By Viplav Sahu
Caves, Lake and the Life of People: Badami, a living Heritage City, has many faces one can explore here every day. The life in the town changes significantly from morning to evening.
18-armed Dancing Shiva Sculpture situated at entrance of Cave no. 1 representing 18 Dance forms.
Ceiling carved out with the Swastika motif in Cave no. 2
Sculptures on the right wall of Cave no 2.
Inside view of Cave no. 3.
View of the panel on the right side of Cave no. 3 showing Trivikarma.
Beautifully carved Cave no. 3 where the columns are carved in such a way that they induce a feeling of motion.
An artist sitting and trying to capture the sculpture through his painting.
Traces of cave paintings which are still found in Cave No. 3
Badami is located in the northern Karnataka. The region is characterised by a hilly terrain comprising of steep cliffs and valleys. The present town of Badami which was also known as Vatapi in ancient times was the capital of the Early Chalukyas in 6th to 8th century AD.
Traces of the South Fort which was built above the caves by Haider Ali.
View of the Badami Village and the North Fort from South Fort.
A Tomb, below the South Fort. built in the 17th Century showcasing architecture of Adil Shahi.
Beyond the Augusthya Lake lie Bhoothnatha Group of Temples. The Temple faces towards west Direction giving significance to the Lake.
View of the setting sun and still water across the Lake.
Village children playing in the Lake; one of their daily activitiies.
Colourful bedsheets spread to dry after being washed in the lake.
View of the entire Augusthya Lake from Top of the Hill.
The place has a combination of both structural rock architecture and rock-cut architecture. The presence of hills on three sides and a big water tank makes this place sacred and thus, was the seat of many rulers from Early Chalukya, Later Chalukya, Vijaynagara, Adil Shahi and Maratha rulers. Traces of occupation by these dynasties can be found here.
There is a place nearby known as Shidlaphadi where remains of prehistoric cave paintings have been found which date back to the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE according to the ASI Museum in Badami. The four rock-cut caves of Badami are magnificently carved out of red sandstone and impress visitors with craftsmanship of the era. The Augusthya Teertha Tank which is approximately 12 acres in area is the central point of significance in this area as everything faces the lake. The hill towards the South has a fort built by Haider Ali which is now in ruins and the North Hill has a Chalukyan Fort. The houses of the town which are said to be built on the plinth of the original town of Vatapi retain their vernacular character.
Valleys that are formed in between the two hills in the North Fort Area. Many Chalukyan inscriptions are found here inscribed in the hill.
The two-storied Temple now in ruined state. The ‘Mandapas’ have Elephant torsos and date back to the Early Chalukyan Reign.
The lower Shivalaya Temple which has an octagonal dome representing the Dravidian Style of Architecture – now in ruins.
Moving further up, one can find granaries that were built probably during Maratha period.
View of the vernacular housing in Badami from top of the hill. One can notice the skylights of the houses from the top.
Upper Shivalaya Temple built on the top of the North Fort built in Dravidian style. Now in a ruined state – probably since invasions by the Pallava dynasty.
The Malegitti Shivalaya Temple is one of the beautiful and well preserved temples in Badami. It is situated on a great boulder below the western flank of the North Fort. Originally, the temple was dedicated to the Sun God but later it was converted to a Shiva Temple.
Shidalphadi Cave is one of the most beautiful naturally built caves of Badami. One needs to travel 3km on the hills to reach this point. It has cave paintings that date back to the 2nd and 1st Millennia BCE according to the ASI Museum, Badami.
One can find different moods in the town which dramatically change from morning to evening where the caves capture imagination during the day, by evening the attention is stolen by the sunset and the valley formed by hills.
About the author:
Viplav Sahu is a Graduate of Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture, UPTU, Lucknow. He has a keen interest in Architectural Photography especially of historical places and cities. Follow his pursuits on People and Places.