Bhutanatha Temple from Badami caves
Badami cave temples are a group of 4 rock cut caves temple. First 3 cave temples are Brahmanical, while the fourth is Jain. The Cave 1 is having important carvings, in this cave an 18-armed dancing Shiva is excellently carved out, also two-handed Ganesha, Mahishasura Mardini, Ardha Nareeshwara & Shankarnarayana too carved in same cave. Cave 2 is having Vaishanavite influence and on ceilings there are carvings of Anantasayana, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva & other Ashtadikpalas (In Hinduism the Guardians of the Directions (Sanskrit: दिक्पाल, Dikpāla) are the deities who rule the specific directions of space according to Hinduism and Vajrayāna Buddhism). Cave 3 is largest and most beautiful among all caves. An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578 AD. Cave 3 is having dedicated carvings on both shaivite and vaishanavite themes. Panels of Trivikrama, Narasimha, Shankaranarayana, Bhuvaraha, Anantasayana & Harihara are engraved in a vigorous style. Cave 4 is based on Jain religion which is having image of Mahavira adorning the sanctum.
Cave No 2 : Dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There are carvings of the various forms of Lord Vishnu from the Dashavatar like Varaha Avatar, Vamana Avatar
Cave No 1 : Excavated around 550 CE ,the first Cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva . Situated on a elevated platform it has intricate carvings of Lord Shiva in His different forms like Harihara, Natraj ( in the Tandav Pose) etc.
Early morning at 7 am was a visit to the extremely beautiful Badami Caves. (Recommended to visit the Caves early morning when the tourist crowd is less)Badami Caves an UNESCO Heritage site , was a formative stage for the development of temple architecture during the Chalukya rule along with Aihole where experiments were further conducted on the temple architecture. The completed form of temple architecture can be seen in Pattadakal.The Badami Caves comprise of 4 Caves with exquisitely carved animals ,human figures,Gods and Demi gods,scenes from Epics and Puranas.