Badami formerly known as Vatapi, is located Bagalkot district of Karnataka and is known globally for its ancient rock-cut temples built in 5th and 8th century AD.
A sneak peek into the magnificent history
Badami used to be the capital of Chalukya empire. It boasts of a spectacular sculptural legacy left behind by the artisans of Chalukya dynasty with the earliest and most brilliant Dravidian temples and rock cut caves.
The oldest free standing temple in India is also situated here.
The Attractions of Badami
The main attraction here are the Badami Cave Temples which is a complex of four ancient cave temples.
Cave one is just above the entrance to the complex and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the most ancient of the four caves and is assumed to have been carved in the 6th century. Cave two is quite subtly designed. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Between the second and third caves, there are two sets of steps to the right.
The first one opens into a natural cave while the second set leads to the hilltop south of Badami Fort. Cave Three was carved in AD 578 and has some wonderful sculptural highlights. Cave Four is dedicated exclusively to Jainism. The sanctum houses the image of Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar.
The caves overlook the 5th-century Agastyatirtha Tank and the waterside Bhutanatha temples. There is an archeological museum on the other side of the tank.
You can get to see excellent examples of local sculpture like an explicit Lajja-Gauri image of a fertility cult that flourished in the area. The stairway just behind the museum climbs through a dramatic sandstone chasm and fortified gateways. You can reach various temples and ruins of the Badami fort through them. The views from this fort would surely mesmerize you.
Things to do
If you are true explorer, wander through the laneways of Badami and check out the beautiful wooden doorways of old houses that are hand painted with bright colors. You can even come across occasional Chalukyan ruins. You can even go for some thrilling low-altitude climbing from Badami.
There are few interesting places around Badami like Pattadakal, the riverside village that is around 20 kilometers from Badami. Include Mahakuta, Mallikarjuna Temple and Papanatha Temple in your itinerary too. Bijapur is a marvelous place to visit for the mosques, mausoleums, palaces and fortifications.
October to March is the best time to visit as the weather is pleasant. Summers tend to get quite hot and humid here.
The Stay and Food
Many hotels are available near the station that offer a comfortable stay to the visitors. You can also opt for heritage resort stay.
As far as eating out is concerned, tourists rave about the delicious local cuisine served here which consists of variety of rice dishes. The food is a little spicy, and tangy here and usually cooked in coconut oil. There are few good multi-cuisine restaurants too serving north Indian and Continental food.
The nearest domestic airport is Belgaum which is located at a distance of 145 km and closest international airports are Hyderabad (413 km) and Bangalore (460 km). There is also a station in Badami and trains from Bangalore, Bijapur and few other cities have a stop there. It is well connected by road from all major cities in southern India.
If you are keen on knowing historical heritage of India, visit Badami and you would get a treasure of interesting facts.