An Excursion to Badami and Banashankari
Recently I had been to Badami for a work. With some time in hand, I thought to give a try to visit caves and temples around. The journey started from Dharwad towards Badami. It is always a bliss to travel in Monsoon on good roads.
Banashankari Devi Temple :
Basically, I do not visit religious places. This time I thought to give a try to Banashakari which is 5 KM ride from Badami. The visit was interesting.
Banashankari or Vanashankari is made up of two Sanskrit words: vana (“forest”) and Shankari (“the consort of Shiva, Parvati”). The transformation of vana- to bana- reflects a common loanword adaptation in Kannada from Sanskrit words. The temple deity is also called the Shakambhari (Kannada: ಶಾಕಾಂಬರಿ), an incarnation of the goddess Parvati.
The Temple Complex:
Regardless of the deity blissfulness, I felt temple is badly maintained. I found people breaking queues even there is NO crowd! These kinds of the situation make you question about our India’s future. The temple is the most popular in India. But I guess officials do not care about its well-being. Even the roads are very narrow around the temple complex.
If you visit Banashankari, some village women will call you for lunch. They will call you in a sweet tone as if, they know you. I denied to the call saying “I’m not hungry for the first old woman”. I visited the temple complex and started to walk to get some photos. There was another woman who called me to have lunch, but again I denied. This time she had Plan B. Instead she said: “As a matter of goodwill, can you sponsor the lunch for the needy?” This made me think, I said to myself: “Why not sponsor food for the needy?”. But there was another woman who was signalling me not to go ahead. I was confused, still, I went ahead. She called two women names, served them some roti and other stuff. I offered her 100rs note. She told me to have some curd instead of tendering the change. I ate the curd served and moved on.
As I was wandering around there were 100’s of them wandering to offer food. I observed that the women who were served food(the needy) from the roti seller are all having a joint venture. They are all friends. They will troll you. Beware of them. One of the interesting scams I observed in the name of serving others and God! Let Banashankari Devi bless them.
Right in front of Banashankari temple is Haridra Teerta. There was NO water in Haridra Teerta when I visited. This shows how less rain, we receive. Here are few snaps of Haridra Teerta in my perspective.
This is a psychological trick to enforce confidence boost, like Placebo Effect. Sacred Threads, Locks are offered/tied based on their interest. This belief of tying will induce a belief in their brain, that things will go fine. This will eventually make their brain act accordingly. Though superstitious, it just works.
On the way back to Badami these things caught my attention.
The Friends and Happiness. The flat tyre cannot stop them.
In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds. -Robert Green Ingersoll
History and Etymology:
Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of the taluk by the same name, in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It 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.
The Puranic story says the wicked asura Vatapi was killed by sage Agastya (as per Agastya-Vatapi story), the area in which the incident happened so named as Vatapi.
The Trek in the Fort:
You have to trek to see the caves on the cliff above Agastya Lake. It was one of the hardest treks I have taken. Rugged pathways check your potential to limits. Though there are steps formed to make your trek easy but it is not easy with a heavy backpack. Please note there is NO facility to keep your belongings. Kindly make some arrangements in advance. During the trek here are some captures of the huge rocks against skies.
The History Locked?
As the day was about to end, my DSLR battery died. It was challenging to make mobile do that same magic as DSLR. I tried my best. Hope you like them.
The following is Bhootnath Temple (Eastern Complex) and Agasthya Lake
Silhouette of Bhootnath Temple and ravine.
The People and Chaos:
People are friendly and honest. A hotel owner returned 40rs change instead 30rs to a customer. The customer returned 10rs back to the hotel owner. Even the hotel owner offered charging point to my phone. But one of the things that pissed me off is the reckless driving of people without following traffic rules. No one cares. No traffic police. Everyone just rides their own way.
The late night ride from Nargund till Shivalli is the full of fear and excitement. As it is a remote village road, there will be hardly any vehicles on road. There will be no one to hear you if you scream in case of emergency. The dark brings lots of “what ifs” that may happen. What if, the vehicle breaks down. What if, a ghost greets you. Nevertheless, nothing happened. But I always wish to meet a ghost at least once in my Lifetime.
I missed some places due to time constraint. I strongly recommend you to visit once. Overall it was great Excursion. Hope you liked the photography. Let me know your views in comments.