Badami Caves

Badami once a royal capital of the Chalukyas is now a sleepy town in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. The town was known as Vatapi previously. It is settled in a valley at the base of a furrowed, red arenaceous rock that rings Agastya lake. Badami is the site of the 6th-7th century Brahmanical and Jain cave temples. The temples are cut out of solid rock with elaborate interior decorations that speak volumes of art and architecture of that period. There are 4 cave temples connected with each other with a flight of stairs. They are carved from a hill which is opposite the fort of Badami. Three caves represent the Brahmanical style. The fourth one follows the Jain style. Nearly 2000 steps should be climbed in order to reach the cave. The first cave has Shiva as Natraja with eighteen arms and he is seen in 81 dancing postures. Lord Vishnu is the holy deity of the second cave and is evidenced as a dwarf or Trivikrama. The third cave has Vishnu evidenced in many forms. The fourth cave is devoted to Jain Thirthankaras. The temple caves represent different religious sects. Among them, two are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the fourth is a Jain temple. The first three are devoted to the Vedic faith and the fourth cave is the only Jain temple at Badami. The entrance is a verandah with stone columns and brackets, a distinctive feature of these caves, leading to a columned mantapa and then to the small square shrine cut deep into the cave.

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