What places to Visit in Badami, Karnataka

This post talks about what places to visit in Badami in case the reader is visiting this region of Karnataka, India. The top places of interest in Badami including Badami Cave Temples mentioned thereafter can be covered in detail by spending day and a half in the city.

What places to Visit in Badami
lets go to Badami

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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.

What places to Visit 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.

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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. Other than Badami Cave temples, this is frequently visited by visitors

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.

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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

Badami Cave Temples

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.

Archaeological Museum

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 to see in Badami

In addition to the mentioned top places of interest in Badami, 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 what places to visit in Badami is one of the series of posts covering Hampi, Aihole and Pattadakal. These will be published subsequently. It makes sense to go to Badami when it is clubbed with the places mentioned above. This helps to get comprehensive picture of the history of rock-cut architecture and their evolution with time.

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FAQs when planning to visit Badami

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

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Would you be interested in reading a few more articles related to travel and exploring India , well scroll down

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35 Replies to “What places to Visit in Badami, Karnataka”

  1. Lovely post…very clear and minute description with lot of adventure and fantacy encripted in the tale…keep motivating all with your travel tales

  2. The blog post truly takes you to a short glimpse of Badami, its informative, it makes your feet itch to take this trip and the capturization of pictures do the total justice to the writeup. Would definitely love to visit and look forward to more of your posts:)

  3. Pictures paints a thousand words as they say and this article defnitely depicts so. Badami is indeed so rich in mythological history .. And the caves intrigues me so much . The article rightfully triggers my travel itch once again in times of covid now.. but let me bookmark this for future reference .

  4. The cave views are simply incredible and really just make you sit there in awe of history. The view from Badami Fort looks amazing, that shot is incredible. Good tip to include when best to visit the caves (if you’re an early riser naturally then 7 am is nothing!).

  5. Wow! India was never somewhere that we had thought to visit. Recently i have seen how beautiful and rich the culture is and just how stunning it looks. The photos from Agasthya Theertha Lake are making me feel like i was there with you. I love all the mythology behind this place and cant wait to add it to my bucket list!

  6. The caves are really amazing and full of history. The sculptures depicting God and Goddesses are carved intricately. The caves photographs are beautifully captured.Agasthya Theertha Lake looks beautiful and make me to visit Badami soon. Indian mythology is always interesting to know, loved this post about detailed descriptions of the Places. I have heard about upper shivalaya so much, have you visited there too??

    1. yes i did visit both , they are separated by around 1 km of distance . glad for the wonderful thoughts here

  7. I’m so glad we could click on the photos to see bigger images. Those small image just don’t do this destination justice. It looks like there’s so much history to absorb, and landscape to explore. I’ve been watching TV shows about India since we’ve been on lockdown in the UK, and I hadn’t really appreciated how much I’d really love to visit. But I don’t want to just go for a few weeks… it’d have to be for a couple of months. Better get saving!

    1. yup india needs to be visited in a bit more detail compared to the other countries for there is so much diversity on what to see 🙂

  8. Talk about mountains, lake, temples, fort and caves this place Badami seems to have it all. And with so much of history and the beautiful landscape this place has taken my heart away. Your pictures made me feel I was there experiencing in person. Lovely post.

  9. Wow, Badami looks beautiful! The Bhootnatha temples are definitely something I’d like to check out – I love those intricate carvings and all that history. I visited Rajasthan a couple of years ago and obviously need to go back to India to see more ASAP!

    1. hi , am glad u found this post intresting. Actually the state of Karnataka is one of the most underrated states in country when it comes to tourism.In fact the rock cut architecture and temples out here are magnificent. Hampi is a great nearby destination to this place and it is acclaimed globally,You can have a quick look a this post for getting a broad idea on Hampi – https://traveldreams.live/guide-on-top-places-to-visit-in-hampi-much-more/experiences-travel-n-beyond/2020/

  10. There’s always something new to learn about India, it’s an ever-ending exploration, I love it! The Cave Temples look really beautiful. Can you swim in the Agasthya Theertha Lake?

  11. This is an interesting place to visit. The Bhootnatha Group of Temples is fascinating and I would love to see them up close someday. Thank you for sharing a bit of their history. Learned something new today.

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