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Ancient History / Post-Guptan Era

Badami Chalukyas Art and Architecture

Badami Chalukyas are also called Chalukyas of Vatapi. Pulakesi I is the founder of Chalukya dynasty of Badami. Badami Chalukya architecture is known for developing Vesara style of temple architecture.

Pulakeshin II was the third king of this dynasty and he was contemporary to Harshavardhana of Pushyabhuti dynasty. He is the greatest king of this dynasty. There were more than 20 Chalukya dynasties ruling over India but were not connected to one another. So, we call different Chalukyas with their capital name.

Pulakeshin II or Pulakesi II

  • The Aihole inscription in Karnataka was written by Ravikirti, an officer of Pulakeshin II. It is written on the walls of a Jain temple.

    In Aihole inscription, it is written that Sakalottara Padeeshwara (Harshavardhana) was defeated. It also mentioned about the shifting of the capital of Chalukyas to Badami from Aihole by Pulakesi II.

  • Pulakesi II conquered entire coastal Andhra Pradesh which included Vishnukundina and Rana Durjaya dynasties. He created a new province with Vengi as its capital. His own brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana was made the Governor there.

    After some time, Kubja Vishnuvardhana cut off from Badami Chalukyas and declared an independent kingdom, named Vengi Chalukyas (or Eastern Chalukyas). The independent kingdom was ruled for 4 and half centuries by the Vengi Chalukyas.

  • Pulakeshin II invaded Pallava kingdom twice. He invaded for the first time in 617-18 AD in Pullalur war. At this time, Pallava king Mahendravarman I was defeated. Many northern parts of Pallava kingdom were annexed to Badami Chalukya empire.

    In 642 AD, for the second time he invaded the Pallava kingdom at Manimangala, the present day Manimangalam. In the battle of Manimangalam, Narasimhavarman I, the most powerful king of Pallavas defeated Pulakeshin II.

    Pulakesin II escaped from the battle and ran away to Vatapi. Narasimhavarman I chased up to Vatapi and captured and killed Pulakesin II. It is with the victory of Manimangalam war, Narasimhavarman I, who assumed the title Vatapikonda.

  • After that Vikramaditya I, son of Pulakeshin II, came to power. During his reign, Kanchi was destroyed thrice.

When the last ruler of Chalukya dynasty of Badami, Kirtivarman II ascended the throne, around 755 AD one of the governors named Dantidurga killed Kirtivarman II and founded a new dynasty called Rashtrakuta dynasty.

Badami Chalukya Architecture

Badami Chalukya Architecture has various styles. They built temples in Dravidian style, Nagara style of architecture and developed a new style called Vesara style of architecture (Deccan style).

  • Cave Temples of Badami

    Badami Chalukyas built cave temples at Badami. There are 3 Shaiva cave temples and one Jain cave temple.

  • Structural Temples

    • There are around 70 Badami Chalukya temples at Aihole, which is called town of temples. Some of these temples are (i) Lad Khan temple (Shiva temple), (ii) Huchimalligudi temple, (iii) Meguti Jain temple, (iv) Durga temple, etc.

    • We can see the most beautiful temple named Lokeshwara or Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal. It was being built in Dravidian style of architecture. It was an imitation of Kailasanathar temple of Kanchipuram.

    • In Gadwal district of Telangana, Alampur Navabrahma temples (Shaiva temples), which are 9 in number, were built by Badami Chalukyas. These temples were being built in Nagara style. One more temple that was built by them is Alampur Jogulamba temple.

    • Near to Alampur, at a village named Sangameshwar (where Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers confluence together), they built Sangameshwara temple. The entire temple has been shifted to Alampur (when Srisailam Project was started) by Archeological Department.

    • Nava Nandi temples at Nandyal, were built by Badami Chalukyas of which Mahanandi is an important one.