Temple: Banashankari Amma Temple
Banashankari Amma Temple – Overview
Banashankari Amma Temple is a famous temple located in Cholachagudd near Badami, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. This is a temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Banashankari Amma Temple – History
The Banashankari Amma Temple was originally built by the Chalukyas during the 7th century. The Goddess Banashankari was their family deity. According to an inscription, this image of the Banashankari Amma was installed by Jagadekamalla I in 630 AD. This temple was later renovated by the Marathas in the 18th century. Its modern structure now reflects the Vijayanagara style of architecture more than the original Chalukya style.
Banashankari Amma Temple – Architecture
The temple was initially built in the Dravidian style of the Chalukyas. It was later rebuilt in the Vijayanagara and Maratha periods. The temple has a mukha mandapa, followed by an ardha mandapa, leading to the sanctum. The Sanctum is topped by a vimana. In the sanctum, the goddess Banashankari is depicted in a seated posture, with eight arms. She is shown sitting on a lion, while crushing a demon under her foot. There is a square tank in front of the temple. This tank, originally called Harishchandra Tirtha, is now known as Haridra Tirtha. It is surrounded by a walkway, with stone mandapas on three sides. There are two Deepa Stambas, one on the west bank of the tank, and one at the entrance. The lamp tower by the side of the tank is also an unusual guard tower.
Banashankari Amma Temple – Mythology
The Skanda Purana says that an Asura named Durgamasura lived in this region. He used to harass the people and made their life unbearable. The Devas were moved by their plight and prayed for a way to kill the Demon. Goddess Parvati answered their prayers. She came down to earth as Shakambari and killed Durgamasura after a fierce battle. Shakambari stayed on in the region to protect the people. She came to be known as Banashankari or Vanashankari. Vana means forest in Sanskrit, and Shankari means the consort of Lord Shankara. As the temple was situated near a forest, she was called Vanashankari, which later became Banashankari in the local language.
How to Get to Banashankari Amma Temple
This temple is situated just five kilometers from Badami, another famous religious and tourist spot. It is easy to reach Badami by bus from any part of Karnataka. Badami also has a railway station. The nearest airport is located in the city of Belgaum.
Banashankari Amma Temple – Facts
- The Banashankari Rath Yatra – This festival is held every year starting from the full mom day in January. The Goddess is taken on a procession through the village streets in the temple chariot. This festival attracts both people from Karnataka and others from the neighboring states.
- Banashankari Jatre – This is a religious and cultural festival that is held along with the Rath Yatra. It is a sort of fair, blending entertainment and commerce.
- Many shops are set up around the temple to sell various wares.
- The interesting point to note is that many shops selling uniquely Hindu wares like vermilion and sacred threads among others are operated by Muslims.
- The cattle fair held during the Jatre is very famous.
- Another attraction is that artisans from neighboring areas set up shops to sell elaborately carved wooden doors and door frames.