The Cave Temples of Badami

Badami is a small rural town of Bagalkot district, Karnataka. When I saw the crowded narrow lanes of this town for the first time, I was finding it hard to comprehend the beautiful rock cut cave temples belonged to this place. Just a few kilometer’s drive from the main bus stand we were at the foot hills of red sand stone mountains and looking up we saw the caves, dug in a series across the mountain.

Just four caves, small ones, unlike the 27 carved caves of Ajanta in Maharashtra. Three of these caves are dedicated to Hindu Gods, the fourth one dedicated to the Jains. These cave temples date back to 6th and 7th centuries and are not UNESCO World Heritage site, though the ASI is trying hard to get these monuments in the list. All of them are very well maintained and protected. The sculpted statues haven’t lost their charm even after so many centuries.

18 armed Nataraja, the manifestation of Lord Shiva erected in 81imposing poses.

Ardhanareshwari in the second cave. If you notice the image carefully you will see the rounded form in the left half of the body.

The third cave has Lord Vishnu in many forms. Vishnu as man-lion, Vishnu as Trivikarma conquering Earth with one leg and rules the sky with other foot.

The fourth cave had the carvings of Mahavira and the 24 Tirthankaras of Jains.

The sight of the finest Chalukyan style of Architecture here makes the visit most rewarding.

See more of the World at: That’s My World
Pattadakal, World Heritage Site
Aihole, Bagalkot Karnataka

56 Responses to “The Cave Temples of Badami

  • The caves are amazing. I am so enchanted by the beautiful carvings. You have so many architectural and artistic treasures in your country.

  • Great pictures. It must be so fascinating to see in person.

  • Magnificent shots, Indrani! What a fabulous place and the history is fascinating. Always appreciate that you share that with us as well as the photos. Marvelous post!



  • Amazing caves !!

    The first shot from the
    "18 armed Nataraja"
    the fourth cave
    are my favorites 🙂
    Wonderful ART ..

  • What a beautiful place, and justifiably a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Great shots.

  • Amazing culture and history in these sculptures. Thanks for showing them!

  • This is a lovely place with huge sculptures. Wonderful snaps.

  • Wow! These are magnificent and very well preserved. I can understand why it's a World Heritage Site. Are they natural caves?

    The rock in the bottom of the canyon is called Vishnu schist.

  • These are amazing carvings. So full of spirit yet celebrating the human form.

  • Amazing carvings, so beautiful! Thank you for this very interesting post.

  • It's hard to imagine the people whose hands must have expertly carved these and the people who lived there then, watching and appreciating them. So fascinating!

  • So interesting to see carvings inside the cave. Nice to preserve them.

  • Nice sculptures Indrani. It's something similar to ELephanta caves.

    Is that natural light falling on sculptures or you did some tricks.

  • Indrani,
    I'm loving this place… Esp, the first pic of Nataraja (Lord Shiva) with 18 arms is not common… It ia feast to eyes… Thanks for this..
    My Travelogue

  • It was obvious from the photos that the caves were well maintained and the carvings could really shine there like they deserve.

  • Beautiful images and great architecture! The carvings are so detailed and intricate.

  • It is pleasing to see how well preserved these ultra-high relief staues have been over time in comparison to those weathering out in the open.
    A delightful and informative post.

  • They are very amazing..I wish to be there one day.

  • What an amazing place.. Wish I was in India and could just hop on a cheap flight… 🙁

    Thanks for the lovely post.. another one saved in my favourites..

  • Amazing. All this goes back to the 6th & 7th century? Do they still do work like this in modern day India? I mean, the labor it took to do all this and all the temples and forts you have in India – you're a nation of artists and artisans.

  • This is beautiful. Such lovely and intricate carvings. Nataraja is a fascinating pose to sculpt. I love the portrayal of nataraja in Indian dances as well. Lovely post.

  • I'm always happy to read about heritage sites that are well maintained and protected. Even your caves are filled with visual history! Lots to learn and appreciate.

  • History of such caves has been fascinating for me. I've visited places like kanheri caves, elephanta caves, in mumbai, just to get a feel of that era. These are some nice pictures and great information you've shared in this post 🙂

  • Your photos are fabulous. I enjoyed seeing this most magnificent place through your eyes.
    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • What amazing sculptures! So full of history, meaning and feeling.

  • All these sculptures are very beautiful! India must have had a great number of great sculptures, and architects!

  • Marvellous! Absolutely marvellous! I dream to visit South India! Maybe in 2010 or in 2011. But now, in September, I will fly from Istanbul to Delhi and will continue to Ladakh, Dharamsala and Amritsar! An organized trip. I'll share the photos of your beautiful country on my blog when I'll return to Istanbul.

    Have a great week full of joy and happiness,

    Best regards,

  • That's just incredible. You capture some of the most fascinating images.

  • Indrani,

    Just gorgeous. I recognize some of the figures. We just opened the new Arts of India Gallery at our museum. I must have learned something from the museum and you! Thanks!

  • Very interesting ! An amazing architecture and carving in the red stone.

  • Amazing Indrani! And informative for me, I had no idea about these caves, and these beautiful sculptures!!!

    The good part is these are protected and taken care of!

  • I amazes me how many castles and sculptures I've seen on your blog this past year. I'm glad I discovered it!

  • Interesting place! the one in man-lion form is just wonderfully craved and its unlike general.

  • Nice pictures. I wonder, religion has given us such master pieces of art but science has only given us impatience… It is good that they are at least protecting these monuments.

    BTW you have been awarded and tagged on the topic 'Fast Furious and Danceable songs'. Do it, if you find time.

    Destination Infinity

  • A kilometre from the bus stop . . .

  • The pictures of the sculptures are fantabulous to say the least…and the write up is exquisite…you must be having fun doing this
    what kind of camera are you using?

  • Thankfully this is a World Heritage site and will be protected for future generations.

  • awesome structures… the Hindu culture has spread far and wide. In Malaysia too, there are many signs of Hindu culture that have survived until this day

  • The carvings are stunning, and the cavves must be cool and inviting!

  • wow! they really are beautiful!!!!! have heard a lot about them,but have never been there yet!

  • Incredible sculptures, and in caves as well. Lovely pictures.

  • i'm always fascinated about hindu gods…they're like pharaohs in egypt…they both have mysterious and deep stories to tell… wonderful photos…

  • Very interesting history.

  • What a fabulous place, Indrani! The sculptures are amazing. For its beauty and interest I understand that it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Very fine images!

  • wow! you always wow with your wonderful travel snippets about the beautiful places you visit!

  • I passed through Karnataka last week, but had no time to stop. So much to see!!

  • I only bow and say thanks with
    the heart full of joy.


  • Very short and crisp write-up ang great pictures.

  • The architecture is amazing. Very detailed.

  • Awesome as always. If you come by my spot tomorrow, there will be something on it for you in my post for the day.

  • The carvings are beautiful and striking. Great craftsmen !

  • The caves are really beautiful and wonderful !! The statue and architecture is lovely..Great post..

  • Thanks a lot for your sharing,very nice sightseeing places,best wishes

  • Yogi Saraswat
    9 months ago

    Beautiful caves indeed . I have came to know that similar caves are present in “Vidisha-MP” near Sanchi Stupa . But Indrani ji , do you have any idea that why these caves are always dedicated to HIndu , Jain and Buddhist Gods everywhere ??

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