Friday, October 14, 2011

Second Cave Temple of Badami

The second cave is dedicated to Vishnu in his Varaha and Vamana avataras. The cave has a verandah and ascending a few steps is the pillared hall and a sanctum santorium cut out into the cliff from the rear wall of the cave temple. In the outer walls of the verandah we find two dwarapalakas standing with lotus flowers in hand, and are flanked by a women at the bottom. The symbolism used by the crafters while depicting men, women, ganas or animals in smaller sizes might be to show their stature hence they could be servants or helpers.

As we enter the pillared hall we find the sculptures of Bhuvaraha to our right and that of Trivikrama to our left. Varaha Swamy is the Deity worshipped by the Chalukya Kings and is the emblem and royal seal. According to legend Vishnu in the form of Varaha (A boar) rescued Prithvi (Earth) lifted the Earth out of the ocean. Here Earth is depicted as Prithvi maata (Mother Earth) hence we can find Varaha swamy sculpture holding up  a lady, while  celestial beings watch him reverently.

The wall on the other side of the pillared hall is adorned with the depiction of a detailed story of Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Vishnu in his dwarf form went to the asura king Bali and asked him for dakshina (offering to a brahmin) while the king was performing a yagam. The king was obliged to grant him dakshina as he asked for them at such an auspicious occassion. The king who was resourceful and prosperous didn't think twice in granting the dakshina of a dwarf brahmin's choice of three foot land. As soon as the king agreed Vishnu in the form of a dwarf brahmin assumed a gigantic form and placed one foot on the Heavens and one on the Earth and asked Bali where he should place the third foot for which Bali bent down humbly on his knees and offered his head on which Vamana kept his third foot.

The sculpture depicts the whole story in one scene where we can see Vamana as a dwarf with a bowl in his right hand and an umbrella in his left. King Bali promising his dakshina by offering water from his kalasa. Then Vishnu assuming his gigantic form and extending his feet. Finally Bali admitting his frailty and submitting to Vishnu by clinging to Vishnus leg.

The ganas appear in different postures as musicians and dancers celebrating.

Celestial couple depicted in the ceiling of the Cave 2

 Design of Swastiks on the ceiling

Vishnu riding on Garuda 

 Depictions of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva,

 Bead and Flower designs embossed on to the faces of the pillars.

 Flower and Fish design on the ceiling                                             Celestial couples depicted on the face  of the pillars.
 Towards Cave 3

Madhu Latha (Dogiparthi) Srungavarapu

Thursday, October 13, 2011

First cave temple of Badami

 The first cave temple is dedicated to Shiva. Although Chalukyans were Vaishnavites they encouraged the building of temples of Shaivites, Jains etc., This was the first cave temple to be excavated and said to be built at around 550 A.D.

The Cave has a L-shaped courtyard, an open verandah, a pillared hall and a sancum that has been excavated into the center of the rear wall. As we enter the thing that commands our attention the most is the intricately carved sculpture of Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja with 18 arms depicting nine different bharatanatyam postures. An awesome sight to welcome any art enthusiast. Though as we move on we find that this was only the beginning of a beautiful discovery. A glimpse into the past, an insight into the lives of the people that lived a long time ago. 

While entering the first cave temple we find the enormous depictions of  'Arthanarishwara' to the right and of the pillared hall and the sculpture of 'Harihara' to the left.

 The sculpture of Ardhanarishwara is flanked by a richly decorated Bringi, Nandi, Celestial beings on the top and a serving girl. A frienze of dwarf Ganas in different postures are depicted at the pedestal of the sculpture. This sculpture represents the union of Man(eshwara) and Woman(Nari) in perfect union. The form of Shiva and Parvati as Arthanarishwara symbolizes the equality of the sexs.

The Sculpture to the left depicting Harihara, Hari meaning Vishnu and Hara meaning Shiva. This sculpture symbolizes the equality of both Vishnu and Shiva. They are flanked by their consorts Lakshmi and Parvati.

The other noted sculptures in the cave are that of Mahishasura mardini, a form of all powerful Shakti.

The fascade of the celing is decorated beautifully carved celestial couples.

The celing of the verandah is adored with a five hooded Naga flanked by more charming celestial couples.

The pillars that separate the verandah from the hall are fluted upperparts with cushion capitals. Apart from bead-garlands and other finely carved decorations, the pillar faces have smaller depictions of iha- mrigas (dream animals)  and some deities like Ganesha and Narasimha.

Madhu Latha (Dogiparthi) Srungavarapu