Badami Cave 01

Badami : The Marvelous Cave Temple Art

We had never planned on visiting Badami. In fact we were in Hampi and while returning, we decided to give Badami a quick look. But Badami turned out to better our expectations.

The capital of the 6th Century Chalukya Dynasty, Badami is famous for its rock cut temples in the cliffs of red sandstone that surrounds the Agastya Lake. There are evidences of megalithic dolmens, suggesting Badami was the site of a prehistoric human settlement.

According to the Puranas, it is here at Agastya Muni killed the wicked demon Vatapi. According to the Ramayana, Agastya Muni and Lopamudra are supposed to have lived in the southern slope of the Vindhyas, in the forests of Dandaka.

It is said that the Chalukya city of Badami was founded around 540 AD by King Pulakeshin. The Cave Temples of Badami were made between 6th and 8th Century AD. These are a mix of Hind, Jain and possibly Buddhist temples. Cave 3 has a carving which reads that it was created on Saka 500 or 578/579 AD/CE.

There are a total of 4 main caves. Cave 1, dedicated to Shiva and Parvati are the nearest to the ground level, the first Cave that you encounter as you start entering the complex. Cave 2 is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Cave 3 is also dedicated to Vishnu and is the earliest dated Hindu Temple in the Deccan region. Cave 4 is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras. Apart from these main caves, Badami has many other caves and medieval era temples. in 2013, another cave was disovered which has 27 rock carvings, only 500 meters from the main numbered caves.

Don’t miss these gorgeous caves and their amazing carvings if you are in the vicinity.

Badami Cave 01
Entering the Badami Cave Temple complex, this is the first temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati.
Badami Cave 01
Shiva with many hands in the Tandava or Nataraj posture at the entry of Cave 01.
Badami Temple Parking Lot
Looking back at the parking lot of the Badami Temple complex. What you see is the Adil Shah Mosque.
Shiva in Cave 01
Figure of Ardhanareshwara, or half man, half woman, a combination of Shiva and Parvati. Near Shiva side is his bull, Nandi and an emaciated sage Bhringi. On Parvati’s side is a female attendant.
Divine Lovers Cave 01 Badami
Divine Lovers, Yaksha and Apsara carved into the ceiling of Cave 1 in Badami
Nagaraja in Cave 1 of Badami cave Temples
Carving of Nagaraja on the ceiling of Cave 1 in Badami. Shesha, also known as Ananta, is the eldest brother and is a devotee of Vishnu. He represents the friendly aspect of snakes as they protect food grains from rodents. As Vishnu meditates, Ananta Naga forms a bed for him and provides him shae with his hood. Vasuki, the third brother is the King of the Nagas and a devotee of Shiva, who always wears him around his neck like a garland.
Hall of Cave 1, Badami Cave Temples
Inside the Hall of Cave 1. Look at the square pillars and the symmetry.
Dome of Adil Shah Mosque
The Tomb of Adil Shah Mosque visible between rock faces of the Badami temple Complex.
Cave 2, Badami caves
The face of Cave 2 at the Badami cave Temples complex.
View of Badami
View of the Badami Town from around the Cave 2
Badami Caves landing
The entire Cave Temple complex is carved out of these stone cliffs…
Varaha in Cave 2 of Badami Cave Temples
Vishnu in his Varaha or Wild Boar Avatar in Cave 2 of Badami Caves, rescuing Earth as Bhudevi
Fish Spoked Wheel Cave 2 Badami
Carving of a wheel with 16 spokes of Fish on the ceiling of cave 2 of Badami caves
Trivikarma Vishnu in Cave 2 of Badami Caves
Vishnu in his Trivikrama Avatar taking one of his three steps.
Pillars in cave 2 of Badami caves
Pillars in cave 2 of Badami caves. Note the Lotus flower relief on the floor.
Agastya Lake Badami
View of Badami town and Agastya Lake
Climbing up the steps in Badami
Climbing up the steps in the Badami cave Temple Complex.
Narasimha Avatar of Visnhu in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Narasimha or Lion-Man Avatar of Visnhu in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Brahma on Ceiling of Cave 3 at Badami Caves
Brahma on Ceiling of Cave 3 at Badami Caves
Vishnu Seated on Shesha Nag in cave 3 of Badami Caves
Vishnu Seated on Shesha Nag in cave 3 of Badami Caves
Yakshas Carved on ceiling of Cave 3 in Badami Caves
Yakshas Carved on ceiling of Cave 3 in Badami Caves
Narasimha in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Narasimha in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Vishnu meditating on Shesha Naga in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Vishnu meditating on Shesha Naga in Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Outside Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Outside Cave 3 of Badami Caves
Entering Cave 4 of Badami caves
Entering Cave 4 of Badami caves
View from inside cave 4 of Badami caves
View from inside cave 4 of Badami caves
Bahubali in Cave 4 of badami caves
Bahubali standing in Kayotsarga meditating posture with vines wrapped around his leg, in Cave 4 of Badami Caves
Badami Cave Temple Complex View
Badami Cave Temple Complex View

Badami requires more than a day’s stay to explore well. There are treks and many not-very well known monuments here to explore.

Where to stay in Badami : There aren’t too many inspiring options of hotels to stay in Badami. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corp has a nice hotel called Maurya Chaukya Badami. Inside the town there is the Clark’s Inn. Then there is something called The Heritage Resort. Looks ok, but we haven’t stayed at any of these places.

10 thoughts on “Badami : The Marvelous Cave Temple Art”

  1. I always enjoy your exploration of India’s lesser known ancient sites. The good thing is now the e-visa application for Indonesians who wish to visit India is free of charge and we’re able to travel across the country for 60 days. I know one day I’ll return to India, but for now I’m happy enough to travel vicariously through your posts.

    Reply
    • Hi Pamela! Badami, in my view, is a must visitl. I am sad we couldn’t do Aihole and Pattadakal in this trip…
      But adami is absolutely worth it.

      Reply

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