TTravelog

Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples

  • Rock Cut cave Temples Of Badami in Karnataka, India.
  • Badami, the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka in the 6th to 8th centuries, lies at the mouth of a ravine with rocky hills on either side and a town tank in which water from the ravine flows. The town is known for its ancient cave temples carved out of the sandstone hills above.

  • These caves are considered an example of Indian rock-cut architecture, especially Badami Chalukya Architecture.


  • The Badami Cave Temples are composed of 'four caves', all carved out of the soft Badami sandstone. 
  • The cave temples date back to the 6th and 7th century. Their architecture is a blend of North Indian Nagara Style and South Indian Dravidian style.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples

Badami Cave Temples in Karnataka, India.

  • The Badami cave temples are a complex of temples located at Badami, a town in the Bagalkot District in the north part of Karnataka, India.  The town is known for its ancient cave temples carved out of the sandstone hills above.

    It is noted for its beautiful carved cave temples, artificial lake, Museum & rock-cut into the cliff face of a red sandstone hill, of the 6th & 7th Centuries. 

  • The Badami Cave Temples, an example of Indian rock-cut architecture, especially Badami Chalukya Architecture, is in north Karnataka, India.
    Badami, the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka in the 6th to 8th centuries, lies at the mouth of a ravine with rocky hills on either side and a town tank into which water from the ravine flows.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples


  • The Badami Cave Temples are composed of four caves, all carved out of the soft Badami sandstone. The four caves are simple in style. The entrance is a verandah with stone columns and brackets, a distinctive feature of these caves, leading to a columned mandapa and then to the small square shrine (sanctum sanctorum) cut deep into the cave.

    Cave 1:
    One can easily climb to cave 1 made of red sandstone. It antedates 578 A.D. and was probably the first to be carved. Climbing the 40 odd steps to reach the collonaded verandah, a hall with numerous pillars and a square-shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall. Column shafts are masterfully crafted. On the ceiling, one can see the paintings of amorous couples. Shiva and his consort Parvati, and a coiled serpent. Shiva as Natraja with 18 arms is seen in 81 dancing poses.

    Cave 2:
    This cave is dedicated to Vishnu. Vishnu here is depicted 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. Vishnu here is depicted as a dwarf or. Another form of Vishnu portrayed here is as 'Varaha' or as a boar. Vishnu riding the Garnda & lotus surrounded by sixteen fishes.

    Cave 3:
    Still going higher up one comes across this 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 make it this cave the highlight of Deccani art. It gives a virtual insight into the art and culture of the 6th century like costumes, jewellery hairstyle lifestyle etc. The other attractions to be looked carefully in this cave are the high relief of Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha (Vishnu as Man-Lion) Varaha, Harihara (Shiva Vishnu) and Vishnu as Trivikrama.

    Cave 4:
    Lying to the east of cave three, the fourth cave is Jain. There is an image of Mahavira adorning the sanctum. Other carvings here are of Padmavathi & other Tirthankaras. A steep climb up some steps cut in a crevice between Cave II & III leads to the southern part of Badami Fort & to an old gun placed there by Tippu Sultan.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples


  • The cave temples also have exquisite carvings, sculptures and beautiful murals. The temple caves represent different religious sects. Among them, two are dedicated to god Vishnu, one to god Shiva and the fourth is a Jain temple. The first three are devoted to the Vedic faith and the fourth cave is the only Jain temple at Badami.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples

The cave temples date back to the 6th and 7th century. Their architecture is a blend of North Indian Nagara Style and South Indian Dravidian style.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples

The water flowing from the ravine in Badami is gathered in an ancient artificial lake - Agastya tirtha reservoir. High above the water there are towering cliffs of comparatively soft sandstone. Royal shrines were made in these cliffs with grand view opening over the former capital city.

History Of Badami cave temples:

Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples


History Of Badami cave temples:

  • The four cave temples of Badami were built by the son of Pulakesi I – Kirthivarman (ruled in 567 – 598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (ruled in 598 – 610 AD). One cave is devoted to Shiva, two – to Vishnu. The fourth cave is the Jain temple. Thus Chalukyas, just like several other successful dynasties of Ancient India, demonstrated religious tolerance.

    Badami was finally taken over by the British, who made it a part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. 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.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples

An important feature of Badami Caves and their surroundings is ancient inscriptions in Kannada writing and in Kannada and Sanskrit languages. In total, in Badami there have been found 18 cliff inscriptions. The oldest is from 543 AD.


Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka, India - Most Amazing Ancient Rock Cut Cave Temples


  • One of the most important inscriptions is made in 700 AD at the northeast end of the reservoir. It consists of ten lines in Kannada writing, both in Kannada and Sanskrit languages. This inscription is not completely clearly translated but it is clear that it goes about Kappe Arahatta, local saint and hero. Under the inscription, there is a nice carving of ten leaved lotus in the circle.

    There exists also the fifth cave in Badami - natural cave used as a Buddhist temple. It can be entered only on all fours. The area contains also many other temples.