Cave Temples of Badami – Cave 4 of 4

See my previous posts on the 6th century Cave Temples of Badami, in Northern Karnataka:
Cave One is dedicated to Shiva as the impressive Nataraja; and Devi as Mahisasuramardini.
Cave Two honors Vishnu and his avataars Varaha and Vamana.
Cave Three is also dedicated to Vishnu, and holds some of the most impressive works of art of his avataars Narasimha.

Cave Four is dedicated to Mahavir and the 24 Tirthankaras.

As you step on the front porch, the pride of place on the immediate left is taken by an imposing sculpture of Mahavir.
Jaina Cave 4 of the Cave Temples of Badami

The craftsmanship of his facial features is exquisite and so elegantly portrays the experience of bliss. Gaze at this crop!
Jaina Cave 4 of the Cave Temples of Badami

Inside, the pillars were covered with finely carved images of meditating figures. Note how the natural striations in the rock add to the beauty of the artistry.
Jaina Cave 4 of the Cave Temples of Badami

Another sculpture of Mahavir inside the cave. Here, the striation on the walls covered with meditating figures draws our eyes to the Tirthankara protected in his alcove.
Jaina Cave 4 of the Cave Temples of Badami

A group of women and girls taking a break from climbing the hill to enjoy all the caves!
Jaina Cave 4 of the Cave Temples of Badami

NB: I have denoted the two larger images as Mahavira; I am not certain if they represent any of the other Tirthankaras. If you have any good evidence to indicate otherwise, please bring it to my attention.

Writeup and pics from the other Cave Temples of Badami:

NYTimes article on the Jain Masters: Compassionate Masters of the Universe.

20 thoughts on “Cave Temples of Badami – Cave 4 of 4

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  1. Absolutely spectacular pics Arun… thank you so much for sharing. I’ve never been here, but am definitely planning a little trip on my next visit to India…

    This particular picture however is of Bahubali-ji, the son of the first tirthankar – Rushabhdev, the same of the Shravanbelgola temple. He is quite popular with the Digambara sect of Jains, so there are quite a few idols of him in Karnataka, MP etc. Legend has it that he was fighting for the control of the whole empire with his brother, Bharat (parallel to the Hindu story) but at the last minute he decided to leave that, and follow his father into the spiritual path. His mild arrogance didnt let him bow down to his juniors by birth, but seniors in the religious order.. so he penanced alone – for a long long time. Over time the leaves etc began to grow around him, and the creepers creeped up his body (so the idol always has vegetation on it) – but he still didnt achieve self actualization. He was then made to realise the error of his ways after a cryptic message from his sisters, and the minute he stepped forward to ask for forgiveness, he achieved self actualization. He is not a tirthankar though, but has achieved keval-gyan and this is on par with the other tirthankars.

    Each of the 24 tirthankars have their own symbol, but there was none under this idol. The symbol of Mahavir is a lion.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers, Ruchi

    1. Hi Ruchi
      Sorry for not replying to this earlier. Really fabulous information. Based on what you said I have gone back and done a lot of research on these caves and it appears I will have to rewrite this series of posts.

      Oh, well – that is the good part of having an online post, its easy to edit.

      And thank you for taking the time to help me with this.

      Best Wishes

  2. Thanks Lakshmi!
    There is so much more to see in Badami. I just watched Guru the movie and recognized Ash and Abhi wedding (in the movie) at a small temple near the caves. 🙂

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