Badami Cave Temples are a group of four cave temples, situated at Badami
, about 30 km from Bagalkot
, in Karnataka
. These temples are hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill opposite to Badami Fort. The Chalukyan
king, Mangalesa was responsible for the completion of these cave temples.
Out of the four caves, three are Brahmanical, while the fourth one is Jain. The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Cave 1 is a Shaivite cave which dates back to 578 AD. The cave has a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall. The cave has several important carvings including a two-handed Ganesh, Mahishasuramardini, Ardhanariswara and Shankarnarayana. The 18-armed Nataraja can be seen here in 81 dancing poses.
Cave 2, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, depicts a dwarf or 'Trivikrama' of awesome dimensions with one foot mastering the earth and the other the sky. The murals depicting Vishnu as Varaha and Lord Krishna are worth visiting.
Cave 3 which dates back to AD 578, highlights the finesse of Deccan art/architecture. The fašade of the cave is nearly 70 ft wide. There are carvings of ganas on the plinth of the cave. The cave provides a virtual insight into the art and culture of the 6th century.
Though the construction of Cave 4 had been started in the 6th century, it attained completion only after 100 odd years, much later than the former three caves. The carvings of the Tirthankar Parsvanath with a serpent at his feet and Mahavir in a sitting posture is a true eye catcher.
Badami Railway Station, on the Gadag-Hotgi rail route, is the nearest railhead.