NIAS Wednesday Discussion: "Badami: An ode to Sandstone" by Dr Srikumar M. Menon, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 0930 hrs

NIAS Wednesday Discussion


“Badami: An Ode to Sandstone”


Srikumar M. Menon

Research Officer, Heritage Science and Society Programme, NIAS


Chairperson: M B Rajani, Assistant Professor, Heritage Science and Society Programme, NIAS,


Date and Time : 25th January, 2017, 9.30 AM

Venue:Lecture Hall, NIAS


Abstract: The earliest architects who shaped the Badami landscape were not human. Mud, sand and gravel were consolidated by geological processes into a strangely beautiful rock we know as sandstone. Over periods of time that boggles the imagination, wind and water shaped and sculpted this sandstone and transformed the landscape into fantastic gorges, dramatic cliffs, haphazardly tumbled boulders and cavernous weathered hollows.

Late entrants into this tangled theatre of rock and water and sky were our earliest ancestors. The rugged landscape afforded them rock shelters to protect them from the elements and water sources to quench their thirst and sufficient prey to hunt. Vestiges of prehistoric man are encountered in the landscape - such as painted rock shelters and stone tools.

As the history of human occupation of Badami and other places in the valley of the River Malaprabha progressed, several types of man-made monuments began to adorn the natural landscape. Starting from humble prehistoric monuments, architecture in the Malaprabha Valley became more ambitious over time. Sanctuaries of various religious affiliations were scooped out of the rock and rock-cut architecture and embellishments reached a zenith under the Early Chalukyans, who ruled the region from the 6th to 8th centuries CE. Some of the earliest structural temples of the region too came up at Badami and surrounding areas, earning this region the epithet of “crucible of early temple architecture.”

In this talk I will be presenting visuals of the natural environment and the monuments of different historical monuments in the Malaprabha Valley collected over nearly a decade of fieldwork in this region.

All are cordially invited


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For further details, please contact Prof. Sangeetha Menon [ or], Coordinator for Wednesday Discussion Meetings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017