The beautiful and serene atmosphere with a lake; impregnable defense of Badami landscape captivated Pulkesi II ( 609-642 AD) who married the princess Devi from Alupa dynasty from Barkur. She obviously brought along with her artisans who had rich experience of carving wonderful edifices. Inorder to proclaim his victory over the Pallavas and re-capturing the territory Badami was commissioned as a modern capital of the emperor. This added as incentive to meaningfully employ the artisans from the Alupa empire. The artisans from Kanchipuram too were deployed to work on with dexterity.
Basically there are four cave temples at Badami. The first temple dates back to the 5th century AD with Lord Shiva in Rudra Tandav posture, it is known as Ardhanareeswara. The carving of Shiva with eighteen arms is just majestic and ultimate grandeur
The second cave temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is the Generator in GOD abbreviation. There is a rock cut sculture of Varaha form of Lord Vishnu. There are several sculptures refering to the ancient fabled stores too in this cave. Brahma completes the triology as the operator in the hindu myth.
Third cave temple is the most prominent and dates back to 578 AD. This cave temple according to inscriptions found is said to been built under the patronage of Kirtivarman Chalukya. There are images of avtars of Vishnu, in the forms of Naraimha and Trivikarma. The murals of Shiva Parvathi too is seen in this cave.
There is a Neolithic cave in between the third and the fourth cave. The cave paintings traces are just seen in a dim manner, it looks uninspiring when compared to the other caves. Probably the historians during the ancient time realized the importance of preserving the heritage of Neolithic mankind and kept the original cave blank. It is my surmise that this cave forms an important epicenter of Neolithic civilization, which is lost to world due to modern trespassing and natures vagaries.
The last Cave belongs to the Jaina period, which is dedicated to the Adinath Tirthankar. There are number of murals of the saint in various forms, most of them following the digambara tradition, which in sublime form is the naked truth.
The entry to the magnificient fortress is closed from the cave temple complex on Vatapi hills. It is reliably learnt there were misfortunate incidents of tourist slipping and succumbing to injury.
Many a times a package tour can let you down, to explore Badami completely. We took the initiative of driving down to this world class destination. Badami is located 498 kms away from Blore, ideally covered via NH4 from Bangalore via Hubli. One should go by their observation and start trekking the various routes. If one were to really explore Badami, than even a weeks stay would be less, one would be left grasping for more time to learn the history. Badami is a storehouse of architecture and is considered the college for sculptures. Look at the stone and its texture. It is as if the nature has provided all the tools for blending by the artisans of Chalukyan era.
For further details check out my detailed travelouge : http://indiabackpacker.blogspot.com/search/label/Badami%20travelouge