Assistant Director of Information Department Manjunath Sullolli claims that he has found a ‘natural cave shrine’, that has about 27 idols of deities sculpted on a single stone in Badami. There is a pond at the shrine.
Badami, the capital city of Chalukyas, which is about 35 km from Bagalkot, is known for its rare cave shrines and other monuments.
Sullolli, who is interested in wildlife photography and sculpture, has been searching for such ‘unique’ places of Chalukya regime in Bijapur, Bagalkot district for the past five years.
Neither tourists are aware of such a “natural cave shrine” nor an attempt was made to study it at the state-level, he said.
He told Express that pictures of several God and Goddesses are sculpted and only in this cave one can see such sculptures.
Other cave shrines had been built during Chalukya regime and this one is about half-a-kilometre into the hilly area from Badami Basadi, he said. Sullolli points out that no authors, including foreigners, have mentioned this cave shrine except for a reference to a sculpture in the list of Hermitage in the natural cave by the Archaeological Survey of India.
There is a pond called ‘Arali Teertha’ in the natural cave, where water is found throughout out the year.
Idols such as Kaali, Veerabhadra, Ugra Narasimha, Vishnu, Ganapati, besides some animals and birds are sculpted. One can see an inscription in Devanagari script here.
There is a need to conduct more research to find out to which period it belongs to.
Sullolli is planning to bring out books - ‘Discovering Bijapur’ and ‘Discovering Badami’.