Sunday, December 30, 2012

Badami Group of Temples – Bagalkot Heritage Drive - Day 2

Bagalkot Heritage Drive - Day 2 – Badami Group of Temples

By 5.45 pm we left the Badami caves & started towards the Museum which was on the opposite side of the caves, it is around 1.5 km for us, but as per Google maps it is around 1km. Though it is only about half a km from the caves but there are no proper roads to reach here, Government has failed a bit here in claiming some land & protecting the road to these places, we had to struggle a lot to make way for our Innova, as the road is so narrow that even if there is another vehicle on the other side one of us must have to reverse the car back to the road, but luckily no other vehicle came in the opposite direction till we reached the fort gate.
Also there are a few temples which reside inside the town with all the houses in the town surrounding the temples which has a history of over 1500yrs. I felt there should be a protected area around the temple at least to protect it from being encroached. Due to the roads being very narrow & very less awareness of the places on the other side of the cave temples, most of the tourists go unnoticed after visiting the cave temples.

Apart from the four cave temples, Badami temples also include a number of other temples including Dattatreya Temple, Bhoothanatha temple Complex (Lower), Upper Bhoothanatha Temple or the Mallikarjuna group of temples, Lower Shivalaya Temple, Upper Shivalaya Temple, Malegitti Shivalaya Temple. Badami Museum also lies part of the other side of the Agasthya lake.

One has to go through the town market area to reach the fort gate, once you reach the fort gate there is the Badami archaeological Museum, which was already closed as it was around 6 pm, we further drove till the Mallikarjuna temple & again that was also closed, I wonder why even the compound gates were also locked so didn't get an opportunity to even see the temple walls from close.
Lower Bhoothanatha temple
Mallikarjuna group of temples: built in 11th century A.D, also called Upper Bhoothanatha Temple, has a stepped superstructure, commonly found in Kalyani Chalukyan constructions. Constructed in Oriya style as compared to the Dravidian style of Lower Bhoothanatha temples. The temples are located on the northeast side of the Agasthya tank. Their typical Late Chalukyan features include plain walls, angled eaves over the mandapa's, and pyramidal towers with deeply carved and closely spaced horizontal courses.
Front view of Mallikarjuna temple
Mallikarjuna group of temples
The other noteworthy places to visit in Badami are the Badami Fort and the Archaeological Museum.

Archaeological Museum: The museum is opened to public from 10am to 5pm & is closed on Friday’s. It contains beautiful sculptures from the caves & rock cut temples which are worth seeing. The sculpture gallery is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India on the Bhoothanatha Temple Road.
Badami Museum
We then parked the vehicle & started to walk along the lake side of Agasthya tank to reach the Bhoothanatha temple complex; it was during the sunset & had some breathtaking scenery of the Agasthya Lake & the sky colored after the sun set.

Agasthya Lake: this is a large water body framed at the center of the Badami fort surrounded by the red sandstone hills. To the north of the tank lies the Museum, Shivalaya temples & the Mallikarjuna temple complex, to the south is the four cave temples, to the east is the Lower Bhoothanatha temple complex, and to the west is the Dattatreya temple and the Badami town. Towards the north, west and east sides of the tank are built steps with red sand stones making it look more beautiful.
Agasthya lake as seen from Upper bhoothanatha temple, the cave temples are visible on the rocks
View of the lake during sunset
Bhoothanatha temples were also locked but had the opportunity to walk around the temple walls.

Bhoothanatha Temple Complex (Lower): built between late 7th century & 11th century. The temple platform extends into the east end of the Agasthya tank, in a delightfully picturesque setting. The sanctuary and inner hall are Early Chalukyan; the outer hall overlooking the tank is Late Chalukyan.
View of Lower Boothanatha temple from upper bhoothanatha temple
Bhoothanatha temple facing the Agasthya lake
Lower Bhoothanatha Temple
Then proceeded behind the temple as there was a walk way leading behind, just was curious to see where it leads to, but none of them followed me, as it was already dark, so thought to go alone and felt I was not mislead after seeing some rock carvings on the route, which made me more curious to continue the way & saw someone calling my name from behind, & it was our team members, they just followed me without my notice as they felt it was dark and unsafe to go to remote places like this.
sculptures on the rocks behind the Bhoothanatha temple
I finally ended seeing some cave and didn't even felt to enter inside as it was very small and didn't attract me so just took some more snaps of the colored sky above the Agasthya lake in almost dark.
Beautiful landscape painted after sun set
Later just felt to enter the cave to see total darkness & put the torch on from my phone & was surprised to see a sculpture of Vishnu inside the cave, & then felt that the day was ended with an amazement. This cave is behind the Bhoothanatha group of temples it houses a sculpture of Lord Vishnu sleeping on Ananta & attended by Lakshmi.
Cave temple of Vishnu behind the Bhoothanatha temple, Sculpture of Lord Vishnu sleeping on Anantha
Some more pics of the sunset with different exposures and locations,

