Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Badami Fort Trip

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

Demolished structure

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

Crevice video

Behind of the Musuem complex

Badami Museum Complex display

                                         Landscaped Garden in Museum complex

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