Bengaluru: Built toward the end of the 5th century, around the natural streams that flow near the Badami cave temples, the temple complex of Mahakuta is one of Karnataka’s best kept secrets. It is regarded as one of the most important examples of 6th century architecture.
Interestingly, this unique temple complex is home to the Lakulisha, the only known nude form of Lord Shiva. Even so, the Mahakuta temple complex is badly neglected, both by tourists and the government.
Srinivas Padigar, Professor of Ancient History and Epigraphy, Karnataka University, Dharwad, says, “The main temple Mahakuteshwara was built in 596 AD and a pillar, formerly situated in the middle of the temple was shifted to Bijapur by the British government.
There are many small temples manifesting both the Dravidian style of architecture and the Rekha Nagara, a northern tradition. The temples are built over a natural stream which feed the Malaprabha River,” Professor Padigar explained.
During the Chalukya period, Mahakuta was an important extension of Badami and was ruled by King Mangalesh who donated the spoils of a war in which he defeated the Kalchari kings. After his death, the the town was deserted by its people.
A picturesque walkway, about 5km long, connects the Badami caves to Mahakuta. Professor Padigar also mentioned Shidalpad, a geological wonder located on the way to Mahakuta from the Badami caves.