Badami Banashankari Temple – Famous Shaktipeetha of Uttara Karnataka

Banashankari Temple Badami – “Badami Banashankari Ninna Padaka Shambooko” – This is the sacred slogan or we can say a holy Naara, that can be heard in every household of North Karnataka. It means “Salutations to your feet Banashankari Amma”. This sentence is at the forefront of starting any good work or auspicious deeds. and Banashankari is the word that immediately comes to mind.

Badami Banashankari Temple
Banashankari temple view PC@Wikimedia commons

Goddess Banashankari is called by different names across India, including Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, Sankavva, Balavva, Banadavva, Vanadurge, Chamundi, Shakhambari, etc. Having large number of devotees, Badami banashankari is one of the oldest Shaktipeethas present in North Karnataka.

Original Banashankari temple is situated in a small village called “Cholachagudda” in historic town Badami. Yes, by now you might have recalled hearing about name “Badami”. Original name of Badami is “Watapi”, which is ruled by Chalukya dynasty. So, along with a sacred pilgrimage site, Badami is a historic site as well, which attracts many foreign tourists every year.

With Lakhs of devotees, Banashankari is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. With its rich historical heritage and deep spiritual significance, this temple dedicated to Sri Badami Banashankari Devi has captivated millions of devotees, making it their Kuldevi or family deity.

A Historical Journey through Time

Banashankari Temple Badami Inside
Banashankari Temple Badami View from the entrance

The origins of the Banashankari Temple can be traced back to the Golden Era of Karnataka – The Chalukya era. Vatapi was the original name of Badami. It was under the rule of the Chalukyas and used to reign as the capital of the Chalukyas of Badami. Banashankari was the deity of the Kalyanachalukyas.

Legend has it that the temple was built by the Chalukya dynasty, who ruled over the region during that era.  It was King Jagadekamalla III who commissioned the construction of this temple in 603 CE, installing the divine Banashankari Devi Murti within its sacred walls. Over time, the temple underwent reconstruction, with Marari Dandanayaka “Parasurama Agale” restoring its magnificence in 1750 CE.

The auspicious occasion of Navratri, spanning nine days, holds great significance for the devotees of Banashankari Devi. During this time, the goddess adorns herself with unique ornaments and sarees, unveiling nine different swaroops or divine forms for her worshippers to behold.

The legend behind the names – Banashankari & Shakhambari

The historical significance of the Badami Banashankari Shakthipeetha can be found in ancient texts such as the Skanda Purana. It narrates the tales of this patron deity, revered by the Chalukyas and neighboring kings.

According to the legend, a fierce asura named Durgamasura once resided in Tilakaranya, a forest that caused great suffering to its inhabitants, including the sages. Unable to endure the torment any longer, the sages sought divine intervention. Adishakti, a manifestation of Parvati, emerged from the Yagna Kund and vanquished Durgamasura. Thus, the name “Banashankari” originated, derived from “Bana” meaning forest and “Shankari” referring to the Shakti of Shankara.

Simhavahini - Banashnkari Devi Badami
Simhavahini – Banashnkari Devi Badami

Another important name associated with Banashankari Amma is Shakhambari, which stems from an intriguing tale. During a period of severe drought, the people of a town suffered from hunger and thirst. Even the deities, unable to see this irony, despaired and cried out in unison. In such a situation, Lord Shiva, Brahma, and all the deities pray to Banashankari Amma.

“You are the true embodiment of the ebb and flow of the world. Without rain the living beings are lifeless. Without the water, the world has lost the art of life. On the barren earth, Come like a thunderbolt, like a monsoon to save your children.”

In their distress, Goddess Banashankari shed tears, quenching Mother Earth’s thirst and providing nourishment to her devotees. She manifested vegetables (Shaka) and became known as Amba, the mother who satiated people’s hunger. The name Shakhambari was thus bestowed upon the goddess, signifying her benevolence and sustenance.

Around this time, she created Haridratirtha, Tailatirtha, Kshamatirtha, Padmatirtha, Indriya Nigrahatirtha, etc. around the Kshetra. She turned the barren land into Brindavan.

Worshiping the Multifaceted Goddess

The devotees of Banashankari express their reverence through various names for the goddess. They invoke her as Balavva, Banadavva, Chaudeshwari, Sankavva Vanadurge, and Vanashankari. She is often depicted riding a lion, known as Simhavahini, symbolizing her might and power.

Badami Banashankari Temple – Architectural Grandeur & the Divine Murthi

The Banashankari Amma temple showcases exquisite architecture, with its present structure following the Vijayanagara style. Initially designed in the Dravidian architectural style, the temple is enclosed by a surrounding wall or Prakara.

The temple complex comprises a rectangular mandapa (hall), adorned with a towering entrance known as the Gopuram. Intricate carvings depicting various deities and Pauranic figures embellish the Gopuram, serving as a gateway to the main shrine.

Within the temple, you will find a mukha mandapa, an ardha mandapa (entrance chamber), and a shrine topped by a Vimana. The large open space known as the courtyard or Angala, encircled by pillared halls, is utilized for religious gatherings and ceremonies.

At the heart of the Garbhagudi (sanctum sanctorum) resides the sacred Murti of Banashankari Amma, sculpted from beautiful black stone. Seated on a lion, she triumphs over a demon beneath her feet. Adorned with eight arms, Banashankari Amma holds the Trishula (trident), a bell, a Dhamaru (drum), a sword, a shield, and the head of an asura.

