Day 4 (6th November 2018)
At Badami, we stayed at KSTDC Maurya Chalukya. This is a better-maintained property compared to the one we stayed at in Hosapete. Therefore, the room rates are also higher. However, the sizes of the rooms are slightly smaller than that of Hosapete. The property has adequate parking space and an in-house restaurant.
We started around 7.45 am for local sightseeing. The first destination was Badami caves. The idea was to come back to the hotel for breakfast after seeing Badami caves and then spend the rest of the morning and forenoon to see the balance attractions of Badami and going to Aihole and Pattadakal in the afternoon.
All the attractions of Badami are at the east of NH367 and access to those attractions from NH367 is a bit difficult because of the local market and shanties. From my experience, I think that it would have been better had we hired a local vehicle for local sightseeing at Badami. We would have lost significant time to figure out the right approach road and parking space. There is no visible effort to develop this place as a tourist destination.
We reached the parking lot for the Badami cave temple complex around 8 am.
The parking lot is at the southwest corner of Agastya Lake. The cave temples are on the hills on the southern bank of the Agastya lake. The temples have to be accessed by stone steps. There are four cave temples.
The first cave temple was excavated around 550 CE. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in Linga form. It consists of an open porch, a pillared hall and a sanctuary excavated into its rear wall. The sidewalls of the porch have large-size relief sculptures of Harihara on the left and Ardhanrishwara on the right, supported on the pedestal that friezes dwarf Ganas in various moods. The ceiling is adorned with deeply cut sculptured of coiled snake-king Nagaraja. On either side of this are flying Vidyadhara couples. The pillars that divide the porch from the inner hall are fluted with beautiful cushion capitals. Pillars carry low relief sculptures of deities and are decorated with pearl festoons, foliation, medallions with mythical creatures, rows of swans, etc. Other interesting themes include a two-armed Shaiva-dwarpala on the left flank of the porch entrance, a Vrishava-Kunjara (Bull & Elephant in one), and Shiva-Parvati mounting on Nandi.
After finishing the visit to the first cave temple, we started walking up towards the 2nd cave temple.
The 2nd cave temple was excavated for Lord Vishnu in the 6th century CE. In Plan, like the 1st cave temple, it comprises an open porch, a pillared hall with a sanctuary cut into its rear wall. Two-armed, calmly disposed of, meditating door guardians flank the entrance to the porch. Major sculptures in the porch include panels of Vamana-Trivikrama to the right and Vhu-Baraha to the left, with freezes of Gana (Dwarfs) caved on the pedestal. Beams carry continuous freezes of Puranic episodes of Samudra-Manthana and Krishna’s exploits. The ceiling panel features a central Matsya-Chakra (Fish Wheel) flanked by Swastika patterns. Brackets supporting the cornice resemble lions, elephants, humans emerging from the mouths of Makara's and aquatic creatures. There are reliefs of Lord Bramha, Vishnu, Durga, Kartikeya, etc., decorative medallions with Vidhyadhara couples, and flotations on pillar faces.