BADAMI - The small rural village of Badami was once the capital city of Chalukyan empire which ruled much of the central Deccan between the 4th and 8th centuries A.D. Here, and at nearby Aihole and Pattadakal, you can see some of the earliest and finest examples of Dravidian temples and rock cut caves. Though principally the promoters of Vedic culture, the Chalukyans were tolerant of all sects and elements of them can be found in many of their temples.
There are 04 cave temples in Badami as follows:
Cave 1: The first cave made of red sandstone; dates back to 578 A.D. and were 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.
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.
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.
Cave 4: The only Jain cave, the construction of Cave four started in the 6th century and completed after nearly 100 years later than the earlier three caves.
The Badami Fort is perched on the top of a hill right opposite the Badami cave temples along with two Shivalaya complexes. The entrance to this temple is right through the Badami museum. It is a steep climb with many view points and dotted with little shrines. King Pulakeshi II, a devotee of Lord Vishnu had built the two Shivalayas that dates back to the 5th century. The Upper Shivalaya is devoted to Lord Shiva, who is the lord of the five elements (bhuthaas) whereas the lower one is dedicated to Ganesha. The outer walls of the Upper Shivalaya are sculpted with mythological tales, like the elephant and lion on top of the temple steps.
Excursion to Pattadakat
Pattadakal has a distance of 134 kms from Bijapur. A world Heritage Center, it has 10 major temples representing early Chalukyan architecture. The biggest temple dedicated to Virupaksheshvara, has a huge gateway and several inscriptions. In front of the temple is a majestic Nandi. The Mallikarjuna and Papanatha Temples, and the Jain Temple rom the Papanatha Temples and the Jain Temple from the Rashtrakuta period are well worth visit.
Open Air Museum
The museum is situated at the foothills of the northern hill which contains the northern fort. It was instituted in 1979. The museum mainly constitutes pre-historical stone equipments and sculptures which date between 6th to 16th century AD. The museum has four galleries. It has an open gallery in the porch and an open air gallery in front. Exhibits of Shiva and Vishnu can be seen in the museum. It remains closed on Fridays.