General view from the right of the entrance to Hindu rock-cut temple, Cave III, Badami
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the entrance of Cave III at Badami, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1880s. Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was the capital of the Early Chalukya rulers in the 6th - 8th centuries and is situated in modern day Karnataka. Two hills of red sandstone, separated by an artificial lake, dominate the town, both of which are topped with a later fort. Below and around the north fort, there are a number of structural temples, whilst at the opposite side of the town, cut into the rock immediately below the southern fort, there are four shrines which are the most well known of Badami's temples. The most elaborate of these is cave 3 which was excavated during the reign of the early Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin I in 578. Dedicated to Vishnu, it has an elaborate sculptural ornamentation and consists of a square sanctuary excavated into the rear wall of a large columned mandapa or hall approached through a long outer porch. The columns have sculpted medallions containing amorous couples on their shafts, lotus ornament and garland motifs. The external wall is decorated with a frieze of ganas or dwarf attendants. At the ends of the porch there are large sculpted deities in high relief.