File:6th century Harihara (left half Shiva, right half Vishnu) in Cave 3, Badami Hindu cave temple Karnataka 1.jpg
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English: Cave 3 in Badami, Karnataka is the oldest known Hindu temple in the Deccan region of the Indian subcontinent. It was inaugurated on November 1, 578 CE, full moon day during the reign of Kirtivarma I of Chalukya dynasty. It is a Vaishnavism temple, yet reverentially displays legends and ideas of Shaivism and Shaktism. It also displays a major statue of Harihara, a Shiva-Vishnu composite deity based on the ancient Hindu theology that they are equivalent and different ways of conceptualizing the same theology. The Cave 3 is the largest cave temple in Badami-Pattadkal region with elaborate artwork, all carved out of a single monolithic rock. Some of the statues and reliefs are larger than life size, yet proportional.
The Cave 3 art shows narrative frieze panels from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Purana and Hindu fables text Panchatantra. The ceilings show Vedic deities such as Agni and Indra, along with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Other deities displayed include love god and goddess Kama and Rati respectively, as well as Nayikas with various emotional expressions. The carvings show the same vahana for the various gods and goddesses that are found in contemporary Hinduism. Evidence of pigment remains have survived and are visible in the ceiling. It is likely that the ceiling was elaborately painted like those in Ajanta Caves of Maharashtra.
The artwork and image of Vishnu from sacrum sanctum is missing. Elsewhere, artists have signed their names below their artwork. A major inscription commemorates the temple.
Badami, also mentioned as Vatapi, Vatapipura and Vatapinagari in historical texts, was an important ancient and early medieval era capital. It is the site of the earliest Hindu cave temples in South India whose date can be established with certainty.
The earliest cave temple (Cave 3, Vaishnavism) is from the 6th century, with Cave 1 (Shaivism) built shortly thereafter. Cave 2 (Vaishnavism) is dated to the 7th century. Cave 4 features theology and ideas of Jainism, built after the first three.The Badami region is home to numerous medieval era Hindu and Jain temples and monuments. It also has artwork that seem like Buddhist monuments but the syncretic nature of the artwork make them difficult to categorize as belonging to Buddhism or Hinduism.
|Author||Ms Sarah Welch|
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