Cave Temples of Badami: Cave – 4

Located on the red sandstone hills of Badami in Karnataka, India, the cluster of four rock-cut cave temples are an impressive work of religious art and a showcase of Chalukya temple architecture.

This page describe Cave – 4. Check the following pages for a detailed explanation of the other three caves:

  1. Cave – 1: Shiva Temple
  2. Cave – 2: Vishnu Temple
  3. Cave – 3: Maha Vishnu Temple

Cave – 4: Jain Temple

Facade and Entrance of Badami Cave - 4, the fourth of the rock-cut caves located in Badami, Karnataka, India
Facade and Entrance of Badami Cave – 4

Cave – 4 is smallest of the four rock-cut caves. Historians believe that this cave was built in the early 7th century CE.

Unlike the other three caves – which are Hindu temples – Cave – 4 is a Jain temple and is a testament to the peaceful co-existence of different religions in ancient India.

Just like the other three caves, the garbhagriha is at the back of the cave. There are three halls in front of the garbhagriha, which are: 1. Antarala (ante-chamber) 2. Sabhamantapa (main hall) 3. Mukhamantapa (verandah).

Ground Plan of Badami Cave - 4, the fourth of the rock-cut caves of Badami located in Karnataka, India
Ground Plan of Badami Cave – 4

The garbhagriha houses a sculpture believed to be of Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, seated on a lion throne. The sculptural reliefs of Tirthankaras and the other Jain figures adorn the pillars and sidewalls of the halls.

The only access to this cave is through a flight of steps from Cave – 3. However, there was a path to this temple from the east side when it was built.

Garbhagriha – Mahavira

The image shows a sculptural relief of a Tirthankara, most-likely Mahavira, seated majestically on a lion throne carved on the back wall of the garbahgriha.

Sculptural relief of 24th Tirthankara - Mahavira in the Garbhagriha of Cave - 4 in Badami, Karnataka, India
Sculptural relief of 24th Tirthankara – Mahavira in the Garbhagriha of Cave – 4

Mahavira is sitting under a chaitya vriksha (holy tree) with the Paryankasana posture (lotus-like pose with upward-facing palms placed on top of each other). He has a prabhamandala (circle of light or halo) around his head and a mukkode (three umbrellas stacked one above the other) above the prabhamandala. Flanking him are two chamaradharas (male chamara bearers), and above them are two Vidyadhara couples performing pushpadhaare (offering a deluge of flowers).

Note: Tirtha means a ford or shallow crossing of a river or stream. Tirthankara means ford maker. Tirthankara is an extraordinary person who understood the true meaning of Samsara (continuous cycle of life, death, and rebirth) and obtained Kevala Jnana (Omniscience). He is a teacher who builds a ford for others (i.e., guides) to follow the path from samsara to Moksha (liberation from Samsara).

Adinatha – The first Tirthankara

First Tirthankara - Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) in Cave - 4 of Badami Caves in Karnataka, India
First Tirthankara – Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) in Cave – 4 of Badami Caves

The image shows a life-size sculptural relief depicting Adinatha ( also known as Rishabhanatha), the first of the 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism, carved on the left sidewall of the antarala. As you can see, he is flanked by 12 Tirthankaras on either side

Adinatha is digambara (clothless) and is standing with the Kayotsarga pose, which means giving up body movements and comfort. He has long hair flowing on his shoulder.

Note: The Adinatha iconography has locks of hair on his shoulder and is one of the ways to identify his sculptures.

Parshvanatha

The image shows a life-size sculptural relief depicting Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism, carved on the interior walls of Cave – 4.

Sculptural relief of 23rd Tirthankara - Parshvanatha - carved in Cave - 4 of Badami Caves located in Karnataka, India
23rd Tirthankara – Parshvanatha in Cave – 4 of Badami Caves

Parshvanatha is the successor Neminatha and the predecessor of Mahavira, the most well-known and final Tirthankara. Historians believe that both Mahavira and Parshvanatha were historical figures. Born in the holy city of Varanasi, Parshvanatha lived around 877 BCE and attained Moksha on Mount Summeta in present-day Madhuban in the state of Jharkhand, India.

In this relief, Parshvanatha is depicted as a digambara (person with no clothes) with the Kayotsarga posture, i.e., meditating while standing. Notice the beautifully carved five-headed naga above his head. This is one of the features that identify Parshvanatha.

Bahubali

The image shows a life-size sculptural relief depicting Bahubali carved on the interior walls of Cave – 4.

Sculptural relief of Bahubali in Cave - 4, the fourth of the rock-cut caves located in Badami, Karnataka, India
Bahubali

Bahubali is one of the 100 sons of Adinatha (Rishabhanatha). Bharata was the eldest, but Bahubali challenged him for the throne. Although he defeated Bharata in three non-violent games, he relinquished everything in disgust and meditated by standing up without clothes for 12 years and attained Moksha. While meditating vines grew on him. So, his iconography includes him standing naked with vines enveloping him.

Jakkave

Sculptural relief of Lady Jakkave with Mahavira carved near the entrance of Cave - 4, the fourth of the rock-cut caves located in Badami, Karnataka, India
Jakkave with Mahavira carved near the entrance of Cave – 4

The image shows a relief depicting a pious Jain nun called Jakkave who attained Moksha through Sallekhana -a religious practice in Jainism to follow certain vows to reduce human passions – sitting besides Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara.

This relief is carved on the right sidewall and is visible as you enter the cave.

Related Pages
Badami
Badami Cave – 1, Badami Cave – 2, Badami Cave – 3

Copyright © 2019 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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