This post talks about what to see when exploring Badami in case the reader is visiting this region of Karnataka. The top 05 places of interest to visit in Badami mentioned thereafter can be covered in detail by spending day and a half in the city .
Hello everybody and welcome to this post on the cave temples of Badami. Badami erstwhile, known as Vatapi, was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty for close to two hundred years. Travelling is an essential aspect of what I look forward to in this life and India presents a wide and varied avenue to travel an explore along with a diversifying choice of genre of travel themes.
Read about my road trip from Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal out here
Introduction to Badami
It is a significant destination of the North Karnataka temple/rock-cut architecture circuit which comprise of Hampi, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal. In today’s modern times, these places look like small towns devoid of anything of interest. However, the reader should try to see beyond the facade of haphazard modernity which is superficial and loud, and you will realize how vital and powerful centers these places used to be back in their era.
Top 5 places of interest in Badami
What to see in Badami? I have jotted down the principal and significant top 5 places of interest which I have visited while in Badami
- Agasthya Theertha Lake
- Bhootnatha Group of Temples.
- Badami Cave Temples.
- Badami Fort that encircles the Malegitti Shivalaya.
- Archaeological Museum.
So I will try to give a brief info on each of the above places along with visuals for the reader to form an understanding of the places.
Also read about Tamil Nadu architectural grandeur in a seven post series here .
Agasthya Theertha Lake.
One of the top 5 places of interest is Agasthya Theertha Lake. The Lake is one of the top-rated picturesque places in the whole of Badami. The Lake is ringed on three sides by the limestone cliffs which house the Badami Caves as well as Badami fort. This place is a must-visit especially early in the morning or during the sunset .
In the earlier times the water of the Lake was supposed to have magical healing powers, but this is not the case anymore now. The Bhootnatha Group of the temple is also constructed at the shores of the Lake close under the towering Limestone cliffs and adds beauty and grandeur to the entire frame.
Bhootnatha Group of Temples
The group of temples on the eastern banks of Agasthya Lake are among the most picturesque and come under the picture-postcard category. These group of temples are again rated amongst the top 5 places to visit in Badami.
The temple is supposed to have been constructed in the 5th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The high point of the temple are the intricate carvings that adorn each wall which is of interest to the discerning traveler. Built on the edge of the Lake jutting into the waters, the temple is surrounded on three sides by water.
Behind the temple, there are stone carvings on the bare granite rocks comprising of Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Nandi etc. There is also a small rock-cut sculpture of Lord Vishnu in his famous reclining avatar; however, it is difficult to crawl and reach the narrow space to view the idol.
We also have another set of temples known as Mallikarjuna group of temples nearby which are again not as grand as the Bhootnatha group but are a delight to visit.
Badami Cave Temples
The Badami rock cut cave temples occupy the top slot when it comes to deciding the top 5 places to visit in Badami
The first cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva, built in the 6th century. As one peers into the cave trying to get the hang of what is inside, the image of Lord Shiva with 18 arms in different dance poses creates a remarkable impact and prepares the visitor for the grandeur of this place which has withstood the test of time. The entire cave is dotted with sculptures and reliefs depicting Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha.
My guide mentioned to me that this is the cosmic dance posture of Lord Shiva Nataraja and that there are 81 dance poses depicted by the 18 armed sculpture of Lord Shiva. The hall comprises of numerous pillars and a hallowed sanctum as well in the back wall. This being the oldest cave was built by Chalukyan King Pulkesin I.
Cave 2: This cave dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. The cave houses life-size sculptures of Lord Vishnu in Varaha Avatar which was the third avatar.
The ceiling of the cave consists of statues of Garuda, scenes from the mythology as well as Standing posture of Lord Vishnu known as Nindra Kolam. There is also depictions of Lord Krishna’s birth and youth in the form of sculptures and carvings
Cave 3 : The largest and most magnificent of all the four caves, this contains life-size sculptures of Lord Vishnu in Narasimha Avatar as well as images of Lord Shiva. The statue of Vishnu sitting on Sheshanaga is magnificent with scenes depicting the marriage of Lord Shiva with goddess Parvati as well also sculpted. The pillars are all intricately carved, and attention to detail is simply outstanding.
The statue of Vishnu sitting on Sheshanaga is magnificent with scenes depicting the marriage of Lord Shiva with goddess Parvati as well also sculpted. The pillars are all intricately carved, and attention to detail is simply outstanding.
Cave 4: The smallest of the four temples this cave is related to Jainism in the 6th century. It has carved images of Jain Tirthankars with the image of Lord Mahavira in the inner sanctum. There are various other carvings too, and the vistas from this cave location overlooking the Agasthya Lake and Bhootnatha temples are impressive.
Badami is a heaven for history lovers as well as photographers. The red sandstone cliffs, the rock-cut caves, the sculptures within and the temple will create a profound impact on each traveler.
Badami Fort & Malegitti Shivalaya
Tipu Sultan built the fort, and it encompasses the Shivalaya. The Shivalayas are located in the north face hill. The route is from the archaeological museum. There are two Shivalayas, known as Upper and Lower Shivalaya and these are definitely recommend to be in the list of top 5 places to visit in Badami .
The Lower Shivalaya is dedicated to Lord Ganesh while the upper one is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is sufficient distance between both the Shivalayas and the views from the Upper Shivalaya are incredible.
Tipu Sultan constructed a fort around the Shivalayas and the cliffs, and one can see the various buildings built during that time with the prominent ones being the royal treasury, granaries and the royal enclosures. A few decades back the area was dynamited in order to find the hidden gold as per the local lore, and now there are armed guards which protect these monuments.
This is located near to Agasthya Lake. Unfortunately, I could not visit the interiors as it was a holiday. This museum houses sculptures from the 6th century with emphasis on Lord Shiva and Vishnu. I would definitely recommend a quick visit.
Additional points of interest
In addition to the mentioned top 5 places of interest in Badami , few other places of interest which can be visited are
- Banashankari Temple ( highly revered temple in this region )
- Mahakuta group of temples
- Mosque of Adilshahi of Bijapur
This post listing the top places to visit in Badami is one of the series of posts covering Hampi, Aihole and Pattadakal which are going to be published subsequently. It makes sense to go to Badami when it is clubbed with the places mentioned above to get a comprehensive picture of the history of rock-cut architecture practiced by the kingdoms out here and their evolution with time.
|Where to Stay||Clarks Inn |
Hotel Maurya Chalukya , KSTDC
|When to Visit||Pre Monsoon & Winter|
|How to Reach||Hire a self drive to cover the circuit comprising Badami, Hampi, Pattadakal and Badami |
Else take a bus from Hubli or Hampi
|How to see places within Badami||Hire an auto rickshaw|
|Where to eat||Clarks’s Inn , Baneshwar resturant , and i dont remember the name of this small eatery |
opposite Clarks Inn which serves out of the world homemade local cuisine
|Time to visit various places indicated above||Caves : early morning around 7 to beat the heat and crowd .|
Shivalayas : Post 4 in the evening.
Agastaya Lake : Before 9 in morning or after 5 in evening.
Museum : after 10 in morning.
Banashankari temple : Anytime but crowds will have to be factored.
|Miscellaneous||Hire a guide for the caves as well as the Shivalaya|
If the post and content interests you , do scroll downwards for more related content
In case you are interested in further visuals ranging from architecture to travel destinations , flaura and fauna of India , do click on below mentioned link
I would love to connect with you on Instagram where i regularly update my travel as well as quirky tales in addition to talking about the various gears that we all use. So why dont you click on the FOLLOW button on my Instagram handle