Amma Temple (Kannada: ಬನಶಂಕರಿ ಅಮ್ಮನ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ) or Banashankari temple is a Hindu shrine located at Cholachagudd near Badami
, in Bagalkot
. The temple is popularly called Banashankari or Vanashankari since it is located in the Tilakaaranya forest. The temple deity is also called the Shakambhari (Kannada: ಶಖಮಬ್ರಿ / ಶಾಕಂಬರಿ), an incarnation of the goddess Parvati.
The temple attracts devotees from Karnataka as well as the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. The original temple was built by the 7th century Kalyani Chalukya kings, who worshipped goddess Banashankari as their tutelary deity. The current 18th century structure was built by a Maratha chieftain. The temple celebrates its annual festival called Banashankari jatre, in the months of January or February. The festival comprises cultural programmes, boat festival as well as a Rath yatra, when the temple goddess is paraded around the city in a chariot.
The temple was built initially in the Dravidian architectural style. The rebuilt structure is in the Vijayanagara architectural style. The temple is enclosed by a high wall on all sides. The main structure has a mukha mantapa (portico), ardha mantapa (entrance porch/chamber in front of the sanctum) and a sanctum topped by a Vimana (tower). The main sanctum of the temple has the image of goddess Banashankari diefied in it. The black stone sculpture depicts the goddess seated on a lioness trampling a demon under her foot. The goddess has eight arms and holds a trishul (trident), damaru (hand drum), kapaalpatra (skull cup), ghanta (war bell), Vedic scriptures and khadg-kheta (sword and shield). The goddess was the Kuladevi (tutelary deity) of the Chalukyas. The Devanga weaver community in particular, holds this goddess in great reverence.Banashankari is also the tutelary deity of some Deshastha Brahmins.
There is a 360 ft (109.7 m) square water tank in the forefront of the temple at the entrance, which is locally called as Haridra Tirtha, a corrupted version of the name Harishchandra Tirtha. The pond is enclosed with stone mantapas (halls) on three sides. A pradakshina or circumambulatory path surrounds the tank.
Lamp towers (Deepa stambhas) are seen in the foreground of the temple on the West Bank
of the pond and also at the entrance. The tower on the bank of the tank is also an uncommon guard tower which is "reflects the Vijayanagara blend of Hindu and Islamic style". It is called the Victory Tower.
Location and access:
The Banashankari temple located to the south of Badami and the Badami town itself are enclosed between two gorges. The valley formed by the two gorges has steep sand stone ridges. The soil formation is termed black cotton soil.
The temple is located at Cholachagudd about 5 km (3.1 mi) from Badami on the road to Gadag
. Badami Railway Station, served by the South Western Railways, is the nearest railhead. Badami is well connected by a good network of roads to all parts of Karnataka and is 495 km (307.6 mi) from Bangalore and 125 km (77.7 mi) from Hubli
, which is the nearest airport. in the fair all type of arnaments, jewellary, walldoor, cloths and bangle, sweets are available it is fair of 12 months.