Banashankari Amma Temple
Banashankari Amma Temple is a Hindu shrine located at Cholachagudd near Badami, in Bagalkot district, Karnataka. The temple is located in the Tilakaaranya forest, popularly called Banashankari. The temple deity is also called the Shakambhari an incarnation of the goddess Parvati. There is an annual festival celebrated called Banashankari jatre, in the months of January or February. The festival includes cultural programmes, boat festival as well as a Rath yatra and there is a ritual that the temple goddess is paraded around the city in a chariot. The temple attracts devotees from Karnataka as well as the neighbouring state of Maharashtra also. The original temple was built by the 7th century Kalyani Chalukya kings.
The way of offering prayers at the temple is also very interesting. Devotees creates Diyas from lemons by cutting them half and removing the inside pulp. They then put oil inside and lights them. The present refurbished temple was built in 1750, by Parusharam Agale, a Maratha chieftain. The Deepa Stambas (lamp pillar) are seen at the entrance to the temple; the construction of these, as per an inscription, are ascribed to the warrior Ketimayya. There is a 360 ft square water tank, Haridra Tirtha, in the forefront of the temple at the entrance, The pond is enclosed with stone mantapas on three sides, A circumambulatory path surrounds the tank. Banashankari is considered as the incarnation of goddess Parvati, who is the consort of god Shiva. The Temple is covered with forests and have coconut, plantain and betel leaf plants etc. Hence, it is also said that during a severe famine, the goddess provides vegetables and food for the people to survive and thus, the goddess was given the name Shakambari.
The Rath Yatra is held every year in the month of January in which the temple goddess Parvati is taken in the chariot in a procession along the streets from the temple gate to Padhkatte, another nearby sculpture. The Rath yatra is witnessed by thousands of people, irrespective of their caste and creed from across the state. People from nearby villages come in colorfully decorated carts to see this cultural and religious extravaganza. During the religious celebrations in Hindu temples, images of the gods and goddesses worshipped in the temples, are taken on large wooden chariots called rathas and drawn in a pageant by the devotees. The chariots are generally 5–6 metres in height and it weighs several tonns. Huge wheels of solid wood are fixed to the chariot and the chariot is pulled by specially trained men. The chariot appears like a mini temple or shrine as it invariably has figurines of gods and goddesses carved on it.
The Banashankari temple is located to the south of Badami,on the road to Gadag.Its near to badami railway Station, Badami is 495 kilometers from bangalore and 125 km from hubli, which is the nearest airport.
Website : http://www.badamibanashankari.org/