Uniqueness of Rock Cut Badami Shrines and Overview of Chalukyan Empire

Uniqueness of Rock Cut Badami Shrines and Overview of Chalukyan Empire

Question: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has undertaken the conservation and restoration works of the Chalukyan architecture, at Aihole, in Bagalkote district, where an ancient well inside a temple with stone steps is in a dilapidated state, while the Desaigudi shrine is being restored completely by the ASI. While the group of Chalukya temples at Pattadakkal in Bagalkote district are already UN World Heritage Sites, similar status is sought for the Chalukya heritage temples in Aihole and Badami. Elaborate on uniqueness of the rock cut shrines of Badami and provide an overview of the Chalukya Empire.

Rock Cut Shrines of Badami: Uniqueness

• Rock cut shrines of Badami remain a symbol of Chalukyan architecture from the 6th to the 8th century AD from the regime of Pulikesin-I which lasted from 543-566 AD.

• These shrines are a unique synthesis of Nagara and Dravidian styles later adopted by Hoysalas

• Badami (also called Vatapi) was the capital of the early Chalukyas and it has 4 rock cut temples

• These Chalukyan shrines differ from the rock cut structures of Ajanta in Maharashtra in that each of them have mukha mandapam or a columned hall leading to the artha mandapam

• The rear walls of the mandapas have cell like carvings which are delicate and intricate

• Badami rock cut employs are located on banks of the Agastiya Tirtha lake and are an early instance of rainwater harvesting

• The tank is surrounded by a wall with stone steps

• Cave 1 is dedicated to Lord Siva

• Cave 2 is dated to the 6th century AD

• Cave 3 which is the biggest and most massive early Chalukya rock cut temple represents the Saivite and Vaishnavite influences

• Cave 4 is dedicated to Mahavira and it is smaller than the other three temples

Overview of Chalukya Dynasty

• Chalukya Dynasty was a powerful Indian royal dynasty which ruled large parts of central and southern India between the 6th and 12th century CE

• They ruled as related but individual dynasties

• Badami Chalukya dynasty ruled from the capital Vatapi from the middle of the 6th century

• With the decline of the Kadamba kingdom, Chalukyas began to assert their independence and they ruled from the capital city of Vengi till the 11th century

• In 550, Pulakesi I established the Chalukya dynasty

• The rise of the Rashtrakutas led to the decimation of this empire till the rise of the Chalukya descendants from the West

• The Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani till the end of the 12th century

• The rise of the Chalukyas marked an important era in south Indian history because during the reign of the Badami Chalukyas, this was the first time a South Indian kingdom controlled the region between Kaveri and Narmada rivers

• During the reign of this empire, there was an emergence of the Chalukyan style of architecture

• The 11th century was a time of birth of Telugu literature under the Eastern Chalukyas

Badami Chalukyas:

• Pulakesi I (543 to 566 C.E.)
• Kirtivarman I (566 to 597 C.E.)
• Mangalesa (597 to 609 C.E.)
• Pulakesi II (609 to 642 C.E.)
• Vikramaditya I (655 to 680 C.E.)
• Vinayaditya (680 to 696 C.E.)
• Vijayaditya (696 to 733 C.E.)
• Vikramaditya II (733 to 746 C.E.)
• Kirtivarman II (746 to 753 C.E.)

Chalukyas of Kalyani/ Western Chalukyas (973 to 1200)

• Tailapa II (973 to 997 C.E.)
• Satyasraya (997 to 1008 C.E.)
• Vikramaditya V (1008to1015 C.E.)
• Jayasimha II (1015 to 1042 C.E.)
• Somesvara I (1042 to 1068 C.E.)
• Somesvara II (1068 to 1076 C.E.)
• Vikramaditya VI (1076 to 1126 C.E.)
• Somesvara III (1126 to 1138 C.E.)
• Jagadhekamalla II (1138 to 1151 C.E.)
• Tailapa III (1151 to 1164 C.E.)
• Jagadhekamalla III (1163 to 1183 C.E.)
• Somesvara IV (1184 to 1200 C.E.)

Eastern Chalukyas

• Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624 to 641 C.E.)
• Jayasimha I (641 to 673 C.E.)
• Indra Bhattaraka (673 C.E.)
• Vishnuvardhana II (673 to 682 C.E.)
• Mangi Yuvaraja (682 to 706) C.E.)
• Jayasimha II (706) to 718 C.E.)
• Vishnuvardhana III (719 to 55 C.E.)
• Vijayaditya I (755 to 772 C.E.)
• Vishnuvardhana IV (772 to 808 C.E.)
• Vijayaditya II (808 to 847 C.E.)
• Vishnuvardhana V (847 to 849 C.E.)
• Vijayaditya III (848 to 892 C.E.)
• Bhima I (892 to 921 C.E.)
• Vijayaditta IV (921 C.E.)
• Amma I (921 to 927 C.E.)
• Vikramaditya II (927 to 928 C.E.)
• Yuddamalla II (928 to 935 C.E.)
• Chalukya Bhima II (935 to 947 C.E.)
• Amma II (947 to 970 C.E.)
• Danamava (970 to 973 C.E.)
• Jata Choda Bhima (973 to 1000 C.E.)
• Saktivarman I (1000 to 1011 C.E.)
• Vimaladitya (1011 to 1018 C.E.)
• Rajaraja Narendra (1018 to 1061 C.E.)
• Saktivarman II (1061-1063)
• Vijayaditya VII (1063 to 1068 C.E. , 1072 to 1075 C.E.)

Facts and Stats

• Hieun Tsiang documented how the Chalukyan army comprised infantry, cavalry, elephant unit and a dominant navy

• Empire was divided into Maharashtrakas/provinces and further into minor Rashtrakas/Mandala and Vishaya/district as well as Bhola/ group of 10 villages

• Badami Chalukya coins include Nagari and Kannada legends; a gold coin Gadyana is mentioned in some records

• In Aihole, the Durga temple of the 6th century, Ladh Khan temple (450 CE), Meguti temple (634 CE), Hucchimalli and Huccappayya temples (5th century), Badami Cave Temples (600 CE) are examples of early Chalukyan art. The Papanatha (680 CE) temple shows an attempt to blend the Northern and Southern styles.
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