Note: Click on the photos in this article to view them at their original resolutions, taken with a 10-22 mm lens. For more realism, view the videos at 720p.

1471 years since Badami became the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas…

The Map of Badami

It was on the morning of August 14th, 2011 AD, that Neal reached the deserted railway station of the taluk of Badami, Karnataka, after travelling for 3 hours in the Sholapur-Gadag Express.

BMTC Auto

Neal caught an Ace auto and headed to his hotel. The road he travelled on had trees on either side, and Neal could see huge boulders in the distance. Along the way, he noticed that autos are to Badami what BMTC buses are to Bangalore. Neal even saw an auto carrying 15 people. The scenery was breathtaking and he felt as though he was the protagonist of the game, Just Cause 2.

ASI Museum

After checking into his hotel, Neal hired another Ace auto, and made his way to the Archaeological Museum set up by the ASI, which was situated directly opposite the famous Badami Caves and separated from it by the Agastya Theerta Lake (not TG of RVCE CSE). Neal entered the museum and observed the treasures it held in the form of excavated statues, rocks, etc. Unfortunately, photography was forbidden inside the museum, and to enforce this rule, CCTVs had been installed in every corner (unfair, ain’t it?).

Bhutanatha Temple

As Neal cursed the ASI, something caught his attention. He moved to the model in front of him; the writing next to it stated that this was a scaled model of the Shidlaphadi Cave, located “nearby”. What was even more fascinating was the fact that this model depicted a prehistoric rock weathered by Nature’s forces since the Stone Age, to form a cave that is 1.5 km in depth! There were prehistoric tools used by prehistoric humans in showcases nearby. Neal was cheesed that he couldn’t take a photo of all this…. “Oh well! I’ll just go to the actual cave,” he thought to himself.

Rock Cut Architecture

Neal exited the Museum, and after taking photos of the Bhutanatha temple across the lake, headed to the Badami Cave Temples, considered to be an example of Indian Rock-Cut architecture. Consisting of four caves carved out of the sandstone on a hill cliff, the combination of the weathering effect of Nature and the carvings (in stone) of gods and goddesses left Neal stunned and spellbound.

Varaha

Nataraja

Mural

Examining these caves, he imagined the people of that long-lost kingdom, chipping away day and night for many years….how hard it must have been to make fantastic figures of correct geometric proportions without the aid of modern machines! On a few ceilings, there still remained some colourful murals and inscriptions in old Kannada.

Agastya Theerta Lake (not TG of RVCE CSE)

On top of these caves, Tipu Sultan had built a fort to protect his city. Until a few years ago, visitors had been allowed to go and explore the fort, but due to the increase in the number of suicides by students, this fort had been locked up. What lay up there still remained a mystery to Neal…In fact; the rest of this cliff was inaccessible to Neal. Neal realized that the cave temples covered only a small fraction of this cliff.

Due to the large number of visitors, Neal saw plenty of monkeys. These fellows pestered visitors, and only when they were offered a bribe in the form of food, they left their victims. Luckily, Neal wasn’t a victim…

Banashankari Temple

Later, Neal headed to the Banashankari Temple with a 360 ft (109.7 m) square water tank in the forefront at the entrance. Neal spotted a Lamp tower on the west bank of the pond and also at the entrance.

Finding that there was nothing else he could do, he descended from this hill, and headed to the auto, with the intention of going over to the Shidlaphadi Cave.

Jacques Clouseau

“What cave?” When this phrase was the only response Neal received from the auto-driver and any passer-by or tourist guide nearby, Neal turned to the World Wide Web for the answer (Lucky for him, there was internet connectivity in that area). This turned out to be a dead-end, because all he got was:
“One of the galleries has a scaled model of a pre-historic rock shelter (Shidlaphadi cave)”and it seemed as if all the other sites shown by Google had copied and pasted this exact same statement everywhere. Even Google Maps couldn’t get him the location. No photos of this model existed online. Soon, Neal began to wonder if the cave even existed. “Perhaps it collapsed…But even if it had, there would be some news on the Internet, wouldn’t there? Maybe the ASI guys made it up.” A whole lot of implausible reasons popped into Neal’s head.

With a heavy heart, Neal had to give up his search. It seemed like the cave was a figment of his imagination. That night, Neal couldn’t sleep. When he finally did sleep, he tossed and turned in his bed, dreaming of the cave and the beings in it. He dreamt that he was a cave-man…Zzzzzzzzz…and rest is left to your imagination.

 

To be Concluded in The Rocks of Time – Part III in the not too distant future. Stay tuned to Jinkchak!!!

Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    imagining u as a cave-man….. with ur spectacles laughing ur head off!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love to disseminate knowledge that I’ve built up through the yr to assist improve group functionality.

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