The Cave Temples of Badami in Northern Karnataka are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. They are well maintained, and the sculptures are mind blowingly exquisite. Highly recommended. The above is an image of Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Dance. Apparently, his 9 arms on each side create the 81 combinations of Bharatnatyam poses.
This is Shiva as ArdhanariNareshwar – half man and half woman, symbolizing that divine combines aspects of male and female. Note the left side is more shapely, sports a breast, the left hand carries a lotus bud and accompanied by a female attendant.
This is the cave temple itself. Note the beautifully carved pillars. What an amazing feat to turn an ordinary red stone mountain to a work of art. The entire place is carved ‘in’ the mountain!
[click image for larger version]
Writeup and pics from the other Cave Temples of Badami:
- Durga as Mahisasuramardhini, also from Cave 1
- Cave Temples of Badami – 2
- Cave Temples of Badami – 3
- Cave Temples of Badami – 4