Badami: Famous For Magnificent Rock Cut Structural Temples
Updated: May 22
Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is famous for its rock cut structural temples. It is located in a ravine at the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Agastya lake. Badami has been selected as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India. The rock-cut Badami Cave Temples were sculpted mostly between the 6th and 8th centuries. It also has eighteen inscriptions, among them some inscriptions are important.
The Puranas state the wicked asura Vatapi was killed by sage Agastya, and it refers to this area as Vatapi and Agastya Tirtha. In the Ramayana, Agastya and Lopamudra are described as living in Dandaka forest, on the southern slopes of Vindhya mountains. Rama praises Agastya as the one who can do what gods find impossible. He is described as the sage who used his Dharma powers to kill demons Vatapi and Ilwala after they had jointly misled and destroyed 9,000 men.
In the Mahabharata, sage Agastya is described in the epic as a sage with enormous powers of ingestion and digestion. To kill men, asura Vatapi used to become a goat and his brother Ilvala would cook him. Then, Vatapi would recollect in the stomach and tear himself out from the inside of the victim, killing the victim. When Agastya arrives, Ilvala offers the goat again. He kills Vatapi by digesting the meal as soon as he ate, giving Vatapi no time to self organize. Agastya, in the legends of Mahabharata, kills the demons Vatapi and Ilvala much the same mythical way as in the Ramayana.
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