Monday, September 28, 2009

Chalukya Sojourn

The year was AD 750. Chalukyan King Vikramaditya II and his Queen Lokadevi are visiting Pattada Kallu. Master Sculptors Anivaritha Gunda and Sarvasidhi Achari are showing off their spectacular creations to the royal couple. I can imagine the pride, happiness and gaiety that must have been in the air.

After all, Vikramaditya had just wiped the Pallavas clean and undone the ignominy of the freak defeat of Pulakesi II at the hands of Narasimha Pallava, a full hundred years earlier. While Pallavas got a solitary Vatapi Ganapathi, who now rests in Thiruvarur and a song to boot, the Chalukyas tried to outdo the Kailasanatha temple and seem to have pulled it off quite well too.

1259 years later, this Pallava subject walked thru those very temples. And ofcourse, I couldn't quite find Sivagami. Well, she ofcourse was Kalki's rip off from the legendary Buddhist Ambapali. The Vaishali royal courtesan turned love interest of Magadhan King Ajathasatru, who later received and hosted Buddha Siddhartha Gautama.

Vatapi aka Badami

Pattada Kallu (Redstone)

Pattada Kallu, we are told, is one of the rare places where Rekha nagar style (like in Orissa temples) co-habitates with the Dravidian style. See the above pic.

Sidhlephadi Cave

ASI claims to have found evidence of human habitation in this cave since the mesolithic age by recovering primitive stone tools used for hunting. Modern day Neanderthals have made ASI's job easy. They just leave their phone numbers.

Aihole aka Aryapura

I was quite surprised at these exquisite Tombstones for soldiers. Other than the Indic inscriptions, the ancient tombstones hold the secrets of India's pre-Aryan past.


Saturday: Reached Badami by bus. Checked out the four caves, Bhuthanatha Temple and some recent fortifications added by Tipu Sultan. Don't miss the museum. A deity from the fertility cult might stun you.

Sunday: Spent almost the whole day in the Pattada Kallu group of temples. Briefly checked out the Mahakoota Temple. Later, in the evening hiked upto the Sihlephadi cave near Badami. About 10 kms round trip.

Monday: Stared the day by visiting Siddhana Kallu. Then roamed around Aihole village. Walked up to the Megutti temple atop the hill nearby to soak in the excellent views. Don't miss this small climb. You'll understand why Chalukyas moved their capital here after the Pallava sacking of Vatapi.

Note: Pigs, monkeys and the people of Vatapi seem to be living in perfect harmony. While I can understand the pigs, afterall Varaha is the Chalukyan Insignia, I wonder why people have to live like this.


GuNs said...

Hey Balaji,

How are you doing, man? Its a nice coincidence that I too, went to a historic place this weekend. I went to Ajanta and Ellora. I hope you've heard of these places. I was really happy to see that they have been doing a good job of maintaining these world heritage sites. :)

I am off to the UK for a three week vacation this weekend. Where are you and what have you been upto?


Balaji said...

oh, nice. I have been to Ajanta n Ellora some 5 years back. but don't remember much from that trip. shud go again.

have fun in the UK.