Bhutanatha group of temples, Badami

The Bhutanatha group of temples is a cluster of sandstone shrines dedicated to the deity Bhutanatha, in Badami town of Karnataka state, India. There are two major temples here. Temple No.1, on the east side of the lake, called the Bhutanatha temple has a superstructure that resembles early South Indian style or North Indian style with its open mantapa (hall or Veranda) extending into the lake, while the smaller Temple No.2 on the north-east side of the lake, sometimes called the Mallikarjuna group of temples, has a stepped superstructure, commonly found in Kalyani Chalukya constructions.[1] The inner shrine and mantapa (hall) of Temple No.1 were constructed in the late 7th century, during the reign of the Badami Chalukyas. While the outer mantapa, facing the Badami tank, was completed during the rule of the Kalyani Chalukyas of the 11th century. Hence the Bhutanatha temple contain architectural forms from different periods.[2][3][4] Studies show that these Kalyani Chalukya architects could have belonged to the same early phase workshop, that later built the nearby Yellamma temple and the Mallikarjuna group of temples.[5]

Bhutanatha group of temples
Bhutanatha temple in Badami, Karnataka, India.jpg
Bhutanatha temple complex at Badami, 7th century, with the open hall (11th century) extending to the lake.
Geographic coordinates15°55′15″N 75°41′16″E / 15.92083°N 75.68778°E / 15.92083; 75.68778Coordinates: 15°55′15″N 75°41′16″E / 15.92083°N 75.68778°E / 15.92083; 75.68778
TypeChalukyan architecture
CreatorBadami Chalukyas, Kalyani Chalukyas
Completed7th century CE, 11th century CE
Bhutanatha temple in monsoon
Rear view of Bhutanatha temple complex at Badami
The Mallikarjuna group (11th century) near the tank in Badami, with pyramid shaped stepped superstructure


Temple planEdit

In the inner hall of the Bhutanatha temple, a heavy architrave above the columns divides the hall into a central nave and two aisles. The pillars are massive and the bays in the ceiling of the nave is decorated with lotus rosette. Perforated windows bring dim light into the inner mantapa.[3] On either side of the foot of the shrine doorway is an image of goddess Ganga on her vehicle, the makara, on the right, and on the left, that of goddesses Yamuna riding the tortoise. There is no dedicatory block upon the lintel to indicate to which deity the initial dedication was for. The Shiva linga in the shrine appears to be a later addition after the original deity in the sanctum was removed.[3]

The temple is unfinished and at the base of the superstructure (Shikhara), are vestiges of Jain architecture. The image niches on the wall of the shrine and the hall are now empty though some decorative elements like makharas (mythical beast) with long tails still remain.[6] To the north of the hall is a small shrine which was originally consecrated for Vishnu. Following later Jain modifications, the temple was eventually taken over by the followers of Lingayatism who built an outer hall and installed a Nandi (vehicle of Shiva) and a Shiva linga inside the sanctum.[6]

The Mallikarjuna group exhibits topological features popularised by the Kalyani Chalukya architects, including plain walls, angled eaves over the open mantapa (hall) and pyramid shaped superstructures made of closely spaced horizontal tiers.[7]


  1. ^ Kamiya, Takeo (20 September 1996). "Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent". Gerard da Cunha-Architecture Autonomous, Bardez, Goa, India. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  2. ^ Michael D. Gunther. "Monuments of India". Site Index, Part II: Deccan before 1000. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Cousens (1926), p. 55
  4. ^ Hardy (1995), p. 321
  5. ^ Hardy (1995), p. 322
  6. ^ a b Cousens (1926), p. 56
  7. ^ Michael D. Gunther. "Monuments of India". Site Index, Part II: Deccan before 1000. Retrieved 22 August 2008.


  • Cousens, Henry (1996) [1926]. The Chalukyan Architecture of Kanarese Districts. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India. OCLC 37526233.
  • Hardy, Adam (1995). Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation-The Karnata Dravida Tradition 7th to 13th Centuries. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-312-4.

External linksEdit