Ravana Phadi Nataraj

Photo feature : Aihole cave temple

Ravana Phadi cave temple at Aihole is a great example of Chalukyan temple architecture. During the 6th century, the early Chalukyans experimented with cave temples. The Ravana Phadi cave temple is primarily is a Shiva temple.

Cave temple exterior
Cave temple exterior

Every Shiva temple has a Nandi positioned right opposite the Shiva linga.

Nandi
Nandi
Shiva Linga
Shiva Linga

There are brilliant carvings of various gods and goddesses on the interior walls of the cave temple. There is one of the Nataraja (Dancing Shiva) with Gauri and Ganesha by his side.

Ravana Phadi Nataraj
Ravana Phadi Nataraj

There is one of a rather scary meditating sage. At first it looks like a skeleton, but when you look closely you see that the representation seems of a sage who has been doing Tapasya (meditation) since ages, going by the lean skeletal figure and the strange pose he is standing in.

Meditating Saint
Meditating Saint

There is a figure of a Goddess, who looks like one of the forms of Durga.

Ravana Phadi Goddess

Although the Ravana Phadi is a Shiva temple, there is a figure of the Varaha avatar of Vishnu. Chalukyas encouraged worship of both Shiva and Vishnu. Varaha appears on their royal seal as well.

Varaha
Varaha

There are other celestial figures as well sculpted on the walls in intricate detail.

Ravana Phadi figures

Learn more about Aihole here.



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