In the month of Rajyotsava it is the foremost duty of every Kannadiga to remember the history, rulers, the kingdoms and their legacy. Among these kingdoms, which the Karnataka will not forget, is Badami Chalukyas. The kingdom spread from South India to today’s Afghanistan.
By the mid-sixth century AD, the Vakatakas were supplanted by the Chalukyas of Badami as the major power in the Deccan. Like the Chutu-Satakarnis and the Kadambas of Vaijayanti, they are represented as belonging to the Manavyagotra and being Haritiputras. In later times they claimed descent from the lunar race. Certain inscriptions of a branch of the family refer their origin to Ayodhya, and one tradition connects the dynasties name with Brahmadeva’s Chuluka or hand hollowed out for the reception of water.
Some writers believe that the Chalukyas were in reality connected with the Chapas and the foreign Gurjara tribes of the North, but there is very little to be said in support of this conjecture. The Chalukyas, according to another opinion were a local Kanarese people, who improvised into the ruling Varna under Brahmanical influence. This opinion seems to be more probable, though there is no sufficient evidence for this also.
The Chalukyas began with a base in northern Mysore at Vatapi or Badami and the adjacent Aihole, from where they moved Northward and annexed the former kingdom of the Vakatakas, which was centred around Nasik and the upper Godavari.
The Chalukyas of Badami developed the Deccan or Vesara style in the building of structural temples, which reached culmination, however, only under the Rashtrakutas and the Hoysalas. They perfected the art of stone building without mortar. Under their auspices, the Buddhists, Jainas and Brahmanas competed with each other in building cave temples. Some of the finest specimens of the cave frescoes belonged to the Chalukya era.
The temple-building activity under the Chalukyas of Badami can be broadly divided into two stages. The first stage is represented by the temples at Aihole and Badami. Of the temples at Aihole, four are prominent.