Then started returning back quickly to the parking area, it was dark and no one around in this place, felt a bit unsafe after sunset in these places. It was around 7 pm by the time we left the place & started back to our hotel in Kudala Sangama, on the way we just took some chances on the route shown by the Google maps navigation, as it showed a shorter way to reach the Hotel, but Google didn't disappoint us even though the route was so remote that there were no villages for almost an hour of drive, but we reached our destination without any hassle. It was almost 2 hour drive to cover the 65 km through the village roads. We had our dinner at Kamat, Kudala Sangama & ended our day.

Before I take you to the day 3 - Kudala Sangama travelogue, here are few more temples which we had a glance from far away through my 250 mm lens, reason being we need at least half a day to cover these temples as one has to climb up the hill to visit these places, definitely I'm going to visit them in my next visit.

Malegitti Shivalaya: There are many temples at Badami of which Malegitti Shivalaya is significant from many points of view. Perhaps with the association of a woman who was a garland maker, this temple should have got that name. The very location of this temple is enchanting. It is built on a spur of the rugged hills which overlook the town of Badami. It is important from the evolution of the Chalukyan style of architecture. It represents a stage of Chalukyan art. It is a good example where the domical finial is octagonal & is supported by a series of small shrines. The tower above the garbhagriha is a typical Dravidian Shikhara. This temple is dated to the 7th century A.D. It is perhaps the oldest temple & also the finest in Badami apart from the cave temples.
Malegitti Shivalaya temple
Yellamma Temple: built in 11th century A.D, This Late Chalukyan temple, located at the west end of the tank, is notable for its tower, whose crimpled and layered roof describes a shape halfway between the curved Shikhara of North India and the pancake pyramids of the south. The sanctuary's outer wall lifts the roof upon a fabric of verticality, achieved by the single-minded division of its projections into a dense forest of tall, slender, closely-spaced, and delicately engaged pilasters
Yellamma Temple
Upper & Lower Shivalaya Temples: Up in the hills behind the Archaeological Museum lies a Chalukyan temple, Upper Shivalaya. It is situated on the tip of a natural gorge. Built by Pulakeshi II who was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu, it is capped by a Dravidian pyramidal tower. A little further down is the Lower Shivalaya. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The lower Shivalaya has a Dravidian tower, and only the sanctum remains now.
Upper Shivalaya temple
Lower Shivalaya temple
Few more pics of the surroundings at Badami,
This must be watch towers on top of the rocks
One more temple almost encroached in the heart of the town surrounded by the homes.

Bagalkot Heritage Drive - Day 3 – Kudala Sangama … to be continued….

Kudala Sangama – Bagalkot Heritage Drive - Day 3

Bagalkot Heritage Drive - Day 3 – Kudala Sangama

Some facts about Kudala Sangama: Kudala Sangama is in Hunagunda taluk of Bagalkot district in Karnataka state, India. It is just 8 Kms from Sangam cross on the National Highway 13. It is an important center of pilgrimage for people of the Lingayat religion. It is the place where the great social revolutionist of 12th century lord “Basavanna” was studied, preached & merged with GOD. The Krishna, Ghataprabha & Malaprabha Rivers merge here & flow east towards Srisaila (another pilgrim center) in state of Andhra Pradesh. The Aikya Mantapa or the holy Samadhi of Basavanna, the founder of the Lingayat faith along with Linga, which is believed to be self-born (Swayambhu), is situated here. The Kudala Sangama Development Board takes care of the maintenance and development of this place.
Every year during January 12th to 15th over a hundred thousand devotees gather here for the Sharana Mela held on the Occasion of Basava Kranthi Day, which was started since1988.

Shri Sangameshwar Temple
Back to the travelogue: It was our last day of the trip & we started our day with breakfast at Kamat which was in front of the Hotel, & we first decided to visit the Basava Dharma Peetha Ashram which was just beside the Hotel.