Celebrating Festivals and Traditions

Corridor View of Haridratheertha Banashankari Temple
Corridor View of Haridratheertha – Banashankari Temple

The Banashankari Temple pulsates with vibrant festivities throughout the year. During the vegetable festival known as “Palleda Habba,” the goddess is adorned with a variety of vegetables. Devotees prepare and offer 108 different food items, each prepared with a distinct vegetable, to express their devotion and gratitude to Banashankari Devi.

Another significant celebration is the Banashankari Jatra, an annual fair that spans four weeks and culminates on the full moon day of Magha month (January/February). Devotees from all corners of Karnataka flock to the Banashankari temple during this auspicious time, seeking the blessings of the goddess. The fair transforms the vicinity into a lively and colorful spectacle, with street vendors offering an array of sweets, flowers, clothing, and toys.

During the sacred occasion of Navratri, which typically occurs in the month of Paush, the devotees of Karnataka commemorate the nine-day festival by paying homage to the divine Goddess Banashankari.

Indulging in the Authentic Cuisine of Uttara Karnataka

Local Women selling North Karnataka Home made meals at Banashankari temple
PC@ Wikimedia commons – Locals with Homemade meals at Banashankari Temple

Adjacent to the temple, local women prepare a delectable spread of North Karnataka meals, featuring dishes such as maze/sorghum roti, Karagadubu (Puran Kadabu), Kalupalle (sprouts curry), red chili chutney, and Pundi Palle (Gongura curry). These sumptuous offerings are made available to devotees for a nominal price, and their unique flavors are truly a gastronomic delight. People, who visit Banaskanhari temple, must taste this authentic North Karnataka-style food served outside the temple by village women. And many believe their journey to be incomplete without tasting this food.

Padayatra – A Spiritual Journey to the Banashankari Shakthipeetha

Haridratertha View - Banashankari Temple Badami
Haridratertha View – Banashankari Temple Badami

Undertaking a padayatra or foot pilgrimage to the Badami Banashankari Temple is a cherished tradition among devotees, especially during the annual Banashankari fair. Many embark on this sacred journey, traversing long distances on foot from their homes or neighboring towns and villages. Some even choose to walk barefoot, symbolizing their unwavering devotion and penance. This spiritual expedition strengthens their faith and deepens their connection with Banashankari Amma.

Discovering the Divine Abode

Located on the outskirts of Badami, the Banashankari Temple is easily accessible by road. Travelers can reach Badami first and then continue approximately 4 kilometers to Banashankari.

The nearest airports to Badami are Hubbali and Belgaum airports, situated 110 kilometers and 130 kilometers away, respectively. For those who prefer train journeys, the town is easily accessible by railway.

Upon reaching Badami, regular KSRTC buses provide transportation to Banashankari. Alternatively, one can opt for an auto-rickshaw or a tanga ride (horse cart) at a minimal cost.

Exploring Nearby Attractions

Badami itself is a historic town known for its association with the Chalukya dynasty and boasts numerous ancient temples and rock-cut monuments. Visitors to the area can explore the places like Badami Caves/Cave Temples, Aihole, Pattadakallu, etc.

These nearby destinations offer a glimpse into the rich history and vibrant culture of Karnataka, making them worthwhile additions to your itinerary.

Visiting the Banashankari Temple in Badami is not only a spiritual journey but also an exploration of the region’s historical and cultural heritage. The divine aura, architectural splendor, and fervent celebrations will leave you with cherished memories and a deep sense of fulfillment.

A scenic couple photo shoot at badami cave temples

Facts On Badami Banashankari Temple

Where is the Badami Banashankari Temple located?

The Badami Banashankari Temple is located in Badami, a town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India.

When was the Badami Banashankari Temple constructed?

The temple is believed to have been constructed in the 7th century.

Who is the presiding deity of the Badami Banashankari Temple?

The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Banashankari, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati.

What is the best time to visit Banashankari Temple Badami?

The best time to visit Banashankari Temple Badami is during the months of October to March when the weather is pleasant and suitable for exploring the temple and its surroundings. And one can witness the Annual Banashankari Devi fair, which happens in 1st or 2nd week of January.

What is the architectural style of the Badami Banashankari Temple?

The temple is built in the Chalukyan architectural style, which is known for its intricate carvings and unique structural elements.

What is the name of the river that flows near the temple?

The temple is located on the banks of the Malaprabha River.

What is the material used for the construction of the Badami Banashankari Temple? – The temple is primarily constructed using red sandstone.

What is the height of the temple’s vimana?

The vimana of the Badami Banashankari Temple stands at approximately 60 feet in height.

Can you name any unique rituals or customs associated with the temple’s worship?

Devotees often offer sarees to the goddess as a symbol of their devotion.

Are there any accommodations available near the temple?

Yes, the temple itself has accommodation facilities for the devotees at a very minimal cost. Other than that, people can also stay in Badami, around 2.5 Km from the temple.

Can we take photographs inside the temple complex?

Yes, devotees can take photos inside the temple complex, but it is advisable to seek permission from the authorities before capturing images.

How far is Badami Banashankari Temple from the famous archaeological site of Aihole?

The temple is approximately 15 kilometers away from the archaeological site of Aihole, which is known for its ancient temples.

Are there any nearby tourist places worth visiting?

Yes, Badami is home to several other tourist places that are worth visiting. Some of the notable ones include the Badami Caves, Aihole Temples, and Pattadakal Group of Monuments.

Are there any food stalls in the temple?

Yes, there are food stalls near the temple where visitors can savor the delicious local cuisine.


Share it:

A simple girl from Ilkal, where threads weave tales of timeless beauty (Ilkal Sarees). I embark on journeys both inward and across distant horizons. My spirit finds solace in the embrace of nature's symphony, while the essence of spirituality guides my path.

Leave a Comment