Banashankari Amma Temple is a famous temple located in Cholachagudd near Badami, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. This is a temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
The Banashankari Amma Temple was originally built by the Chalukyas during the 7th century. The goddess Banashankari was their family deity. According to an inscription, this image of Banashankari Amma dates from 630 AD. C. It was founded by Jagadekamalla I. This temple was later rebuilt by the Marathas in the 18th century. Its modern structure now reflects the Vijayanagara style of architecture rather than the original Chalukya style.
The temple was initially built in the Dravidian style of the Chalukyas. It was later rebuilt during the Vijayanagara and Maratha periods. The temple has a mukha mandapa, followed by an ardha mandapa, which leads to the sanctum sanctorum. A vimana is at the top of the sanctum. In the sanctum, the goddess Banashankari is represented in a sitting posture with eight arms. She is shown sitting on a lion, while a demon is crushed under her leg. There is a square tank in front of the temple. Originally called Harishchandra Tirtha, this tank is now known as Haridra Tirtha. It is surrounded by a walkway with stone mandapas on three sides. There are two Deepa pillars, one on the west bank of the tank and one at the entrance. The Lamp Tower on the side of the tank is also an unusual guard tower.
Skanda Purana and Padma Purana claim that the demon Durgamasura constantly harassed local people. Answering the prayers of the Devas (demi-gods) by appealing to God through a yajna to protect them from Durgamasura, the Lord instructed the Goddess Shakambari to help the people. The Goddess manifested in the form of Shakambhari through the fire of Yajna (Agni-Yajna). She then killed the demon after a fierce encounter and restored peace in the area. Banashankari is considered to be an incarnation of the Goddess Parvati, who is the consort of Lord Shiva.
The forests surrounding the temple are covered in coconut, plants and betel nut plants and trees. Therefore, it is also said that during a severe famine, the goddess provided vegetables and food for people to survive, and therefore the goddess was named Shakambari.
Banashankari jatre (‘jatre’ means a “fair”) is held as a religious cum cultural festival, at the temple precincts every year on the occasion of the Rath yatra, for a period of about three weeks starting from the Rath yatra. Its starts on 8th day of Pushya masa.
How to Reach Banashankari Temple, Bagalkot
The closest airport is at Belgaum, 205 km away to Bagalkot.
There are regular buses from other major cities of the country to Bagalkot.
Bagalkot Railway Station is just 0.8 km away from the city center.