Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA Directorate of Archaeology ( Uttar Pradesh ) INDIA
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The sleepy villages of Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole were once the capital cities of the Chalukyas who ruled much of the Deccan between the 4th and 8th centuries. They built an astonishing profusion of temples, many of which are still in a remarkable state of preservation. At Badami there are many cave temples, featuring rock cut sculptures of various religious figures. Nearby, at Pattadakal and Aihole are many of the best remaining examples of Hindu temple architecture from this early period. The main temple at Pattadakal is the 8th century Temple of Virupaksha. The massive columns are covered with intricate carvings illustrating various episodes from the great Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, and showing battle scenes, lovers and decorative motifs. This is therefore a fascinating, little visited area, which definitely rewards the effort involved to reach.
Elephanta Caves
Elephanta is an island in the harbour of Mumbai, just 10 km from the main Gateway of India monument. Here you find unique cave temples decorated with paintings of Hindu gods and Hindu legends, created between 450 and 750 A.D., when the island was known as Gharapuri (Place of Caves). The Portuguese renamed the island Elephanta after the colossal sculpted elephant near the shore when they captured Mumbai in the middle of the 16th century from the Sultan of Gujarat. This statue collapsed in 1814 and the British moved and reassembled the remaining pieces at the Victoria Gardens, where it stands today. Sadly, the Muslim, Portuguese and British rulers caused a lot of damage to the caves but enough remains to demonstrate the skills of the craftsmen who built them. The chief attraction is a huge cave temple with a massive Trimurti (three-faced) Shiva sculpture where the god is depicted as destroyer, preserver and creator.
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