Badami Caves and Temples – A Visit to the Chalukya Capital

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.

Cave 1

This cave is dedicated to Vishnu and is the oldest one.

Badami_05

Badami_07

Shiva as Ardhanarishwara
Badami_03

Badami_04

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.

Badami_06
The Dattatreya temple on the banks of Agastya tank and the Shivalaya temple on the hilltop can be seen here.

Badami_15

Badami_08

Cave Two

The second is dedicated to Vishnu. There are sculptures in his manifestations as Varaha and Krishna.

Badami_10

Badami_11

Badami_12

Matya (Fish) Avatar
Badami_45

Naga devata
Badami_51

Cave Three
Cave Three is also dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Here Vishnu is sitting on the coil of snakes.

Badami_33

Vishnu with his shankha (conch), chakra, gada(mace), padma(lotus) and dhanush (bow)

Badami_25

Vishnu as Narasimha (the Lion God)

Badami_29

The pillars and Vishnu

Badami_31

Varaha avatar

Badami_36

Badami_38

The pot bellied dwarfs

Badami_13

 

Cave Four

Cave four is dedicated to Jain gods. This cave has an sculpture of Suparshvanatha (the 7th Tirthankar) surrounded by the other Tirthankars.

Badami_17

Badami_16

Badami_18

Badami_24

Badami_23

There engraving on stone are for games. While the workers worked on the caves, their children were busy playing these games.

Badami_28

We came down and went walking along the Agastya tank.

The Badami Markaj Jumma Masjid
Badami_58

Dattatreya Temple
Badami_59

A view of the caves
Badami_60

Villagers washing clothes at the Agastya kund (tank)
Badami_63

Badami_61

We proceeded to the fort and the Shivalaya temple on the top of the hill.

The entrance of the fort.
Badami_64

Elephants carved out of stone
Badami_67

Badami_68

Badami_71

Badami_73

Badami_76

These structures were used as hideouts for soldiers.

Badami_77

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. 😛

Badami_69

The Shivalaya Temple

Badami_79

The caves from the top

Badami_80

The view from the top was beautiful. We could see the whole town from here.
Badami_74

We then went to the Bhootnath temple.
Badami_83

Badami_88

Buffaloes enjoying in Agastya tank
Badami_91

The town
Badami_94

Smiling faces at Badami
Badami_95

A Bird’s eye view by Google Earth
BadamiGoogleEarth

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.

——-

 This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He guides people to take better pictures through his Photography Workshops and Photo tours.

You might like to read the previous posts.

One Comment

  1. Lovely blog… i always wanted to visit this place. Can you please temme the shortest way to reach from hyderabad…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *