Photograph of a temple car at Banashankari, near Badami in north Karnataka, taken by Thomas Biggs in 1855, from Taylor and Fergusson’s ‘Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore’. The little town of Banashankari, a few kilometres away from Badami, takes its name from the goddess to whom a temple is built here. Banashankari is a fierce form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva, and her image enshrined here shows her as black and eight-armed and seated on a snarling lion. The goddess is particularly venerated by the local weaving community. The temple is said to have been built by the Chalukyas of Kalyana perhaps in the 12th century. The annual temple festival of Banashankari, in January-February, draws huge crowds and the streets surrounding the temple become part of a colourful fair. In India, during important religious festivals, the statues of the gods worshipped in the temples are carried on huge wooden chariots called rathas in a procession formed of the devotees. These chariots, up to five-six metres in height and weighing several tonnes, are pulled along on enormous wheels of solid wood by dozens of men. They are minutely carved with figures of gods and look like movable temples.

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THE history of Pattadakal goes back to a time when it was called Kisuvolal, a valley of red soil. It even found a mention in Ptolemy’s Geography in the 2nd century CE. Presently Pattadakal is located in the district of Bagalkot, state of Karnataka, India

The Chalukyas of Badami (ancient Vatapi) or Early Chalukyas (543-753 CE) built a large complex of temples for royal commemoration and coronation in Pattadakal. This complex is on the left bank of the Malaprabha River which runs further north to meet the river Krishna. It was accorded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 1987.

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Article by Dhruba RC || Photos by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra and Arian Zwegers on AHE

Photograph of the Rameshvara Cave at Ellora, from the Curzon Collection: ‘Views of Caves of Ellora and Dowlatabad Fort in H.H. the Nizam’s Dominions’ taken by Deen Dayal in the 1890s. The spectacular site of Ellora, in Maharashtra, is famous for its series of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were done under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the sixth and the ninth centuries. The Hindu cave of Rameshvara was excavated in the late 6th century and is famous for the beauty of its sculptures. A courtyard with Nandi seated on a plinth precedes a verandah. This view shows the sensuously carved female figures that adorn the brackets on either side of the verandah pillars. On the left of the verandah there is a sculptured figure of the goddess Ganga standing on her vehicle, the makara, an aquatic monster.

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Mahakuta Temple Complex
The Mahakuta group of temples is located in Mahakuta, a village in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, India.
It is an important place of worship for Hindus and the location of a well-known Shaiva monastery. The temples are dated to the 6th or 7th century CE and were constructed by the early kings of the Chalukya dynasty of Badami.
(via Unknown Ancient Historical Tourist Destinations in India)

Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of a sculpture of Mahishamardini from the Ravana Phadi Cave at Aihole, by an Indian draftsman, dated 1853.

Aihole was one of the capitals and an important commercial centre of the Early Western Chalukya, a powerful dynasty which ruled the Deccan from the sixth century. Together with the two other capitals of Badami and Pattadakal, the site has preserved many Hindu and Jain temples which belong to a period that goes from the sixth to the 12th centuries, belonging to the Early and Late Chalukya periods and to the Rashtrakuta era. 

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Photograph of a sculptured panel in Cave XIV (Ravana ka khai) at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1870s. The spectacular site of Ellora has a series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were carried out under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and 9th centuries. The Hindu Cave Ravana ki khai was excavated in the early 7th century. It is a single storey construction that comprises a small sanctuary adjoining a square mandapa and verandah. There are figural panels on the back wall; the panel in this view represents Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, lifting the earth goddess Prithvi.

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Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of a sculpture of a guardian figure (dvarapala), dancing Shiva and Mahishasura Mardini from Cave I, Badami, by an Indian draftsman, dated 1853.

Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was the capital of the Early Chalukya rulers in the sixth - eighth centuries. The town is situated between two rocky hills of red sandstone that surround an artificial lake. There are two later forts that overlook

the town. Around the south fort there are four rock-cut cave temples. Cave I is the earliest of the rock cut caves of Badami and belongs to the late sixth century.

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