesome, perfect place for the sages t meditate; seems that was why these temples are located high above the cliffs. But it was crowded that day and I could not appreciate the architecture and beauty as much as I would have loved to. People were jostling and pushing and were very keen to pose standing near to the carvings. No one bothered to notice the details; no one wanted to know the story behind those carvings; neither did they realize the treasure their ancestors left them.

Only thing that went in their mind was to have their faces captured in all the photos and taunt the monkeys. I could not experience the richness; I did not get a chance to stand there still and appreciate the art. :-(

Let me get straight to few pictures.

Path leading to the temples. The sandstone cliff is huge and massive. The atmosphere is cool and breezy.

First cave temple dedicated to Shiva. This one is the Nataraja with 18 arms which can yield 81 mudras in combination.

Sandstone cliff overlooking the cave temples.

 One distinctive style is the two in one figurines. An elephant as seen from left and an ox as seen from right. The two heads have been carved in such way.

The second cave temple.

The second and third temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu's various avatars are sculpted on the walls. 

An intricate carvings on the ceiling.

One wheel. 

Vishnu with a serpent.

Vishnu as Trivikrama

Vishnu as Varaha

These temples were inhabited by munis and sadhus. They had lot of time for prayer and play.

The lower walls of the temple

The third Vishnu temple 

Trivikrama again. 

The forth temple - Jain temple. Sculptures of Tirthankaras can be found here

Lord Mahavira.

Tirthankara Parshavnatha with a serpent at his feet.

The evening was perfect. It was a surreal but true- red sandstone cliffs with a lake. 

Lake Agastya. The lake gets its name from Vatapi legend of Ramayan and takes its name after Sage Agastya. Also seen on the banks of the lake is the Bhootnath group of temples.

The moon was early that day. The twilight was beautiful and beyond words.

One more....


  1. Hey, is this place near Hampi? It looks great . Wanna go there some time :)

  2. Hey there:)
    Long time. You finally went!!!
    Isn't it simply amazing?

  3. Always wanted to go but couldnt. Great pics!

  4. Reading your travelogue feels like reading some chapters from my old history school textbook. :)

    The photos as always nice especially the last one. It was beautiful! :D

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  6. yes. it's a common story..people just want to pose in front of the architecture, but they don't want to know the see, facebook does not ask for stories, it only asks for images :P

    great details..I think there are very very few places where you see so many different styles of architecture at one must have been a great visual treat I am sure..I am going there pretty soon :)

  7. Good pictures.And the journey continues...

  8. Hey! how many places did you visit? Scene pics!

  9. Insignia,

    Very good pictures. Architecture is pretty amazing. Interesting to see various forms of Vishnu.

    Liked your remark about people trying to be in pictures rather than admiring the architecture. I guess not many have reporter eyes like yours ...hahaha :))) I agree with you - it makes no sense just to be in pics.

  10. Loving your photography.Last the last but one. How did you get that kind of blue sky?

  11. Unbelievable ! How they could have been made. The endless efforts behind them.
    Wonderful pictures !

  12. Great Pictures besides great effort in putting all this together.

  13. once again beautiful pics

  14. The quality of your camera and your pictures became evident when I viewed them enlarged; so sharp. The whole post was balanced; the right amount of history, the feel of the place, in the insensitivity of the sightseeing crowd and the excellent photographs!

  15. neha,

    Its 175 kms from hampi. You should definitely visit


    Yes sir, long time no see. How have you been, corporate life is keeping you busy I guess
    Yes! Yes! I did and it was breath taking


    Thanks, you should go at least once!


    Aha is that a compliment? But I thought those people made our history lessons so boring :-P
    Thanks, glad you liked them


    Thanks much, glad you liked them


    Yeah! it seems each and everyone wants to see their own face! everyone is a Narcissus nowadays :)
    Badami cave temples are predecessors of Ajanta and Ellora. I want to visit those as well and learn more.
    They have more to offer.


    Yes the journey continues and I just hope you arent bored :)


    I did Bijapur, Koodalsangama, Aihole, Pattadakkal, Badami and Hampi :-D
    I know you are jealous :-P


    Thanks, architecture? Its a phew!!!

    Its sad to see ignorant people; they do not realize what they are missing.


    Thanks so much chitra. The second last one - the sky was bluish but not that blue. I adjusted hue and saturation and got that effect


    Yes, they have left all of it for us! Thanks a lot

    Chowla sir

    Thanks a lot sir.


    Thanks a lot


    Thank you. I have to utilize my camera to its full potential. Glad you liked them.

  16. woww amazing place... and beautiful captures too

  17. Bored ?
    No, not at all . Keep going


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!