How did Chalukyas of Badami manage to build such beautiful edifice did intrigue me to the core. It is quite obvious they must have struck a gold mine in their empire, which was the primary source of financing to construct everlasting monuments.
Badami Fort Gateway
It definitely helped to brush up my knowledge of history. Pulakesi II ( 609 - 642 AD ) is credited to have minted the first gold coin in south india history after the Guptas. The circular gold coin contained the boar symbol which was adopted as emblem of the Chalukyan emperors.
Mantap at Badami Fort
The next logical step was to find the source of ancient gold mining in Karnataka. I remembered sometime back Karnataka govt. had signed a MOU for exploiting Hutti Gold Mines. These mines were disbanded from ancient times.
Video from Badami Mantap
The discovery of wooden logs, charcoal, pottery and ash in Uti Muski greenstone belt reveals that gold was mined in this area. Radio carbon dating of the wooden logs reveals that it dates back to 660-780 with a marginal variation tallies perfectly to Pulakesin II reign. Uti gold mine The gold minted in 4 grams was known as huna which literally means money in kannada ( honnu which meant money minted out of gold )
Shivalaya on Badami Fort
The Chalukyan emperors blessed with discovery of gold mine near to their ancient capital Aihole, naturally migrated to safe haven of Vatapi ( Badami ) where they constructed a magnificent capital city. It was strategically located between two hillocks and blessed with a lake.
Shivalaya with Elephants background
The Chalukyan emperors engaged the services of the artisans from Kadamba dynasty luring them literally with Gold coins. The abandonment of Ajanta caves too gave the rulers additional skilled manpower to construct the magnificient cave temples of Badami. It was almost a competition to build monuments beyond compare that spurred artisans at Chalukyan capital and nearby Pattadakal area. They were naturally rewarded handsomely by the emperors in the form of Gold Currency.
Video Overview of Badami Town
Nature too blessed the Chalukyan emperors with red granite stones to sculpt their god and godesses in form of Shiva & Vishnu in various forms, glorifying their deeds and accomplishments. The myths of the hindu gods were eulogised beyond imagination to curb the spread of buddhism and jainism in the chalukyan territory.
Echoing Watch Tower
Nature has to a large extent has protected the cave temples of Badami, some of them have been resurrected by the ASI. The landscape was slightly changed by invasion of Tipu Sultan to suit his strategic needs.
Bhootnath temple Video
Shivalaya temple video
Super watch tower
Exit Gateway to the fort
Museum Complex at Badami
This museum complex is one of the best planned with plenty of landscaping. All the artefacts and idols found in and around badami have been housed in the museum. It is worth visiting the museum.
Another fort entrance through Museum
Behind of the Musuem complex
Badami Museum Complex display
Bhutnath temple complex on Augustya Lake
Guys can you afford to miss the monuments financed by discovery of a goldmines at Uti, apart from the famous Badami caves, this hillock behind the Museum at Badami is really adventurous and consumes a full 3 hours. Many tourist guides and packages avoid touring this spot. Do not miss Badami Fort visit for heavens sake, the tour will transport you into the splendour unleashed by the discovery of Goldmine.
Siddeswar blog on Badami fort