Malgitti Shivalaya, Badami

September 16, 2013
Our day started with an expedition to see prehistoric rock paintings on Badami hills with my friends Dariappa, Satarkar and Malatesh, and our guide was a local lad named Pundalik. The experience was extraordinary because the figures in those paintings were not the usual types seen at other prehistoric sites. They seemed to be pictures of extraterrestrial beings.. of course I've not seen any ETs but those pictures definitely were different from earthly beings. Then we had breakfast at Badami and went to Halae Mahakoota, the older version of Mahakuta. Then we were back at Badami to see the seldom visited spots of Badami. We went around Agastya Theerth, saw a small cave dwelling used by ascetics of ancient times, the ruins of present-day-sculptures, an ancient diving board and then dropped off Dariappa who had some work to catch up. Satarkar insisted us on visiting Maalagitti temple situated on the western side of Badami's north fort.

We climb up the steps towards the temple, the fort hill towering above us.
The temple is perched at the top of a large monolith.

It's a temple built on a raised Adishtana, has one Garbhagudi, a Sabha-Mantap and a Mukha-mantap. The interior is relatively plain while the exterior is moderately decorated with figures of gods and human beings. The sculptures are quite different from what can be seen at similar temples at Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole.

The front porch- Mukha-mantapa - features four heavy columns.

On the sides are grilled windows and sculptures of gods, elephants and human beings.

On each of the side walls, on the exterior are two large sculptures of standing Shiva and Vishnu on left and right respectively. Shiva's Trisula and Vishnu's Charkra & Shankha are prominently displayed along with there consorts Parvati and Laxmi.

The temple entrance is flanked by sword wielding Dwarapalas. On the left side, right next to the door is a Kannada inscription.

A metal rod stuck in a hole. Was it fixed to work as a stopper or did it get jammed by mistake?

Following are a series of sculptures on the exterior.

a chubby elephant head
King's sculpture?
Court jesters?
Men engaged in wrestling competition? 
seems like a plump woman with a pot
more jesters?
a collage of frames depicting more people
These images are different from others; they have a unique identity.

The temple offers a good view of the surroundings. The fort above and also part of the rock-cut temples on the other side of Agathya Theerth.
On the left are columns of rock formation; one of the columns is leaning on it's neighbor forming a shelter between them. In that shelter is a shrine occupied by Muslims.

Badami is much more than what people know and what tourists see. Our thanks to Satarkar. Maalagitti temple is special to him because he started his career in ASI as a care-taker of this temple.

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