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    Badami Cave 4

    Map Academy

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    Considered to be the last of the rock-cut Badami cave temples to be excavated, Cave 4 is a Jain temple dated variously to the sixth, seventh and even eighth centuries CE. It shares some of the features of Cave 3, such as its relative shallowness — its width (at its widest) being almost twice its depth — and the usage of unframed sculptural compositions that are mostly flush with the floor. Its plan is somewhat different from others in the complex: the sabhamandapa is truncated to a half-hall or ardhamandapa, and a vestibule or antarala is added before the main shrine or garbhagriha. It also has a relatively low ceiling, with shorter pillars and stout corbels and brackets.

    Excavated into the red sandstone scarp of the Kaladgi range at the northernmost end of the Badami cave complex, Cave 4 is considered by scholars to be a later addition or a modification of an already excavated cave whose original purpose is unknown. Its floor level is about 10 ft lower than that of Cave 3, and it is accessed by a flight of stairs from outside Cave 3. Work on the cave may have been abandoned: it has an incomplete facade with no basement mouldings or clearly defined architrave, but an interior that is complete in all apparent respects. Minor additions were made in subsequent centuries.

    The facade of the cave has four pillars and two pilasters in two ranks, both of the square-shafted and cushion-capitaled type, creating five bays. The vyala brackets that support the cornice of the porch roof are carved with mounted riders. Three bays lead from the mukhamandapa to the ardhamandapa, which in turn leads to the main shrine through an antechamber. The doorway leading to the ardhamandapa is decorated with the pancha-sakha scheme of bands and pilasters, and has an incomplete uttaranga (overdoor decoration) of three vimanas of the barrel-vaulted or shala type.

    On a pedestal carved into the back wall of the garbhagriha is Mahavira seated on a lion throne in paryankasana under the three tiered mukkode umbrella. Flanking him are chamaradharas (fly whisk bearers) and a hovering vidhyadhara couple. In the antechamber wall is a sculpture of the first Tirthankara, Adinatha, standing in the stiff renunciatory kayotsarga pose, with his long matted locks falling to his shoulders. He is flanked by twelve Tirthankaras in panels of varying sizes. The end walls of the ardhamandapa are carved with images of Mahavira, much like the one in the sanctum, but are additionally flanked by the yaksha and yakshi spirits Matanga and Siddhayika. The pilasters also bear reliefs of Jinas. On either side of the mukhamandapa are reliefs of Bahubali, identified by the creepers entwined around his legs; and Parshvanatha, identified by the serpent hoods over his head. All these figures are ‘sky-clad’ or digambara, carved in deep relief with a prabhamandala behind their heads. In a small panel on the western edge of the porch is a relief depicting the monk Jakkave supplicating a seated jina, thought to be Mahavira.

    Besides these main reliefs are carvings of other Tirthankaras such as Indrabhuti Gautama; the female monks Brahmi and Sundari, and yaksha/yakshi spirits associated with the Jinas, such as Padmavati.

    The size and dramatic scope of the Bahubali and Parshvanatha sculptures is similar to those of Cave 3, a significant change from the sculptural idiom seen in Cave 1. Unlike their enframed antecedents, the sculptures are more seamlessly integrated into the architectural setting, breaking down the barrier between the viewer and the deity.



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