Skip to main content

Badami Cave Temple Cave 3 is dedicated to Vishnu; it is the largest and most intricately carved cave in the complex. It has well carved, giant figures of Trivikrama, Anantasayana, Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha.Cave 3's primary theme is Vaishnavite, though it also shows Harihara on its southern wall – half Vishnu and half Shiva shown fused as one, making the cave important to Shaivism studies. Cave 3, also facing north, is 60 steps away from Cave 2. Cave 3's temple's verandah is 70 feet in length with an interior width of 65 feet it has been sculpted 48 feet deep into the mountain; an added square shrine at the end extends the cave 12 feet further inside.

The verandah itself is 7 feet wide and has four free-standing, carved pillars separating it from the hall. The cave is 15 feet high; it is supported by six pillars, each measuring 2.5 square feet. Each column and pilaster are carved with wide, deep bases crowned with capitals that are partly hidden by brackets on three sides. Each bracket, except for one, has carvings of human figures standing under foliage in different postures, of male and female mythological characters, and an attendant figure of a dwarf.

A moulded cornice in the facia, with a dado of blocks below it , has about thirty compartments carved with series of two fat dwarves called ganas.The cave shows a Kama scene on one pillar, where a woman and a man are in maithuna embrace beneath a tree. Cave 3 also shows fresco paintings on the ceiling, some of which are faded, broken and unclear. These are among the earliest known surviving evidence of fresco painting in Indian art.The Hindu god Brahma is seen in one of the murals; the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, attended by various Hindu deities, is the theme of another.There is a lotus medallion on the floor underneath the mural of the four-armed Brahma. The sculpture is well preserved, and a large number of Vishnu's reliefs including standing Vishnu with eight arms; Vishnu seated on the hooded serpent Shesha on the eastern side of the verandha; Vishnu as Narasimha ; Varaha fully armed in the back wall of the cave; Harihara and Trivikrama avatars.

The back wall also has carvings of Vidhyadharas holding offerings to Varaha; adjoining this is an inscription dated 579 AD with the name Mangalis inscribed on it. At one end of the pilaster is a sculpture of Vamana shown with eight arms this is decorated with various types of weapons. A crescent moon is crafted above his face and the crown of Vishnu decorates his head. He is flanked by Varaha and two other figures; below on his right is his attendant Garuda. The images in front of Vamana are three figures of Bali and his wife with Shukra, his councillor.Reliefs stand 4 metres tall. Some aspects of the culture and clothing in the 6th century is visible in the art sculpted in this cave. The roof of the verandah has seven panels created by cross beams; each is painted in circular compartments with images of deities including Shiva, Vishnu, Indra, Brahma and Kama, with smaller images of Dikpalas with geometric mosaics filling the gaps at the corners.

The roof of the front aisle has panels with murals in the centre of male and female figurines flying in the clouds; the male figure is yaksha holding a sword and a shield. The decoration of lotus blooms is also seen on the panels. The roof of the hall is divided into nine panels slightly above the level of the ceiling. The central panel here depicts a deva mounted on a ram – conjectured to be Agni. Images of Brahma and Varuna are also painted on the central panels the floating figures are seen in the remaining panels.

Add new comment