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Old 29th September 2011, 11:25   #1
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Default Badami Historical Background

Location : It is well known fact that Badami is situated in North Karnataka, it can be reached by the nearest airport at Bellary. By road it can be reached from Bangalore vide NH4 upto Hubli and deviate towards Navalgund and from there to Badami. The other route is through Hampi. It can be approached from Mumbai via NH4 too. I am going to dwell on the lesser known facts of the Chalukyan Empire, which triggered the building of monuments in Badami through a photo journal.



How did Chalukyas of Badami manage to build such beautiful edifices did intrigue me to the core. It is quite obvious they must have struck a gold mine in their empire, a midas touch literally which was the primary source of financing to construct everlasting monuments. It is believed that the Chalukyan emperors constructed more than 140 monuments in and around Badami, stretching from Aihole, Pattadakal, Banashankari etc with a radius 100 square kms.

Badami Historical Background-badami2.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami3.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami6.jpg

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 )

Badami Historical Background-badami8.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami7.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami9.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami10.jpg

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.

Badami Historical Background-badami11.jpg

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 for getting an indepth knowledge of the area.

Badami Historical Background-badami12.jpg

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.
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Badami Historical Background-badami1.jpg  

Badami Historical Background-badami5.jpg  


Last edited by ukderebail : 29th September 2011 at 11:52.
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Old 29th September 2011, 14:26   #2
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Wow another History Class!! Thanks sir.

Also read somewhere that Pulekesin II had conquered even Kolar, and Kolar had gold mining then I guess. Can that be the source as well?
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Old 29th September 2011, 18:00   #3
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Default Re: Badami Historical Background

Very nice sir!!! I have been to Badami a couple of times, but have never visited the museum. In fact, we never knew there was a museum. We just visited the cave temples and were back on our way.
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Old 29th September 2011, 18:32   #4
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Default Re: Badami Historical Background

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Wow another History Class!! Thanks sir.

Also read somewhere that Pulekesin II had conquered even Kolar, and Kolar had gold mining then I guess. Can that be the source as well?
I believe Kolar Gold fields find was largely exploited by the Gangas, who were defeated and chased out of their domain by Pallavas, Kanchipuram is probably financed by the yields. History has records of Cholas and Vijaynagar emperors exploiting the Gold fields of Kolar. The British extracted the maximum from Kolar Gold fields by scientific mining.

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Very nice sir!!! I have been to Badami a couple of times, but have never visited the museum. In fact, we never knew there was a museum. We just visited the cave temples and were back on our way.
Next time around you can visit the museum and the fortress at Badami. It is close to the Bhootnath temple complex.
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Old 29th September 2011, 19:19   #5
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The British extracted the maximum from Kolar Gold fields by scientific mining.
Yep. The earlier kings mined a little and then the British finished it.

But what I do not understand is this, the empire slowly vanished after the death of Pulakeshin II, that too because of lack of 'moolah' in the treasury. How can that be the case if they had found a gold mine?
Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 29th September 2011, 20:43   #6
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But what I do not understand is this, the empire slowly vanished after the death of Pulakeshin II, that too because of lack of 'moolah' in the treasury. How can that be the case if they had found a gold mine?
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Chalukyan empire had a temporary setback for almost for 13 years after they were defeated by the Pallavan King Narasimhavarman ( 630 -668 AD ), Pulakesin was killed in the battlefield, all the treasures were emptied and shifted to build the shore temple of Mahabalipuram. Vikramaditya ascended the throne and took charge of the empire to continue the Chalukyan legacy.

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Old 29th September 2011, 23:30   #7
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Chalukyan empire had a temporary setback for almost for 13 years after they were defeated by the Pallavan King Narasimhavarman ( 630 -668 AD ), Pulakesin was killed in the battlefield, all the treasures were emptied and shifted to build the shore temple of Mahabalipuram. Vikramaditya ascended the throne and took charge of the empire to continue the Chalukyan legacy.
I am on a road trip to south and visited Badami last Sunday. I must say ASI is an amazingly motivated organization and they have done a good job in badami and in Pattad Kallu. As we are on the topic of history, I must mention that I was sad to read inside the museum about a part of the Chalukya history - Pulakesin II killed his own uncle to become the king .

And I am confussed about the temple complex in Pattad Kallu - all the temples have "Shiv ling" inside made of black granite. Did ASI reconstruct a model of all these temples at the same place where the runis were found? The actual site is a flat gound with no hills/mountains around. Of course, it's a FANTASTIC place and really loved the complex - very well done and maintained.
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Old 30th September 2011, 10:30   #8
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Basically Shiv linga concept was the first step of defense against the Buddhism Stupa, it is a miniature form.
Do you mean to say that Shiva Linga as a concept came about , to tackle the stupa and it was not there earlier? If yes, is there any reference material proving this please?

Also almost all shiva linga's down south are made of Black granite, any idea when and how this came about.
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Old 30th September 2011, 10:51   #9
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Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
And I am confussed about the temple complex in Pattad Kallu - all the temples have "Shiv ling" inside made of black granite. Did ASI reconstruct a model of all these temples at the same place where the runis were found? The actual site is a flat gound with no hills/mountains around. Of course, it's a FANTASTIC place and really loved the complex - very well done and maintained.
ASI is capable of doing much more wonderful job after resurrecting the world's largest temple in Angor Wat, Cambodia. I believe funds is the problem faced by them. Tourism is the largest employing sector in the world, I hope govt realises the importance of this before there is another revolution by the youth like Anna Hazare campaign.

Basically Shiv linga concept was the first step of defense against the Buddhism Stupa, it is a miniature form. Secondly it was easy to sculpt or rather found as swayambu in many places. Yes ASI has done a remarkable job of reconstruction at Pattadakal.

The legacy of succession is full of conspiracies and conflicts if you take the past trend. When multiple wives and consorts are involved for the royalty there is keen competition to promote her own children. In this context right from the days of Ramayan and Mahabharat conflicts are part of succession. Pulakesin II was no exception to this rule. He too has been eliminated in the battlefield by conspiracy against the Pallavas.

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Do you mean to say that Shiva Linga as a concept came about , to tackle the stupa and it was not there earlier? If yes, is there any reference material proving this please?

Also almost all shiva linga's down south are made of Black granite, any idea when and how this came about.
It is a question of interpretation, during the Ashoka era Buddhism started rapidly catching up with Stupa and other construction. Naturally Hindu priests had to counteract, before this Hindus believed only in nature worship check the Sanathan dharma philosophy. I have seen Shiv linga in other colours too, it is not mandatory to have only black granite.

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Old 30th September 2011, 17:43   #10
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before this Hindus believed only in nature worship check the Sanathan dharma philosophy.
I might disagree a bit here, but I think that would be off topic.

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I have seen Shiv linga in other colors too, it is not mandatory to have only black granite.
Even tough the temples are in Red granite, an earlier posts mentions the Shiva linga Black granite, and that seems to be the case in most temples in the south. But the it would again be off topic delving into it.

Thanks for the Travelogue, and waiting for more.
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