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Time travel with the Chalukyas

Explore the magnificence and beauty of the Early Chalukya temples, spread across Badami and its surrounding areas, courtesy a new title, Temple Architecture and Art of the Early Chalukyas

Temple tourism

This is the Lower Shivalaya temple perched on the North Fort above Badami.

Lower Shivalaya temple
This is the Lower Shivalaya temple perched on the North Fort above Badami. Only the towered sanctuary of this temple survives, its outer walls having been altogether dismantled. Originally the temple was surrounded by a passageway on three sides.

Only the towered sanctuary of this temple survives, its outer walls having been altogether dismantled. Originally the temple was surrounded by a passageway on three sides.

The cave temples in Badami and Aihole, built by the Early Chalukyas, are epitomes of rock-cut architecture in this part of the Deccan. This one is a columned aisle in Cave 3 above Badami, the largest cave temple of the Early Chalukyas.
The cave temples in Badami and Aihole, built by the Early Chalukyas, are epitomes of rock-cut architecture in this part of the Deccan. This one is a columned aisle in Cave 3 above Badami, the largest cave temple of the Early Chalukyas. PIC COURTESY/TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE AND ART OF THE EARLY CHALUKYAS

Virupaksha temple
Column sculpture in the north porch of the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal. While most columns of the Early Chalukya temples bear motifs of couples, some also have solo figurines adorning them.

Steps leading up to the cave temples in the South Fort above Badami. Known as Vatapi in the ancient times, Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukya rulers.

South Fort above Badami
Steps leading up to the cave temples in the South Fort above Badami. Known as Vatapi in the ancient times, Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukya rulers. Four cave temples have been excavated in this region — two dedicated to Vishnu, one to Shiva, and one to the Jains.

Four cave temples have been excavated in this region — two dedicated to Vishnu, one to Shiva, and one to the Jains.

Galaganatha temple
A close-up of the tower of the Galaganatha temple, displaying its intricate design which were created using gavakshas (a decorative element used in temple towers).

A close-up of the tower of the Galaganatha temple, displaying its intricate design which were created using gavakshas (a decorative element used in temple towers).

sculpture of Vishnu asleep on Sesha (serpent deity) at one of the Early Chalukya temples
A sculpture of Vishnu asleep on Sesha (serpent deity) at one of the Early Chalukya temples

About the early Chalukyas
According to the book, from the second half of the sixth century to the middle of the eighth century AD, the Deccan region of peninsular India came under the sway of a line of rulers, based for most of this period in the Badami region.


Temple Architecture and Art of the Early Chalukyas, George Michell and Surendra Kumar, Niyogi Books, R2,500. Available at leading bookstores.

This dynasty is popularly referred to as the Early Chalukyas. Though the Early Chalukya kings worshipped different Hindu deities, and possibly even Jain Tirthankaras, they used the boar associated with Vishnu’s Varaha incarnation as their dynastic emblem.

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