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MONUMENTS OF KARNATAKA
Badami

See The town is best known for its cave temples, cut into the cliff face of the red sandstone hill and connected by flights of steps. They display the full range of religious sects which have grown up on Indian soil. Two of them are dedicated to Vishnu, one to Shiva and the fourth is a Jain temple. There's also one natural cave which is a Buddhist temple. The caves overlook the picturesque Agastyatirtha and are only one of the many things to be seen at Badami. Of the other monuments, some of the most beautiful are the two groups of lakeside temples known as the Bhutanatha temples near the north fort. The Archaeological Museum nearby is also well worth a visit.

It is situated at a beautiful countryside amongst red sandstone hills, rock-hewn tanks (artificial lakes) and peaceful farmlands, the small rural village of Badami was once a capital city of the Chalukyan Empire which ruled much of the central Deccan. Here, and at nearby Aihole and Pattadakal, you can see some of the earliest and finest examples of Dravidian temples and rock-cut caves. The forms and sculptural work at these sites provided inspiration for the later Hindu empires which rose and fell in the southern part of the peninsula before the arrival of the Muslims.

Though principally promoters of the Vedic culture, the Chalukyans were tolerant of all sects, and elements of Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and even Buddhism can be found in many of their temples.

Belur & Halebid

Halebid and Belur are only 16 km apart. The KSTDC in Bangalore runs a tour to both towns as well as to Sravanabelagola. The Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid (Halebeed, Halebidu), along with the one at Somnathpur east of Mysore, are the cream of what remains of one of the most artistically exuberant periods of Hindu cultural development. The temple is decorated with sculptures. The Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid was constructed about 10 years after the temple at Belur, but despite 80 years labour was never completed. There are scenes which represents war, hunting, agriculture, music, dance and Jain statue.

The small museum adjacent to the temple sculptures and is open from 10 am to 5 pm. There is also a smaller temple, the Kedareswara, at Halebid and, off the road to Hassan, a Jain temple. At Belur, the Channekeshava Temple is the only one at the three Hoysala sites still in daily use. Non-Hindus are allowed inside but not into the inner sanctum. It is very similar to the others in design but here much of the decoration has gone into the internal supporting pillars and lintels, and the larger but still very delicately carved images of deities and guardian beasts. At Halebid, the external walls are covered in friezes.

Bidar

In 1424 Ahmed Shah-I shifted his court from Gulbarga to a less constricted site at Badri, in grief of his beloved spiritual mentor, Bandah Nawas Gesu Daraz. Later the Bahamani dynasty continued to rule here till 1487 even after they were split into five rival groups. They refurbished the town by building a new fort, splendid palaces, mosques and ornamental gardens. They were then succeeded by the Adil Shahis from Bijapur, followed by the Mughals under Aurangzeb, who annexed the territory in 1656, before the Nizam of Hyderabad acquired the territory in the early 18th century. The town has a gritty charm, with narrow red-mud streets leading to arched gates and open vistas across plains. Bidar is nowadays a provincial backwater, better known for its fighter-pilot-training base.

Bijapur

The largest and most famous monument is the Golgumbaz. Built in 1659, it is a simple building with four walls that enclose a majestic hall 1704 sq meters in area, buttressed by octagonal seven-storey towers at each of the corners. This basic structure is capped by an enormous dome said to be the world's second largest after St Peter's Vatican City, Rome. The diameter of Golgumbaz is 38 meters.

Ibrahim Roza : The beautiful Ibrahim Roza was constructed at the height of Bijapur's prosperity by Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1626) for his queen. Its 24-meter-high minarets . Buried here are Ibrahim Adil Shah, his queen, Taj Sultana, his daughter, two sons, and his mother Haji Badi Sahiba.

Jame-e-Masjid : This is another finely proportioned building with graceful arches, a fine dome and a large inner courtyard containing fountains and a reservoir. Itís quite a large monument covering an area of 10,800 sq meters and has room for 2250 worshippers. Space for them are marked out in black on the polished floor of the mosque.

Asar Mahal : To the east of the citadel, the Asar Mahal was built by Mohammed Adil Shah in about 1646 to serve as a Hall of Justice. The rooms on the upper storey are profusely decorated with frescoes, many of them using foliage and flower motifs, some portraying male and female figures in various poses. The front of the building is graced with a square tank still fed by conduits from Begum Tank. Women are not allowed inside the main structure.

Citadel : This monument was built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561 to serve the dual purpose of a royal residence and a Durbar Hall. Essentially it's an enormous hall completely open to the north, so that an audience outside the hall had a full and unobstructed view of the proceedings on the raised platform inside. The hall was flanked by small chambers used to house the families of the royal household.It isSurrounded by its own fortified walls and wide moat in the city centre, it once contained the palaces, pleasure gardens, and Durbar Hall of the Adil Shahi kings.

Malik-e-Maidan : This monument was built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561 to serve the dual purpose of a royal residence and a Durbar Hall. Essentially it's an enormous hall completely open to the north, so that an audience outside the hall had a full and unobstructed view of the proceedings on the raised platform inside. The hall was flanked by small chambers used to house the families of the royal household.It isSurrounded by its own fortified walls and wide moat in the city center, it once contained the palaces, pleasure gardens, and Durbar Hall of the Adil Shahi kings.

Hampi

The old Hampi Bazaar is now a bustling village. The village has become something of a travelers' Mecca and is a superb place to stay if you're not too concerned about minor luxuries. The western side of Hampi Bazaar is the most bustling area. Here you'll find a number of restaurants catering for Western travelers, the Aspiration Stores which has a variety of books as well as souvenirs The village is dominated by the Virupaksha Temple. The temple is popular with Indian tourists.

Pattadakal

This village is 16 km from Badami . The most important monument here, the Lokeshwara or Virupaksha Temple, is a huge structure with sculptures that narrate episodes from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as throw light on the social life of the early Chalukyans. The other main temple, Mallikarjuna, has sculptures which tell a different story - this time from the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Krishna. The old Jain temple with its two stone elephants, about a km from the center, is also worth visiting.

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