Basava Dharma Peetha: Basava Dharma Peetha is founded by "Lingananda Swamiji". He was a legend with the legendary force behind the organization. A brave caliber, introduced Guru Basaveshwara to the whole world. At that time, people were mistaken Basaveshwara as Bull and continued worshipping it. But through the preaching (pravachana) of Lingananda Appaji, he shown the truth that Guru Basaveshwara is a historical personality who created a victory in respect to religious, spiritual, & each & every aspects.
We just walked inside the Ashram & saw a small museum of painting depicting the age of Sharana’s of 12th century & their life and what made me more interesting are the paintings of the Vachana Kranti (war for protecting the Vachana/scripts written by the saints & social reformers of Basavanna’s age)

We then proceeded towards the Sharana loka which has the statues of the Sharana’s (social reformers/saints) of the 12th century. There is a Gana linga at the center, behind these is a way towards the Dyana mandira which is underground located below the Gana linga, the place is constructed for meditation which was very ideal for its purpose as it was relatively cold and silent. There is a sculpture of Basavanna here carved out of Marble stone.

It was about 12 noon & we then proceeded towards Sangameshwara temple before shopping some books at the shop here in the Ashram.

Sangamanatha Temple & Aikya Mantapa: a 5mins drive took us to the Sangamanatha temple where the road ends. The Vachana’s composed by Basavanna are dedicated to the presiding deity here, Sangamanatha. The temple consists of a porch, navaranga & the main shrine. The door frame of the garbhagriha is richly carved with floral designs and animal figures. In the shrine is the linga famed as Sangameshvara or Sangamanatha. The temple is of Chalukyan style.
Sangamanatha temple entrance

In front of the temple, in the midst of the river, is the Aikya Mantapa, Lord Basaveshwara’s holy Samadhi, a small stone Mantapa with a Shiva linga in it, & lofty cement concrete dry well has been built around it to protect it from submersion. It is here where the Krishna, Ghataprabha & Malaprabha Rivers merge.

On the other side of the river Krishna is the holy samadhi of the lady saint Neelambike, wife of Sri Basavanna. Here also a high cement concrete dry well has been built around the structure to protect it from the waters. One can take a motor boat from Sangamanatha temple or can drive through the bridge to reach the other side of the river.

It was lunch time then & we proceeded towards the Kamat hotel and had lunch and then drove towards the Basava International Centre.

Basava International Centre: it is also called as the Shatasthala the reason for which the building is divided into 6 floors. The word Shatasthala is derived from “Shat” means six and “sthala” which means stage. The tall Basava gopura is slated to house the Basava International Centre; it is more than 200ft., high symmetrical tower which is part of the Rs.450 million government project undertaken by Kudala Sangama Development Board. The structure is already being built but the interiors and the paintings are yet to be done. The structure looks very impressive and is least popular in Kudala Sangama, reason being not yet opened.

We then drove towards our last destination of our trip which was the Sabha Mantapa.

Sabha Mantapa: The colossal Sabha Bhavana. It is a spacious auditorium with a seating capacity for 6,000. The exquisite doorways on four sides named after Gangambike, Nilambike, Channabasavanna and Akka Nagamma, surround the huge grey dome in the center. As one enters the main door’s you witness the magnificent interiors of the auditorium, which houses the paintings of unique pattern of designs throughout the roof around the dome, each one of these designs are distinctive. Once you enter under the dome you find the whole place so relaxing. We spent some time relaxing inside the auditorium. Little known about the place is it is the largest open to air auditorium in India, having a huge dome at the center and doorways on 3 sides and a number of pillars holding the dome, and beside that is a circular flat roof structure which holds the center dome on a number of pillars on both the sides, beyond these pillars it is open to air making it air and light to flow to the auditorium and at the same time protecting it from the top. Also there are small openings on the top of the dome for hot air to flow outside the auditorium. This unique architectural design makes it feel colder inside even during warmer days.

It was late in the afternoon before we had to say adieu for our long heritage trip. We started around 4 pm way back to Bangalore & reached early morning on the fourth day.
This was personally my best trip till date, I leave here some of the information about the lengthy blog on Bagalkot Heritage Drive.


How to reach: Kudalasangama & Badami are well connected by KSRTC buses from all over Karnataka & can be reached by road easily.

Nearest airport: Hubli, Belgaum. Nearest International airport is Bangalore.

Nearest railway station: Almatti, Badami

Camera Used: Canon 550D with 18-55mm lens & 55-250mm lens

Hotels & Restaurants:
  • Hotel Badami Court, station road, Badami
  • KSTDC Mayura Chalukya Hotel, Ramadurg Road, Badami (Veg & non Veg)
  • Kamat Restaurant, Kudala Sangama(pure Veg)
  • Jain Darshan Yatrinivas Hotel, Kudala Sangama