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Cave Temples

Badami is popular for its cave temples that are cut out of sandstone rocks. The Badami Cave Temples are a complex of four Hindu, one Jain and Buddhist cave temples located in the Bagalkot district in northern part of Karnataka. The cave temples here are a perfect example of Indian rock-cut architecture, representing some of the earliest Hindu temples of the Deccan region.
Three out of the four cave temples of Badami are dedicated to Hindu deities, and one of the temples is dedicated to Jain. All these temples are connected to each other by a flight of stairs. The first Cave Temple here is dedicated to Nataraja, the second and third cave temples to Lord Vishnu and the fourth temple to Lord Mahavira the founder of Jainism.

About Badami
The Government of India has declared Badami as one of the heritage cities in India. The city was ruled from 6th to 8th century AD by the early Chalukyas. The ancient name of Badami was Vatapi, Vatapiadhistana and Vadavi. The place is adorned with excavated rock caves of Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina affinity, massive sculptures, and structural temples of Dravida Vimana type.

About the Cave Temples
The first Cave was most built somewhere around 578 A.D., and one can reach the cave by taking a flight of 40 steps. The cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has more than 80 sculptures of Lord Shiva in the form of ‘Nataraj’, with 18 arms. The cave has been made entirely of Red sandstone, and has an open verandah, a hall with various columns, and a sanctum. The ceilings and pillars of the temples are festooned with paintings of amorous couples.
The second cave is located at the peak of a sandstone hill, and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe. Lord Vishnu is presented in the form of a 'Trivikrama' (dwarf) in this temple, where one of his feet is commanding the Earth, and the other is mastering the sky.
The third Cave Temple is perched on the hill, whose origin can be traced back to 578 A.D. The platform of the cave is carved with the images of ‘ganas’ and the temple structure reflect the Deccan style of architecture. This temple is also a fine example of the artistic quality and sculptural genius.  Lord Vishnu is being represented here is his various incarnations including Narsimha, Varaha, Harihara (Shiva-Vishnu) and Trivikarma.
The fourth cave is dedicated to Lord Mahavira, who is the 24th Tirthankara of the Jains. Latest among all the four caves, it finds its origin in the 7th century, near about 100 years after the construction of earlier three caves. One can see the image of Lord Mahavira in a sitting posture here. It is the artistic and sculptural grandeur of this cave that makes it attractive.

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