"Ravana Phadi" is the most interesting rock cut cave shrine in Aihole. This rock cut cave shrine belongs to the 6th century AD. The cave consists of a hall with two pillars in the front and an antechamber behind. On either side of the hall are two chambers containing beautiful life size sculptures.
|Ravana Phadi Cave Shrine|
It was late evening when we were walking back to our shelter after exploring Aihole. This cave from far looked very intriguing and since it was already dark and we had no energy left in us we were in doubt whether or not to find out what's in this cave. We met a person walking in the opposite direction to us and on inquiring he felt sorry for us telling the cave might be closed at this time but it is very beautiful inside. As a matter of chance, looking back and seeing the gate keeper just about to lock the gate to the cave he told us to rush over and shouted loud to the keeper making him aware of our presence and wanting to see the cave. Luckily, the gate keeper cheerfully waved at us (meaning we are welcomed) and there we were, as though destined to see this place. Though we were very tired, our efforts were worth while and for sure, this turned out to be one of the most beautiful cave temples we had ever seen.
The inner sanctum houses a Shiva Linga. There are many life size carvings of Lord Shiva in his various forms. The most beautiful of them all is the ten armed Shiva in a dancing posture and to his left is a small figure standing, which we thought could be of Lord Shanmuga (Shiva's Son). Next to him stands Goddess Parvathi and on the right side of Lord Shiva is an interesting short figure of Lord Ganapathi engaged with his favorite food , 'the modakas'.
|Ten Armed Dancing Shiva and his Family|
The other side of the hall has figures of 'Harihara - the combined form of Lords Vishnu and Shiva'. There is a wonderful carving on the ceiling. The small vacant room on the side of Sanctum could have been the kitchen. The drainage system also seemed to have been well developed inside the cave. Carvings of many dwarf musicians are also seen on the raised platform.
|Sage Agasthiyar, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi|
|Another Set of Dwarf Musicians|
|Lord Vishnu with his Consorts|
|Water Drainage System|
'The ASI has done a fair job in restoration of this place though they can never the match the original work. But that's not their mistake either, we have to blame our ancestors for building so complicatedly' says the watchman with an ironic smile on his face. Our ancestors were the true geniuses in every aspect of life.
|The Pillars - Old and New Look|
To be continued .........................