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Temples in South India >> Karnatka >>Cave Temple

Situated in North Karnataka, Badami was founded by Pulakesin I in the 6th century A.D and was once the capital of the Chalukya empire. The Chalukyas are to be acknowledged with path-finding a new architectural style, examples of which can be seen in Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal and other neighboring areas. They built a number of temples, and other monuments that marked the beginning of the Hindu style of architecture. This new style combined the best of two distinct styles - the North Indian, Indo-Aryan Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style. Known as the Chalukyan style, this style is manifested in many cave temples, dedicated to Brahmanical deities, as well as the many Buddhist and Jain monasteries in the region.

The capital of the Early Chalukyas, Badami is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills, Badami is famous for its cave temples - all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.

Badami is an interesting place to visit in Karnataka what with its artificial lake, ancient temples, Museum and Hindu and Jain caves carved in the Sandstone hills. The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu.

Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir dotted with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. Also a must are the Bhutanath temples that lend their name to the lake beneath the cave temples. The main attractions of Badami are the caves found there. The caves found here are as follows:



The caves found here are as follows
Cave 1 : The first cave made of red sandstone, dates back to 578 A.D. and was 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 then the earlier three caves.