Finally, after two long months of summer, we stepped out of our town to explore a new city of Badami in Karnataka. Badami-Aihole-Patadakal is an amazing heritage circuit in Karnataka. A must visit place if you love history and heritage places. Its monsoon time right now all throughout India, thus our trip become more admiring as all the structures were drenched with rainwater, which makes the city more lively.
We left from Hyderabad early morning at around 3:00 a.m and reached Badami at around 12:00 p.m. As soon as we reached Badami we were welcomed by the Badami hill ranges all around and lots of greenery. We stayed at Hotel Mayura Chalukya which is run by Karnataka tourism, it was a budget hotel and very greenery. We enjoyed our evening by walking in the garden with an amazing view of neem and coconut tree.
Start of Site visiting at Badami
We were all set by 2:00 p.m. to visit Badami, so we first headed to Badami caves – the most important attraction of Badami. Badami is a small city and everything around it can be covered by walk also. The Badami caves were just at a 1.5 km distance from our hotel so we reached very soon. Badami has majorly four caves dedicated to deities of Hindu and one of then is dedicated to Jain.
All caves are connected by a flight of stairs. You must carry water with you when going to visit caves. As soon as you start the climb on the caves you can see a great view of Badami city. There are two ranges of hills in Badami, one of them have caves and another one has Badami fort.
The first cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has more than 80 forms of Lord Shiva carved out of red sandstone. The carving is too old but still its very clearly seen, and you can still examine the fine work of our ancestors. The second cave is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is popular for its ceiling carving. The third cave is also dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The last cave is dedicated to Lord Mahavira, who is depicted in the several postures. This temple is said to be built a century later than the other three cave. You can get more details about caves in Badami here.
Badami Fort and Museum
I would suggest you wear comfortable clothes and shoes as to reach every cave you have to climb stairs. After visiting caves we moved to Badami Museum and Fort. There is no good road to visit Fort, you need to go from a village. Better if you go by walk from caves it is hardly 10 minutes walk or you can take an autorickshaw. Badami fort does not have much to offer in terms of architecture, as the fort is surrounded by hills all around it provided a natural defence thus making it difficult to conquer.
The things to admire in the fort are the two Shiva temple- Lower Shivalya temple and Upper Shivalya temple. These Fort and temple are clearly visible from Caves. The trek to fort takes around 1.5 hours, but once you are on top you will get an admiring view of Badami city, and soothing wind will welcome you. As very few people climb fort so you can spend some quality time there leaving all hustle bustle of the city. There are no food shops available nearby the premise of fort and cave. You can get water outside the fort and caves. Badami fort has a museum which is closed on Friday, the museum has a good collection of sculptures carved out of stone.
Agasthya Teertha is a lake at the foothills of Badami, which provides the picturesque view from caves and Fort. The lake is still lifeline of local people living nearby to the heritage site. It gets fully filled during monsoon and is best to see its beauty in August. It is said that water in the lake has healing power but I saw people washing and taking bath so did not felt to go near to the lake. But the lake still adorns its beauty and give a great view.
The Bhutanatha group of temple
The Agasthya lake has a famous 5th century AD temple on its bank known as Bhootnath temple. The temple faces the lake and is situated at one end of the lake. The temple is an example of a rich civilization that continues to exist. The temple is an example o Badami Chalukaya architecture and is a good specimen of fusion of the north and south Indian architecture. The temple is a 5-minute walking distance from Fort.
Mallikarjuna group of temple
Situated on the bank of the lake, in right of Bhutanatha temple, Mallikarjuna temple is another specimen of great architecture. Local still worship in the temple and they are very kind and will explain you about the temple and lake.
It took us 4-5 hours to cover all the things as they are very nearby. If you start visiting Badami early in a day then you can cover Aihole and Pattadakal also on the same day, as it will take another 4-5 hours to cover that place. Check out my next blog series for Aihole and Pattadakal.