Banashankari Temple

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Timings : 6:00 AM - 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Dress Code : Modest clothing with arms and legs covered. Sheer clothing is prohibited as well.

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Banashankari Temple, Badami Overview

Banashankari temple, also known as Banashankari Amma temple, is located at Cholachagudd near Badami, Karnataka. It is one amongst the most famous Hindi shrines in the state. Several stories and beliefs revolve around the temple regarding its construction, history, and culture. However, the most exciting fact about this temple is that the people worship 'Rahukala' which is considered inauspicious as per Hindu culture. The devotees pray to Rahukala to let go of all the miseries, poverty and inauspiciousness from their life.

The Banashankari temple has a past of harmony, being constructed and renovated in the Dravidian and Nagara architectural styles. It has maintained its tradition of unity in the religious cum cultural festival of Banashankari Jatre every January, where people from Karnataka and adjacent states pour in to show their devotion and also witness in the cultural programmes and the fair. The Haridra Tirtha is a pond in the temple complex with a tall lamp over a three-story structure and this is an architectural marvel. 

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Legend Associated with Banashankari Temple

The legends of the various avatars of the Supreme Mother Goddess are older than time itself. It has been told uncountable times in numerous versions and giving different names to the goddess and the demon. The most famous of them is where the demon Asura unleashes his tyranny over the three worlds, heaven, hell, and earth. On the request of the gods, the three keepers of the multiverse, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar beckoned Shakti to appear in the form of Durga and demolish the demon and bring an end to the evil.
Asura in temple scultptures

The same legend is also the backstory of the in-house deity Banashankari. It is said in local folklore that the demon Durgamasura harassed the local people to an intolerable extent and answering the prayers of the Devas, goddess Shakambari appeared through the fire of yajna - the sacred fire and killed the demon, restoring peace and goodness back in the region. The temple is constructed in the very place the goddess appeared.

Goddess Banashankari is said to be the sixth reincarnation of the warrior goddess Durga, who killed the great demon Mahisasura and an avatar of goddess Parvati - Lord Shiva's consort. Her other name Shakambari comes from the myth that when the whole world was suffering from famine and starvation, she blessed upon them the growth of green vegetables and fruits from her own being.

Free lunch or 'Annadaan' is provided for the visitors in the temple, keeping in mind this legend.

History of Banashankari Temple

Like many of the Hindu temples that date back to the old ages, this too does not have an origin date that is concrete. However, the original temple is believed to be built by Kalyani Chalukya kings in the 7th century AD. Jagadekamalla I installed the deity of Goddess Banashankari in the black stone sculpture in 603 AD according to the inscriptions. The temple might have existed before that, and his contributions were renovations over and above the ancient structure. The Chalukya dynasty worshipped the Goddess Banashankari as their tutelary deity in the form of 'Shakti' - the most potent cosmic being. Some inscriptions belonging to 1019 AD has also been found in the temple, describing the bravery of the Rashtrakuta king Bhimadeva. Hence, the actual history of this temple remains unsolved.
The Temple in 1855

There were many alterations made in the architecture of the Banashankari temple in the late 18th century by the Maratha chieftain - Parusharam Agale. The current structure is a mixture of the various periods of the history which adds the uniqueness to this temple. The architecture has Dravidian, Vijayanagara and Islamic influences. The Deepa Stambas os lamp pillar standing at the entrance are ascribed to a warrior called Ketimayya as per the inscribed information.

Banashankari Jatre Festival

The word jatre means fair, and that explains why there is such a huge congregation, not only of devotees but people from the state and neighbouring states as well. The event is a religious festival and a cultural fair, both at the same time. It takes places during January, the Pushya masa as per lunar calendar, starting from the day of the car-festival or Rathyatra. The deity is carried around the city in a chariot for the thousands of devotees to witness who cannot come to the temple.

Other than offering prayers to the deity, the festival also promotes cultural and even religious harmony. The rural crowd is entertained with music, drama and circus. There are makeshift shops and stalls of sweets, clothing, sacred artefacts and vermillion, most of which are run by Muslims. Cattle fair and wood carvings fair is very prominent during the festivities.

The festival has yet another event - the Teppotsava (boat festival), where parents use banana leaf boats to float their newborn child and ferry them around the Banashankari temple tank to seek blessings of the Mother Goddess for their babies.

Structure and Architecture of Banashankari Temple

The temple was originally built in Dravidian architectural style, but while renovation, Vijayanagara and Islamic styles got rubbed off too. The main premises comprise of a front portico - Mukha Mandapa, an entrance platform - Ardha Mandapa, and the sanctum sanctorum - Garbha Griha where the deity resides, topped with a tower called Vimana. The goddess here is seated on her trademark lioness, killing the demon lying at her feet. In her eight arms, she holds the war bell, sword and shield, Vedic writings and scriptures, the skull vessel, hand drum or damaru and her favourite, consort-gifted weapon - the trident.
Temple Pond

In front of the Banashankari temple's entrance, there is the square-shaped water tank called Haridra Tirtha broken down from Harishchandra Tirtha. A path is marked all around the water body for devotees to walk around for Pradakshina.

Tips For Visiting Banashankari Temple

1. Clicking picture inside the temple, especially of the deity is strictly prohibited. Keep that in mind and respect the rules.
2. Don't forget to taste dry Jawar roti, Chutney and Curd which they serve at a very reasonable rate near the temple campus.

How To Reach Banashankari Temple

The temple is located within 5 kilometres of the Badami town at Cholachagudd. You can take a public transport, an auto-rickshaw, bus or rickshaw to reach the Banashankari temple from Badami and commute within the town. It can be reached from the main towns like Bangalore or Hubli by State bus service.

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