Banashankari temple and oil-lamp tower, near Badami, Karnataka - this historical site needs publicity!!

Banashankari temple near Badami, KA
The Banashankari, temple near Badami, North Karnataka is not only an ancient Hindu temple, but also a popular one. Devotees turn in large number and buy colorful sacred offerings to the presiding deity as part of their wish. People from states like Andhra, Tamil nadu and kerala  are not much familiar with this historical temple and one of the reasons being being poor publicity by the Karnataka tourism department. This site has ample scope scope for tourism development  as some famous temples are located nearby. 

The ancient temple, a historical Maratha monument in a serene place dedicated to Goddess Banashankari,  a form of Parvati,  has a sort of cave like sanctum in which the deity is enshrined as a stone idol in warring posture and ll eight arms carry  weapons She is a compassionate deity. for the good and at the same time she is the destroyer of evil men.  She is a form of Shakti and devotees following this particular cult visit this site to get rid of dark and negative forces.   It appears like an incomplete innermost sanctuary dated back to the late Chalate Chalukya period. 

On the temple premises lie a a large hall -  mandapa  and a big water  tank which is fed by a natural spring. It is said if a dry  spell occurs consistently for a couple of years, it is likely the water tank may dry up. Measuring  80m x 80m, on the sides of the tank there are small mandaba - shelters made of stone for pilgrims.  The stone slabs in the ceiling are being  supported by rows of sandstone pillars that maintain perfect alignment.  Built hundreds of years ago,  travelers have found them useful  to bathe and relax. 

Besides, there are several temples within the confines of the complex and all of them are dedicated to various forms of  God Shiva, one of Hindu trinity gods. Forms of Shiva such as  Harihara and Ardhanarishwara are found here. 

Banashankari Temple  Lamp-Tower

Mention may be made of  late 7th century CE Mahakaleshwar Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Virupakeshwara Temple and Mallikarjuna Temple and other small shrines As for their architecture, you can notice a blend of Dravida (S. India) and Nagara (Bihar, etc) design styles.  Two armed sculptural forms of Shiva  carved on the walls appear to be influenced by the early Chalukyan style of stone carving.  It is quite interesting that several  stone idols in standing posture are  either  enshrined around the temple tank or below the big trees that throw cool shadows.. The temple is said to have been repaired and renovated by the maratha rulers in the 1750s, in particular Parasuram Agale. . 

Visitors to this heritage site will never miss the tall imposing three-story masonry tower called Lamp tower. Throughout all around one can see   delicately carved arches with  carefully made curved brackets for oil lamps. There is also a  multi-level deepa stamba in the middle of the tank which has provisions of bathing ghats It is a sight to behold after sunset when all the oil lamps in the tower are lit. They literally glow and one can see the  tower glowing in the reflection of the water.  Within the temple walls there are 3 or 4 smaller lamp-towers shaped like menhir. Banashankari temple has   3 types.of oil lamps- monolithic, lamp tower shaped like menhir and  accompanying stairway and multilevel complex stambha. , 

Granite oil lamp stand, Banashankari temple,Badami  KA/

 Granite oil lamp stand, Banashankari temple,Badami  KA

Above image: There are three tall upwardly tapering granite deepa stand s that you run into once you get inside through the gate. The have curved receptacle for the oil lamps and were built by warrior Kettimaya.....................

ancient Banashankari temple,Badami  KA

Located on the river Banashankari built the 7th CE by the  Chalukya dynasty., the temple was patronized by Rashtrakutas and Vijayanagara dynasty.  The temple, it is said has links with the mythological story of the churning of the ocean samudra manthan.

This temple and the surrounding places come alive during the annual popular Banashankari festival (January- February) which is attended by lots of people. The goddess is decorated with more than 59 different vegetables and taken around the town for darshan.  The chariot festival is an annual event like most of the south Indian temples. Rest of the year the wooden chariot remains idle, but checked periodically by the temple officials. Close to Badami cave temples in  Bagalkot district, Karnataka, India. the temple is popularly called 'Shakambhari' 'Banashankari or Vanashankari since it is located in the Tilakaaranya forest.