Mahakuta Temple, Badami – The 6th Century marvel

Mahakuta Temple one of the very famous temples near Badami in Bagalkot district in the state of Karnataka ( also known as Sri Chikka Mahaakuteshwara Gudi ).

Shri Mahakuta temple is a collection of temples devoted to Lord Shiva. It is a significant Hindu pilgrimage site and home to a well-known Shaiva monastery. These temples were built by the early rulers of Badami’s Chalukya dynasty between the 6th and 7th centuries.

Within the temple complex, a natural mountain spring supplies fresh water into a big reservoir known as the Vishnu Pushkarni (“Lotus pool of god Vishnu”) and an ablution tank known as the Papavinasha Tirtha (“Tank of Ablution”).

There is a small shrine in the centre of the Vishnu Pushkarni tank and in it is a Shiva linga called Panchamukha Linga (“five faced Linga”), one face for each direction and one on top.

It is amazing to see that there are around 24 Lord Shiva temples in this huge complex which surrounds the Vishnu Pushkarni.

The Mahakuteswara and the Mallikarjuna temples are the largest of the Mahakuta group of temples !

Who built Mahakuteshwara Temple?

The Mahakuta Group of Temples was constructed early in the Chalukya Dynasty and has a wealth of information about ancient culture and tradition. The majestic temple was built by the Chalukyas, the first king Pulakesi I.

Inscriptions at Mahakuta Temple

Two noteworthy inscriptions are also found in Mahakuta.

  1. The first is a Dharma Vijayastambha pillar inscription. It dates back to Pulakesi-I and records a donation of ten villages to Lord Mahakuteswara by his queen Durlabhadevi. Surprisingly, Pattadakal and Aihole are among the villages. This inscription also contains information about the Chalukya ancestry, as well as their military adventures and achievements.
  2. The other inscription, found on the porch of the Mahakuteswara temple, mentions a gift of rubies and a silver umbrella to the Lord by Vijayaditya’s consort, Vinapoti.

Temple architecture

  • These temples are built by the Badami Chalukyas.
  • These temples reflect the Aihole style of temple building.
  • The Chalukya style is a hybrid of the Nagara and Dravidian styles.
  • The temples have tiered or curvilinear towers over the sanctum.

The most important temple, the Mahakuteswara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the main temple.

It has a Shiva Linga in the shrine, topped by a curvilinear tower. It is built in the Dravidian style.

You will find several other small temples in the temple courtyard. As in all Lord Shiva temples here well you will ind a Nandi in front.

The wall niches are decorated with carvings of various forms of Lord Shiva.

There is a natural spring-fed tank inside the temple complex called Vishnu Pushkarani.

The Mallikarjuna temple on the other side of the tank is very similar to the Mahakuteswara temple. It has beautiful carvings on the walls and on the ceilings.

Mahakuta group of temple timing

The temple complex is open to visitors from 6 AM morning to 8.00 PM in the evening.

How to reach Mahakuta group of temple ?

Google Maps link:

  • Mahakuta is situated around 460 Km from Bangalore,
  • Mahakuta to Badamu distance is around 15 kms
  • Mahakuta to Pattadakal is around 10 kms.
  • The Mahakuta group of temples is located in between Badami and Pattadakal.
  • There are local bus service from Badami to Mahakuta Group of Temples
  • The nearer airport to Mahakuta is Hubli which is around 120Kms away and you can get a taxi from there
  • Nearest rail station to Mahakita is Badami which is around 15 Kms away.

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