Badami formerly known as Vatapi (ಬದಾಮಿ) is a city inKarnataka. It is located 30 kilometers from Bagalkot, 44 kilometers from Aihole, 128 kilometers from Bijapur, 110 kilometers from Hubli and 500 kilometers from Bangalore, the state capital.
Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I (535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas. His sons Kirthivarman (567-598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (598-610 AD) constructed the cave temples. The greatest among them was Pulakeshi II (610-642 AD) who defeated many kings including Pallava king Mahendra Verman I and extended the kingdom.
From the center, all the main sites are reachable by feet. The best way to explore this small town is through your feet.
Ideal time needed to cover only Badami hot-spots is 6 hours.if you add not so popular spots you need a whole day. Visit the caves early morning or evening to click great pics. Pattadkal is 2 hours max. where as Aihole will demand 4-5 hours.
Almost all the main attractions of Badami are located around the Agasythya Tank
Cave temples, (South of the tank)The main attractions of Badami are its caves. There are four main caves. The first one is dedicated to Shiva. It was excavated by the Chalukyas in 550 AD. The second one is dedicated to Vishnu. In this cave there are statues of Vishnu avatars like Varaha, the boar or Krishna. The third cave is also dedicated to Vishnu and the last one is a cave with Jain representations.Entrance Rs 100 for foreigners and 5 for indians
Malegitti ShivalayaThis temple is the oldest one of the town. It is built on a flat rock and offers a nice view on Badami
Bhutanatha temple(In front of the tank). A temple buit in 5th century.
Archaeological museumA museum regrouping sculptures of various era from the region.
Climbing With all the cliffs surrounding the tank, Badami is a nice spot for climbing.Badami once a royal capital of the Chalukyas is now a sleepy town in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. The town was known as Vatapi previously.
Aihole-Badami-Pattadakal:Aihole-Badami-Pattadakal Bright yellow sunflower fields, red-ochre sandstone outcrops and cobalt blue skies. The journey to the Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal belt is a painting in the primary colours. The road to the past is nothing short of spectacular. Aihole has to be god's collection of temple prototypes. Believed to be the cradle of Dravidian temple architecture, Aihole's temple compendium spans styles and centuries, some as early as the 5th century - and some, like the Durga Temple is built on design that is seen nowhere else in the country.
The Badami Chalukyas first had their capital at Aihole before they moved to Badami and it's justified in resting on its ancient laurels. For, Aihole has a lot of ancient laurels. Pattadakal, similarly, has a finger lodged in the book of time - when it was the place where kings were coronated. A little away from Aihole, Pattadakal stands like an island of majesty - just like its name suggests: 'pattada kallu' translating into coronation stone. A complex of eight temples, each one commemorates a landmark event in the history of the Chalukyas, which in turn was one of South India's most vibrant dynasties. The Malaprabha River flows by both Aihole and Pattadakal, a silent witness now as it was then.
Peeking from crags high above are the remnants of what look like watchtowers. You never know what you might encounter in the thick shrub undergrowth. Leopards have been known to pay unwelcome visits to the nearby villages to drag cattle away. Just a few kilometres apart, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami can be covered in a day - a day well spent, at that! Badami is a snapshot of the past, where the elements, both natural and manmade, have been fixed in a tableau as if afraid to move on from a love affair that's well and over now. The love affair being, the glory days of the Badami Chalukyas who had moved their capital to Badami in the apogee of their run as a dynasty.
Karnataka is a rambling old storyteller, and the most exquisite stories it has. Every place is steeped in legend and myth, and Badami with the Agastya Lake flanked by two rocky, almost-rectangular sandstone hills represent the Sage Agastya and the two ill-behaved demons, Vatapi and Ilvala. It's a steep climb up to its rock-cut cave temples. The four temples which are hewn into a rock, one level above the other, has the most exquisite carvings from the Hindu myths and the top most one, dedicated to the Jain faith, has iconography representing the thirthankaras who are considered the pillars of the faith. The view from here in the evenings is the stuff of epics. And yet, it pales in comparison with the one from the North Fort, which lies on the opposite hill. Man-made as it might be, the Agastya Lake has an untouched air about it, made complete by the brown sandstone Bhootanatha Temples that stand on its edge like ephemeral maidens, who might vanish any moment - so beautiful, that they are almost a mirage. Dedicated to the god of spirits and ghosts, the beauty of the Bhootanatha Temples glistening like a fleeting apparition in the dusk will haunt for a long, long time after you've left Badami.
Badami cave temples and Bhutanatha group
Landmarks in Badami include cave temples, gateways, forts, inscriptions and sculptures.
