Monday, July 14, 2008


Shravanabelagola is located 51 km south east of Hassan in Karnataka at an Altitude of about 3350 feet above sea level. There are excellent roads from Bangalor and Mysore. The nearest airport is Banglore which at a distance of 157 km. and the nearest railway station is Hassan. It is a little township tucked away between Indragiri and Chandragiri hills. The colossal rock cut statue of saint Gommata at Shravanabelagola is the most magnificent among all Jaina works of art. It was built in circa 982 AD and is described as one of the mightiest achievements of ancient Karnataka in the realm of sculptural art. Also referred to as Lord Bahubali, the image is nude an stands upright in the posture of meditation known as kayotsarga, reaching a height of nearly 57 ft atop the Vindyagiri of Doddabetta hills accessible through a flight of 500 steps. The image of Gommata has curly hair in ringlets and long, large ears. His eyes are open as if viewing the world with detachment. His facial features are perfectly chiseled with a faint touch of a smile at the corner of his lips and embody calm vitality. His shoulders are broad, his arms stretch straight down and the figure has no support from the thigh upwards.

Nagarhole National Park India

The Nagarhole national park lies at a distance of 96 kms from Mysore. This protected territory is the habitat of several endangered species. Nagarhole derives its name from the root word `Naga' from Kannada language, which means `snake' and `Hole' that means `streams'. Thus the term as a whole point towards the numerous streams that leaps through the rich tropical forests of Nagarhole like a snake.

Queen's bath

The most elaborate of the bathhouses is the 'Queen's bath' situated in the citadel area, south of the Hazara Rama temple. The building is a large square structure, remarkable for the contrast between its plain exterior and the very ornate interior.


Hampi, the outstanding land of breathtaking surprises was founded in the middle of 14th centuary by two local princes, Hakka and Bukka. The city was sacked pillaged and burnt in 1565 AD, after the combined attack of armies of muslim Sultanates of the deccan defeated the Vijayanagar Military Commander and the King fled the Cap[ital today, the terrain is dominated by rocky hills and the mighty Tungabhadra River, which flows though this rugged Landscape. One can still take glimpse of the mind-blowing Vijayanagara-one of the largest empires in the history of India in its runs. The Vijayanagar Kings were great patrons of Art and Architecure as evident by the vast ruins of Hampi

The Golden Chariot train

The Golden Chariot

Welcome aboard a fascinating journey through the many worlds of Karnataka. Embark on a luxurious voyage of discovery through the Cradle of Stone Architecture. THE GOLDEN CHARIOT train named after the famous Stone Chariot in Hampi, a world heritage site, in Southern India will travel through timeless Historical Heritage Sites, Resplendent Palaces, Wildlife and Golden Beaches. It’s 7 Nights / 8 Days colorful journey begins every Monday from Bangalore and traverses through Mysore, visiting Srirangapatna, Mysore Palace; the Nagarhole National Park (Kabini) and continuing to the historical sites of Shravanabelagola, Belur-the 11th century cradle of Hoysala architecture and a world heritage site, Halebidu, Hampi and thereafter entering into the triangular heritage site of Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole, and finally the Golden Beaches of Goa before ending in Bangalore.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


There is an anthill in the background which signifies his incessant penance. From this anthill emerge a snake and a creeper which twine around both his legs and his arms culminating as a cluster of flowers and berries at the upper portion of the arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus signifying the totality attained in installing this unique statue. On either side of Gommata stand two tall and majestic chauri bearers in the service of the Lord. One of them is a yakshi and the other one is a yakshi. These richly ornamented and beautifully carved figures complement the main figure. Carved on the rear side of the anthill is also a trough for collecting water and other ritual ingredients used for the sacred bath of the image.

