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Sculpture of Vishnu as Trivikrama, in Cave III, Badami, Bijapur District

Sculpture of Vishnu as Trivikrama, in Cave III, Badami, Bijapur District

Photographer: Burgess, James

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1874

Shelfmark: Photo 1000/3(336)

Item number: 10003336

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the sculpture of Vishnu as Trivikrama in Cave 3 at Badami, taken by James Burgess in 1874. Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was the capital of the early Chalukya rulers in the 6th - 8th 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 shrines while structural temples dominate the site on the opposite north fort. At the eastern end of the lake there is the Bhutanatha temple complex. Cave 3 was excavated during the reign of the early Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin I in 578 and is the finest of the caves of Badami. 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. Large figurative panels in high relief are carved at the end of the porch. The large panel in high relief seen in this photograph represents Vishnu Trivikrama. Following a myth Vishnu, disguised as the dwarf Vamana, transformed himself into the giant Trivikrama to fight against the demon king Bali and asked that he might have as much land as he could cover in three paces. When Bali agreed, Trivikrama with one stride covered the heavens, with a second stride covered the earth, but before he could take a third stride, Bali pleaded for him to stand on his head instead. This pushed Bali down into the underworld where he became master while Vishnu became the master of the universe.

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