An enchanted evening at the Agastya Teertha & Bhootnatha Temple

The two Bhootnatha Temples of Badami are located in one of the most picturesque settings that I have seen in my travels. In the photograph below, the Agastya Teertha or lake is spread out with the Bhootnatha Temple on the eastern bank visible somewhere near the centre of the photograph. Though I had seen pictures of the Agastya Teertha and the Bhootnatha Temple in a similar setting, the feeling of “Wow” is quite different when you see it yourself, than the “Wow” you feel when you see a photograph.

The Agsatya Teertha and the Bhootnatha Temple on its eastern bank

The Bhootnatha Temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva—Shiva in the form of the God of souls, spirits and ghosts. Built out of red sandstone probably sourced from the surrounding hills, the two temples are placed opposite one another at the eastern and western banks of the Agastya Teertha. The approach to the Agastya Teertha and the Bhootnatha Temples from Badami Caves is via a narrow and winding path that passes through a village.

It was around 5 pm when we arrived at the banks of the Agastya Teertha. From there we could see both the Bhootnatha Temples. The sun, which had been playing hide and seek with the clouds and us the whole afternoon, came out for a brief while. Almost on cue, the strains of a shehnai began, probably played from western Bhootnatha temple. The strains soon grew louder and discernible as Raga Sarang.

It was the beginning of a wonderful evening in an enchanted setting for me. With the shehnai music still playing in my head, let me not put into words what I experienced. Instead, my photographs will speak do the talking for me. :-)

The Badami Cave Temples are across the lake. On the right is the western bank of the Agastya Teertha

With such a perfect setting for films, it was no surprise to see a Hindi television serial being filmed here—Ganga ki Dheej

The Bhootnatha Temple on the Eastern Bank. Don't the saffron flags make a pretty picture?

Within the eastern Bhootnatha temple complex is a tiny shrine, which has this sculpted Anantashayana form of Lord Vishnu, as well as his 10 avatars sculpted above his sleeping form. The natural colour banding of the rocks adds to the whole effect of this stunning sculpture

A serene and calming vista

As we were walking back after the visit to the eastern Bhootnath Temple, these coracles came into view. I couldn't make out whether they were part of the television serial or whether it was for the tourists. Either way, they made a pretty picture.

Some experiences cannot be expressed in words; the evening spent at the Agastya Teertha was one of them. Don’t you agree?

P.S.: This visit was part of a tour organised by Doreen D’Sa of Doe’s Ecotours. She can be contacted at does_ecotours@yahoo.co.in.

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