Our next trip was to the world famousBadami Cave temples, built in 578 AD. Badami was the capital of early Chalukyas until eight century, lying in between mountains and lakes.
There was a small amount of entrance fee to be paid to see the temples. Our group leader paid the fee for us and hence I don't know how much it was.
I was wonder stuck at the view of the mighty cave temples, the marvels of the
Chalukyan style of architecture. Though I had read about these temples in several places, experiencing it by being there and exploring these ancient temples was something which words can't explain enough. Even in the scorching sun, the gigantic deep reddish sandstone cave temples looked marvelous. I was imagining how they would have looked in the early morning or in the evening in the pleasant mood of the Sun God!
There were many stone steps one has to climb to reach each temple.
There were four caves on the rock - two were devoted to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the last one was a Jain temple. In the first cave temple,
(Lord Siva temple), there is an 18 armed Nataraja, in 81 dancing poses.
(The guide is explaining about Lord Nataraja and the dancing poses)
In the second cave temple Lord Vishnu is the holy deity of this cave manifested as a dwarf or Trivikrama. Lord is in the position of conquering the Earth by his one foot and rules the sky with his other foot.
In the third temple, Vishnu is manifested in many forms - Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Man-Lion, Shiva Vishnu and Vishnu as Trivikrama are the other attractions of the cave.
The main attraction of the 4th cave (Jain temple) is the sculpture of Lord Mahavira decking the shrine besides the images of Padmavathi and other Thirthankaras. The 24th Tirthankara- Mahavira, is seated in a uniquely comfortable pose here, against a cushion in the inner sanctum. The shrine of Nagamma, the local serpent goddess, within a massive tamarind tree is another example of the architecture.
Another great surprise was the huge lake, called Agasthyamuni Lake (Agasthyathirtha Lake), with rocky hills surrounding it on three sides and sandstone temples at the feet of these hills. You can get a magnificient view of the lake from the third and fourth caves. It is said that this lake has no source of water.
It is believed that this water had ayurvedic properties in the old ages as ayurvedic plants were cultivated in the surrounding high areas of the lake.Standing before the second cave temple, I spent sometime getting a bird's eye view of the entire Badami town.
Monkeys were the permanent inhabitants there. We were looking for some drinking water around, and saw one or two shops down the hill. My sister bought a juice bottle there, which within minutes a monkey appeared there and ran away snatching it from her hand!