The first set of temple is a group of four, which are situated on a hill on the bank of the 'Bhutanata' tank. All the four temples are connected by flights of stairs. The first temple dates back to the fifth century AD . It has gigantic carvings of 'Ardhanareeswara' and 'Harira' manifestations of Shiva in bas-relief. The shrine contains a Shivalingam. In the adjacent wall there is a carving of 'Nataraja', the cosmic dance position of Shiva with his eighteen arms. There are also many relieves of Lord Ganapati, Shanmukha and Mahisasuramardhini.
The second temple bears images of Vishnu in his Varaha and Trivikrama incarnations. On the ceiling of this temple there are carvings of Vishnu on Garuda and several other scenes from Puranas. This temple can be reached from the first one through a staircase of sixty-four steps.
From the second temple the third one can be reached by sixty flights of steps. This is a cave temple of hundred feet depth. The inscriptions that are found dates back to 578 AD , the period of Kirtiverma Chalukya. Narasimha and Trivikrama, the two incarnations of Vishnu are carved here in the walls. There are also beautiful murals depicting the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
There is also a Jain temple dedicated to the Tirthankara Adinatha with the inscriptions on its walls, which dates back to the twelfth century.
The 'Dattatreya' temple and 'Mallikarjuna' temple are two famous temples of Badami. The Mallikarjuna temple was built on eleventh century in a star-shaped plan. There are also many temples on top of which lie the 'Vimana's made in Dravidian style.
Badami is famous for two early inscriptions dating events of sixth century. The earlier of the inscriptions is in Sanskrit, which was carved on a hillock and dates back to 543 CE, the period of Pulakeshi I or Vallabheswara. Near the Bhutanata temple the second inscription is found on a roc, which testifies Mamalla Pallava's victory over the Chalukyas in the year 642 CE.
There is also a Buddhist cave in Badami, in the natural setting that can be only entered by crawling on knees. The Bhutanatha temple is a small shrine facing the lake and was constructed in fifth century. There are also many Shivalayas or Shiva temples originated on seventh century. The Malegitti temple is famous of these Shivalayas. Badami fort is situated on top of the hill. The Banashankari temple is another famous structure near the place.
Nearby is the museum set up by the archaeological survey of India. It houses superb examples of local sculptures, including the remarkable Lajja-Gauri images of fertility cult, which flourished in the era. A visit to the museum is sure to be a rewarding experience.
There is a Jain temple on top of this cliff. 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 ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. Here are some splendid 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 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.
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.
How to get there ?
Air-The nearest airport is Belgaum (150 kms).
Rail-Badami is on the Hubli - Sholapur rail route.
Road-Badami is connected by road to: Hubli (128 kms) Bijapur (132 kms.)
Local Transport-Cycle Rickshaws, Tongas, City Bus Service.
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