The capital of the Early Chalukyas, Badami (also known as Vatapi), is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a Ravine between two rocky hills.
Rock-cut cave temples, gateways, forts, inscriptions, sculptures that seem to come alive under your eyes. Badami has to be seen to be believed. Climb a flight of steps to reach the ancient caves all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.
There are four caves here. The first three belong to the Vedic faith and the fourth cave is the only Jain temple in Badami.
Enter the first cave temple past Shiva's door keepers and there he is ! The eighteen armed Nataraja stricking 81 dance poses !
The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. Here are some splendid carvings of the Hindu Pantheon. Narasimha the half-man half Lion avatar of Vishnu Hari Hara, the composite god who is half-Shiva and half-Vishnu. Vishnu Narayana sitting as well as reclining on the snake Shesh or Ananta (Eternity ). There are also some painting on the ceiling and wonderful bracket figures on the piers.
A little to the east of this shrin, on top of a cliff is a Jain temple. Here you will find many Jain deities and a huge figure of Parshwanatha.
Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir dotted with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. Also a must are the Bhutanatha temples that lend their name to the lake just beneath the cave temples.
Take a dip in this green tranquil lake. It is said to have healing properties. According to a popular story, King Kushataraya was cured of leprosy here.
Badami also has eighteen inscriptions ranging from the sixth to the sixteenth century. After you have exclaimed over the beautiful sculptures and admired the exquisite carvings, stop by at the museum set up by the Archaeological Survey of India.
PLACES TO VISIT IN BADAMI:-
Nearby is the museum set up by the archaeological survey of India. It houses excellent examples of local sculptures, including the breathtaking Lajja-Gauri images of fertility cult, which flourished in the era. A visit to the museum is sure to be a prized experience.
A little east of the shrine, on top of this cliff is a Jain temple. Here one can find many Jain temples and a huge figure of Parswanatha.
The first cave temple, past Shiva's doorkeepers. Here one can see the eighteen-armed Nataraja striking 81 dance poses.
The largest and the most pleasing is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. Here are some exquisite carvings of the Hindu pantheon, such as Narasimha, the half-man-half-god lion incarnation of Vishnu, Harihara, the composite god who is half Shiva and half Vishnu and Vishnu, Narayana sitting as well as reclining on the snake 'Shesh' or 'Anantha' (eternity). There are also some paintings on the ceiling and wonderful bracket figures on the piers.
Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir crowded with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. Also a must are the Bhutanatha temples that lend their name to the lake just beneath the cave temples. Cave Temples are the most popular structures in Badami. A bulk of tourists who arrive in town simply visit these temples and go back. There are four such temples - three of them dedicated to Vedic Gods and the fourth one being Jain. Cave III is the largest and most elaborate of all these temple. All the caves have an array of square pillars and a simple sanctum inside, without a provision for circumambulation. The most elaborate of the statues in each cave are located at the walls on either side immediately after entering. Some of the attractive carvings include the statue of Nataraja in Cave I, Varaha and Vamana in Cave II and Vishnu in the third. The fourth temple has a series of carvings of the Jain Tirthankaras. Beware of unruly monkeys while you are at the caves. They often snatch handbags and other things from tourists, even cameras.
A dip in the tranquil waters of this lake is said to cure leprosy as the water of the lake is said to have healing properties.