- A Buddhist cave in a natural setting that can be entered only by crawling on knees.
- The Bhuhtanatha temple, a small shrine, facing the lake, constructed in 5th century.
- Badami Fort situated on top of the hill.
- Many Shivalayas including the Malegatti Shivalaya with 7th century origins.
- The Dattatreya temple.
- The Mallikarjuna temple dating back to the 11th century, built on a star shaped plan.
- a Dargah, a dome of an Islamic place of worship on the south fort side.
- Vista points on top of the North Fort for the view of the ancient town below.
- Temple of Banashankari, a Kuladevata (family deity) for many families, is located near Badami.
- Archaeological museum, that has collection of sculptures from Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal.
Badami is famous for its sandstone cave temples. Cave temple 1 may be the oldest in Badami. It is made of red sandstone and has a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall. There are paintings of amorous couples on the ceiling. Other features includeShiva and his consort Parvathi with a coiled serpent and the 18 armed lord Nataraja in 81 dancing poses.
Cave temple 2 is dedicated to Vishnu (as Trivikrama) with one foot mastering the Earth and the other the sky. Vishnu is also portrayed as Varaha and Krishna.
Cave temple 3 dates back to 578 AD. The façade of the cave is nearly 70 feet wide, with carvings ofganas on the plinth. It contains examples of Deccan art, illustrating the culture and clothing of the 6th century. There are high relief carvings of Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Narasimha, Varaha, Hariharaand Trivikrama.
Cave temple 4 relates to 6th century Jainism. There is a carving of the Tirthankara Parshavnatha (with a serpent at his feet). Mahavira is depicted in a sitting posture. Tourism Badami Cave-I the first shrine has at its entrance Shiva's door keepers; to the right inside is the figure of Shiva of about five feet height and in the tandava dancing pose with 18 arms. Beside him are Nandi, dancing Ganapati, etc. There is a neatly carved perfect figure of Mahishasuramardini and several other rock –cut dwarf images of kubja ganas, Nagaraja or snake king, Vidhyadhara couple, etc., are on the ceiling.
Badami-Cave-2The second cave and on its front are the guards or dwarapalakas holding lotus in their hands. East and West walls of the cave have large images of Bhuvaraha and Trivikrama. On the ceiling are engraved Ananthashayana, Bramha, Vishnu, Shiva and Asthadikpalakas.
Badami-Cave-3The third cave is dedicated to Vishnu, and is the best and the biggest, and it has splendid giant figures of Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha. All these statues are engraved in a vigorous style. An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578. There are some paintings on the ceiling and the style indicates maturity but has lost its original dazzling colour. The bracket figures on the piers here are some of the finest.
Badami-Cave-4The fourth cave is Jaina which lies a little east of cave III. The sanctum is adorned by the image of Mahavira. The pedestal contains an old Kannada inscription of the 8th century A.D. which registers the death of one Jakkave. Scores of Jaina Thirthankara images have been engraved in the inner pillars and walls. In addition to it, there are some idols of Bahubali, Yakshas and Yakshis. Some scholars assign the cave to the 8th century.
Other Temples at Badami
On the north hill, there are three temples, of which Malegitti-Shivalaya is perhaps the oldest temple and also the finest in Badami, and has a Dravidian tower. Out of the two inscriptions found here, one states that Aryaminchi upadhyaya, as the sculptor who got this temple constructed and the other dated 1543 speaks of the erection of a bastion during the Vijayanagara rule. The lower Shivalaya has a Dravidian tower, and only the sanctum remains now.
Jambhulinga templesituated in the town, is presumably the oldest known trikutachala temple in Karnataka. An inscription dated 699 ascribes construction of this temple to Vinayavathi mother of Emperor Vijayaditya.
The place also has Agasthya Tirtha, temples of Goddess Yellamma, Mallikarjuna, Datttreya and Virupaksha. Bhuthanatha group of temples are most important in Badami.
Badami fort lies east of the Bhuthnatha temple, atop a cliff right opposite the Badami cave temples. The entrance to this temple is right through the Badami museum. It is a steep climb with many view points and dotted with little shrines. The path is laid with neatly cut stone, the same that adores all the architecture around
All Year Round
- Summer - March to June
- Spring - Jan to March
- Monsoons - July to October that contributes to rainfall
- Winter - November to Jan
The temperature ranges from minimum 23 degrees to 45 degrees during summer and from 15 to 29 degrees in winter. Best time to visit is between low humid season from November and March.
The climate has made it a safe haven for the monkeys of south India. Tourists often flock to Badami for the opportunity to see monkeys interact in a natural environment.