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple : The Virupaksha Temple at the western end is one of the earliest structures in the city. The main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Overlooking Virupaksha temple to the South, Hemakuta hill has several scattered ruins, which includes Jain temples and a monolithic structure of Narasimha

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pattadakal Temple

Pattadakal had once been the rich capital of the Chalukyas. During 7th - 8th century, Pattadakal Temples were got constructed by the Chalukya rulers. Portraying the rare specimen, the temples depict a wonderful blend of Dravidian (South-Indian) and Nagara (North-Indian) architectural styles. The phrase 'beauty in ruins' goes exactly with the town of Pattadakal. The beautiful settlement appears majestic with its series of nine temples.

Pattadakal Temple

The sculptural art of these temples is marked by classiness of the Chalukya dynasty. Pattadakal emerges as a heavenly site with its superb architectural marvels in a picture-perfect lane. The distinct styles and patterns of various temples reveal the designers' intelligence at a stretch. The temples of Pattadakal receive myriad number of tourists, who come from the distant lands, round the year.

Out of all, four temples are built in Dravidian style, four in Nagara style and Papanatha Temple illustrates a perfect blend of both styles of architecture. In the 8th century, Kashivisvanatha Temple was constructed by the Rashtrakutas. Built in north Indian style, Galganatha Temple encompasses a sculpture of Lord Shiva killing the demon Andhakasura. Kasi Visweswara is another temple that boasts of the nagara style of architecture. The important ones are discussed below in detail.

Pattadakal Temple

Pattadakal saw the Badami Chalukya art in its full bloom. It is 22 km away from Badami and 514 km from Bangalore. Here the best temples of the style, the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna are seen. These were built by the queens of Vikramaditya II (734-44) in memory of his victorious march against Kanchi, the Pallava capital, and the temples were named by them after themselves as the Lokeshwara (by Lokadevi) and Trailokeshwara (by Trailokadevi), which came to be known as the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna respectively. The two magnificent temples with their nicely engraved lively figures on walls and the massive square pillars are in sand stone. Pattadakal itself was known as Kisuvolal (`Red Town') as the sand stone here is reddish in colour.

The Sangameshwara, Chandrashekhara, Jambuling and Kadasideeshwara are the other major temples here, and Pattadakal has also a Jaina basadi of Rashtrakuta times with two beautiful elephants in this front. The Galaganath here which is dilapidated, has caurvilinear (rekhanagara) shikhara.

Getting here:
Pattadakal is well connected by road and rail to Bangalore and Mysore. Regular buses ply from Bijapur to Pattadakal.

Pattadakal saw the Badami Chalukya art in its full bloom. It is 22 km away from Badami and 514 km from Bangalore. Here the best temples of the style, the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna are seen. These were built by the queens of Vikramaditya II (734-44) in memory of his victorious march against Kanchi, the Pallava capital, and the temples were named by them after themselves as the Lokeshwara (by Lokadevi) and Trailokeshwara (by Trailokadevi), which came to be known as the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna respectively. The two magnificent temples with their nicely engraved lively figures on walls and the massive square pillars are in sand stone. Pattadakal itself was known as Kisuvolal (`Red Town') as the sand stone here is reddish in colour.

Dogs at Badami

Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I(535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas. His sons Kirthivarman (567-598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (598-610 AD) constructed the cave temples. The greatest among them was Pulakeshi II (610-642 AD) who defeated many kings including Pallava king Mahendra Verman I and extended the kingdom.

The rock-cut Badami Cave Temples were sculpted mostly between the 6th and 8th centuries. The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. cave 1 is devoted to Shiva, and Caves 2 and 3 are dedicated to Vishnu, whereas cave 4 displays reliefs of Jain Tirthankaras. Deep caverns with carved images of the various incarnations of Hindu gods are strewn across the area, under boulders and in the red sandstone. From an architectural and archaeological perspective, they provide critical evidence of the early styles and stages of the southern Indian architecture.

Badami Cave

Badami, today a sleepy little town on a red sandstone ridge, was once the capital of the great Chalukyan Empire that controlled most of peninsular India between the 4th and 8th centuries AD.The Chalukyas are credited with some of the best traditions of Dravidian architecture including an experimental blend of older South Indian temple architecture and the nagara style of north India, which passed into the Dravidian temple-building convention. Rock Caves, Badami

At this site you can see the finest of the early works in that style. There are ruins of temples and rock cut caves much of the exquisite sculpting has survived the two decades since Badami ceased to be the administrative centre of the kingdom. Badami was the capital from 540 to 757 AD, after which the Chalukyans lost out to the emerging power, the Rashtrakutas.

