The capital of the Chalukya empire for several centuries, Badami is a small town located in Bagalkot district of central Karnataka.
It’s a great experience walking through the red sandstone hills with beautiful carvings in the caves. Being a UNESCO world heritage site, Badami does attract tourists but is still not a very ‘touristy’ destination. Its difficult to believe that this small town was the place from where places like Kanchipuram and Gujarat were controlled.
We spent the night at a basic hotel and went to the caves early morning.
There are some caves dedicated to Hindu gods while some others depicting Jain gods.
This cave is dedicated to Vishnu and is the oldest one.
The stairs leading to the next cave. Dargah and the Jumma masjid in the backdrop. You can also see the Shilalaya temple on the hill top.
The second is dedicated to Vishnu. There are sculptures in his manifestations as Varaha and Krishna.
Cave Three is also dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Here Vishnu is sitting on the coil of snakes.
Vishnu with his shankha (conch), chakra, gada(mace), padma(lotus) and dhanush (bow)
Vishnu as Narasimha (the Lion God)
The pillars and Vishnu
The pot bellied dwarfs
Cave four is dedicated to Jain gods. This cave has an sculpture of Suparshvanatha (the 7th Tirthankar) surrounded by the other Tirthankars.
There engraving on stone are for games. While the workers worked on the caves, their children were busy playing these games.
We came down and went walking along the Agastya tank.
We proceeded to the fort and the Shivalaya temple on the top of the hill.
These structures were used as hideouts for soldiers.
The interesting part
The very narrow passage between two rocks on the way. A very funny incident happened here which I will never forget, or rather my wife – Smita will never let me forget.
When I was halfway crossing this passage, a monkey started coming in. There was space for only one of us to cross. Since it is their territory, I moved all the way back and gave way to the monkey. After he came out, I started again. Smita had a gala time laughing at me as she thought I was scared and went back while I was just being decent. Actually, I was a bit scared. 😛
The Shivalaya Temple
The caves from the top
Badami is also a preferred location for film-makers. Hindi movies – Guru and Rowdy Rathore were shot there. The list of telugu movies include Shirdi Sai, Shakti, Nagavalli, Brindavanam, Dhamarukam, Daruvu, Vikramarkudu, etc. Kannada movies Shivani, Sanju Weds Geetha and Tamil movie Siruthai were also shot here.
Around Badami: If you have come all the way to Badami, don’t miss out Aihole (38kms) and Paddatakal (20kms). They are equally beautiful places with outstanding architecture.
When to go: The place gets very hot in summers. The best time to go is October to February.
How to go:
Badami is very easily accessible from Bangalore, Hyderabad or Pune.
Bangalore is just 500kms away. There are direct buses.
From Mumbai/Pune, it is 500/400kms away. You can go to Hubli by an overnight bus and then by local bus or taxi.
From Hyderabad, its 400kms away and can be reached by bus or train.
Where to stay: KSTDC Chalukya is a good place to stay. Apart from this, there are also some private hotels as well.
You might like to read the previous posts.