Chalukyan monuments at Badami & Pattadakal…

For the umpteenth time, our ancestors have carved down an entire mountain to produce something very fascinating as this one. These monuments provide an unbelievable sight of how these sculptures were carved around 1000 years back without any proper tools and modern technology. For the notable architectural work and its value, these monuments are aptly honored with the tag of “UNESCO World Heritage Site”.

Entrance to the Badami Cave Temples…

It was in the year 2016 when I visited the monuments at Badami and Pattadakal. With me were my cousin and my younger brother. We boarded the bus from my hometown Belagavi by 8 am and reached Bagalkot by 11 am. We then hired a local autorickshaw to reach our first destination, Badami cave temples.

Badami cave temples are Hindu and Jain following. 4 caves at 4 levels above the ground have been carved on the soft sandstones by the artisans of the Chalukyan empire which ruled the region between the 6th -8th centuries. The first 3 cave temples belong to the Hindu deities and the last one is dedicated to the figures of Jainism.

Badami means ‘Color of Almond’ in the Kannada language. Since the sandstone resembles the color of almonds, the place was named Badami.

Cave 1: 

This one belongs to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. You can witness the sculptures of Shiva dancing in the Nataraja style. Also, there are small sculptures of Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Goddess Parvati, and Nandi (Bull) carved. The ceiling of cave 1 has Nagaraja (King of snakes) carved on it in coiled form. 

Cave 2:

This one belongs to Lord Vishnu. The sculpture of Vishnu in the form of Varaha and Vamana is carved here. You can also find the sculptures of Krishna, another form of Vishnu carved out. 

Cave 3: 

This also belongs to Lord Vishnu. This cave is the biggest among all the 4 caves here. The standout sculpture is of Lord Vishnu seated on Adisesha. Other carvings here depict another form of Vishnu, Narasimha (Lion-faced human), Vamana. The sacred marriage of Shiva and Parvati is also depicted here in the form of sculpture. 

Cave 4: 

Sculptures here belong to the Jain Tirthankars. The notable sculptures are of Bahubali, Mahavir seated on a serpent, and Parshvanatha. It is from here you can depose the picturesque view of the Badami town and the Agastya lake. 

Let’s travel to the older capital of the Chalukyan empire, Pattadakal. It is here where the Chalukyan rulers were crowned. Pattadakal is just about 25 km from the Badami cave temples. You can witness an entire complex of temples belonging to Hindu and Jain beliefs. The greatest of all is the Virupaksha temple belonging to Lord Shiva where the deity is still worshipped. The Group of temples here are also a member of the “UNESCO World Heritage Site”.

View of the main group of temples at Pattadakal…

The sculptures on the temple wall depict the stories from the legends of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Pattadakal is also known as Raktapura (city of red). The bulk of the temples here belong to Hindu faiths. The temples are known to be built in the fusion of South, Dravida style of architecture and North, Nagara style of architecture. This amalgamation of the different styles is unique to witness. Several engravings in the old Kannada literature have been discovered at Pattadakal, prominently in the Virupaksha, Sangameshwara, and Papanatha temples.

Due to time constraints, we couldn’t explore Aihole and had to head back to my hometown.

More details:

  • Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm…
  • Best time to visit: October to May…
  • Time required: 5-7 including both sites…
  • Entry fee: INR 10 to INR 200…
  • Other attractions nearby: Aihole Durga temple, Badami Banashankari temple, Bhutnath temple at Badami…
  • How to reach:
    1. By road: Badami & Pattadakal are well connected by state highways from Belagavi, Hampi, and other neighboring states. 
    2. By train: Indian Railways service that stops at Badami on the Hubballi-Solapur line. 
    3. By flight: The nearest airport is the Sambra Belagavi airport (code: IXG), a 3-hour drive to the west, which operates flights to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Surat, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Mysore, Kadapa, Nagpur, etc… 
  • Where to stay: There are number of hotels in and around Badami town to stay. Few of them are Hotel Mayura Chalukya operated by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), Krishna Heritage Badami, Hotel Mookambika Deluxe, Clarks Inn Badami, Agastya Villa by Vista rooms.

This is it about the monuments at Badami & Pattadakal. I wish to explore all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and a few of the other parts of the world in the upcoming years.

“a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India” and an illustration of “eclectic art” at its height.

UNESCO on Pattadakal…

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