Badami saw a succession of rulers of which the Chalukyas were only the most important. There is architecture and sculpture here from periods ranging as far back as the 7th century AD Pallava rule to as recently as the 19th century Marathas.

Badami Cave

The Station Road is the main road in Badami; the architectural complex lies to the east of it. There are four sets of caves. The oldest, Cave 1, has stunning carvings of Shiva in his Nataraja avatar, dancing the apocalyptic tandava. There are also carvings of the god in the Ardhanarishvara form where he is depicted as half man-half woman, the woman half representing his wife Parvati. Yet another carving is of Harihara, the right half of this figure depicts Shiva - the Destroyer and the left, Vishnu - the Preserver. Caves 2 and 3 are dedicated entirely to Vishnu, whereas Cave 4 is has an image of the Jain tirthankara, Adinath.

Other sites of note are the 5th century Agastyatirtha Tank, the fort and the Bhutanath temples. The local archaeological museum has some fine specimens of carvings from the area including a collection of Lajja-Gauri images. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Friday.

Badami Cave Temple

The archaeological museum of Badami has Nandi, Lord Shiva's bull, at its entrance. This museum is closed on Fridays. It houses superb examples of local sculptures, including the remarkable Lajja-Gauri images of fertility cult, which flourished in the era. Badami Fort is strategically situated on top of the hill, enclosing large granaries, impressive temples on top of the northern end of the hill. Malegitti Shivalaya, perhaps the oldest temple of the lot, is dedicated to the benign aspect of Shiva as the garland maker. Placed on the summit of a rocky hill, the temple is built of stone, finely joined without mortar and with Dravidian tower. The lower Shivalaya has a Dravidian tower of which only the sanctum remains now. Around Badami there is the Naganath Temple, which is 10 Kms away and located in a forest on the way to Mahakuta. It is one of the early Chalukyan temples dedicated to Shiva


Getting Around Badami:Local buses, taxis, auto rickshaws and horse-drawn tongas fulfil the visitor’s ‘getting around’ needs. One can rent bicycles from the many cycle-stalls on Station Road. Buses to nearby Pattadakal and Aihole are frequent. The first is a mere half an hour by bus from Badami while the second takes a two-hour journey. Keep in mind that the last bus back from Aihole leaves around 4:30 pm and the last buses from Pattadakal are at about 6 pm. You could alternatively hire a cab for the trip. It is possible to visit both these historical sites on a one day outing if you leave Badami early enough in the morning.

Badami Cave Temple


A number of annual temple festivals are held in towns near Badami. The annual temple festival, held at Banashankari, in the month of January-February is worth visiting; so are the Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and Mallikarjuna Temple Festival held in Pattadakal during March-April.


Aihole is a glorious part of India and a trip to this great center of medieval Indian art and architecture would make you aware of a great heritage. Aihole is situated on the banks of the river Malaprabha. The cave temple of Ravana Phadi stands all by itself backed against the rocky hill out of which it has been carved. Plan your trip to Aihole and fix your date with history.

All across Karnataka, invaders, conquerors and dynasties have come and gone. They have left their imprint on the land, its people and their folkways. Nowhere is this more evident than at Aihole in Northern Karnataka.

The Chalukya Dynasty was founded by Pulakesin I, or the Great Lion, in AD 543. In all likelihood, his family was feudatories of the earlier Kadamba dynasty before they declared their independence from their former lords.

This period saw the construction of great architectural wonders not only at Aihole but the whole region including Badami, Pattadakal, and other places. Its own district officers, the Rashtrakutas in AD 757, ousted the early Chalukya dynasty. Later on, Aihole became a part of the Bahmani and other local Muslim dynasties. In the 17th century, Aurangzeb annexed the Deccan and made it a part of the Mughal Empire and Aihole, as a part of that region, came under the Mughal rule.

Prime Attractions in Ailhole

Prime Attractions in and around Ailhole
Ailhole, the earliest capital of the Chalukyas, a picturesque village nestling on the banks of the Malaprabha river and overflowing with clusters of the most beautiful temples. Ailhole has over a hundred temples scattered around the village. The sculptures of Ailhole temples have superb architecture. Wherever one looks, it is temples that meet the eyes. Intricately carved, rich in detail, quiet and peaceful. The oldest temple here is perhaps the Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th Century. On the roof of the temple is another shrine-like vimana. The Durga (Fort) Temple is notable for its semicircular apes, elevated plinth and the gallery that encircles the sanctum. The interior is filled with fascinating carvings. Chamundi Devi trampling the buffalo demon, Narasimha - the half-man, half-female deity. Then there is image of the fearsome Mahishasuramardini or the Mother Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahisha.

The Huthimalli Temple - out in the village - has a sculpture of Vishnu sitting atop a large cobra. Dating back to the 6th century, the Ravalpathi Cave cave-temple celebrates the many forms of Lord Shiva. This cave is well worth a long visit. Inside the cave is the beautiful statue of dancing Shiva who seems to be trembling with motion. Not-to-be-missed is the Konthis Temple Complex (Kwanthi Gudi), the Uma Maheshwari Temple, the Jain Meguti Temple and the two-storeyed Buddhist Temple.

Climb up the stairs and you will come across a tranquil, smiling Buddha carved on the ceiling. In the main Aihole temple complex there are about a hundred shrines, large and small, dotted all across this abandoned capital of the Chalukyas though only a few of them are in the fenced area. Of particular interest is the Durg Temple, which is not only the most decorated monument in Aihole, but it is also famous as an imitation of a Buddhist rock-cut Chaitya hall.

The early Chalukyas inherited architectural styles largely from their neighbours to the north and south of their kingdom.[1] Usage of curved towers decorated with blind arches came from northern India. Pilastered walls with panel inserts are a southern Indian style. The usage of Deccan style is in their balcony seating, angled eaves and sloping roofs, and elaborately carved columns and ceilings (George Michell,1997). In short, they artistically brought together the prevailing styles in their neighbourhood to create the Chalukyan style.

Typical features unique to Early Western Chalukyan architecture include mortarless assembly, an emphasis on length rather than width or height, flat roofs, richly carved ceilings, and, sculpturally, an emphasis on relatively few major figures, which tend to be isolated from each other rather than arranged in crowded groups. The aesthetic sensibility of sculpture from this period also seems to retain a certain classical quality whose impulse does not carry over into later periods of Indian art (Susan Huntington, 1985).

Once the capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries), Aihole is a picturesque village on the banks of the Malaprabha river. Variously called Ayyavole & Aryapura in the inscriptions, Aihole is historically famous as the cradle of Hindu temple architecture. There are about 125 temples divided into 22 groups scattered all over the villages and nearby fields. Most of these temples were built between the 6th & 8th centuries and some even earlier

Only mere traces of a fort dating from the 6th century can be seen today. A large number of prehistoric sites have been found in Morera Angadigalu, near the Meguti hillocks in Aihole. Excavations near some temples have yielded traces of antique pottery and bases of structures constructed with bricks of pre-Chalukyan times. More temples are being excavated every day bearing witness to the vigorous experimentation on temple architecture which went on at Aihole more than 14 centuries ago..

Ladh Khan Temple

The experimental nature of temple building by the Chalukyas is best elaborated in the Ladh Khan Temple, located south of the Durga Temple. Not knowing how to build a temple, they built it in the Panchayat hall style. The windows were filled up with lattice work in the northern style and the sanctum was added later on. The sanctum is built against the back wall and the main shrine has a Shivalinga along with a Nandi. Above the center of the hall, facing the sanctum, is a second smaller sanctum with images carved on the outer walls. The temple, built about 450 AD, gets its name from a Muslim prince who converted it into his residence.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008