The picturesque and historic Badami caves are located in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Popular tourist attractions in Badami Cave include Agastya Lake as well as the Archaeological Museum. Many temples are also present in the Badami Caves made of rocks. The mythical name of Badami is Vatapi Thadya It has been the glorious capital of Badami Chalukyas from 540 AD to 757 AD. But till date no one could understand how it became the capital of Vatapi.
After the Chalukya kingdom gained prominence in the year 500 AD, the Chalukya king Pulakeshi built a fort at Vatapi and established it as the state capital. Many monuments were built by the Badami Chalukyas, whose magnificent architecture still makes the country proud. The Dravidian architectural style of the buildings is also quite impressive. The Vijayanagara Empire, the royal dynasty, the Mughals, the Marathas, the Mysore Empire, as well as the British, were under the control of many dynasties.
How to reach Badami
The nearest airports to Badami are Hubli (106 km) and Belgaum (about 150 km). These airports are well connected to Mumbai and Bangalore. From Hubli or Belgaum one can take a taxi or bus to Badami.
‘Badami railway station’ is quite close from ‘Badami bus stand’, it is about 5 km. Badami is connected to Bangalore, Hubli, Bijapur, Gadag, Solapur as well as some other cities. The nearest rail junction is definitely Hubli and it has good rail connectivity with major cities across India. You can take a train to Badami directly from Bangalore’s Yeshwantpura. Badami Train Station Code (BDM), Hubli Train Station Code (UBL) and Bangalore Train Station Code (SBC) etc. carry Badami.
The road system here is quite good. Many government and private buses come from Bangalore, Hubli, Belgaum and Bijapur. Another mode of local transport is Ghodagadi and Tanga which are easily available in the city as well as by auto rickshaw you can roam in Badami.
Best time to visit Badami
The right time to visit Badami is between July to March. Here the temperature does not change very much throughout the year. Badami experiences mild winters and heavy to average rainfall during the monsoon season.
Attracted Tourist Places of Badami
The credit for the magnificent temples goes to the Badami Chalukyas in the 6th and 7th centuries. These temples were designed using a magnificent sandstone rock intricately located in the city itself. Rock to sandstone is the perfect choice for carving and the cave temples are the most stunning examples of Badami Chalukya architecture.
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The temples are situated between the ravines and the surrounding area consists of massive rocks. Its architecture is a fine blend of North Indian civil and South Indian Dravidian. Badami has four cave temples. The first cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is equipped with about 81 idols of Lord Shiva, which has a ‘Nataraja’ form of Shiva with 18 arms.
Lord Vishnu Temple
This cave made of red sandstone is adorned with many pillars and a sanctum, an open verandah as well as roofs and pillars with pictures of arched joints. Here you can see another cave on the sandstone peak. This is the second temple which completely praises Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is considered the guardian of the universe according to Hindu beliefs. Here God is depicted as ‘Trivikarma’, where he is in a pose to control the creation one foot below the earth. His other leg is in the sky. The third cave temple is 70 feet wide and is decorated with ganas.
The temple is built in Deccan style architecture. Various forms of Lord Vishnu are displayed here including Narasimha, Varaha, Harihara and Trivikram. Also his huge idol with the serpent god attracts. The fourth cave temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of the Jains. This temple was discovered in the 7th century, almost 100 years after the last caves came into existence. Here the idol of Lord Mahavira is installed in a sitting posture. Entry fee will also have to be paid to visit this place. Admission is free for children below 15 years of age, while for others, a fee of Rs 10 is kept. The entry fee for foreign tourists is 100 rupees.
Group of Bhootnath Temples
The temples were constructed of soft sandstone which is quite popular in this particular region and was built by the Badami Chalukyas between 7th and 11th century AD. A group of temples have been built here for the Hindu goddess Bhootnath. Bhootnath is also known as our most beloved Lord Shiva. These temples are wonderful examples of Badami Chalukya architecture which is a beautiful blend of North and South styles. The stone sculptures and stone carved structures here attract you.
Mallikajun Group of Temples
This group of temples is located right next to Bhootnath temples. These unique structures stand out from the rest due to their pyramid shape and date back to the 11th century, they were built by the Badami Chalukyas.
You can also see this centuries old fort built by the Chalukya king Pulakeshi in 543 AD. However, now this fort has become ruins. Its picturesque surroundings and attractive locations of fortifications will enchant you. The fort was completely destroyed after the arrival of the Pallavas in 642 AD. Along with the walls of the fort, the remains of architecture can also be seen here. The fort, located above the cave temples, is closed to tourists due to some unfortunate events of the past. However, you can go to the office and get a special permit to visit this fort.
This Malegitti temple built just above the Ganesh Subramaniam Shiva temple will give you a grand view of the shining water body. The Shiva temple was built in the 6th century AD and is one of the oldest temples in Badami. Badami, this grand capital of the Chalukya Empire, is a spectacular tourist destination in Karnataka. Monuments to the princely remains of ancient times have been discovered in Badami.
Archaeological Museum is located only one kilometer from Jmadhu Badami Bus Station. It is located in the footsteps of Badami Fort on the northern bank of Badami Lake. The museum contains a wealth of interesting artifacts, such as stone tools, architectural pieces, inscriptions and sculptures dating from the 6th to 16th century AD.
The Nandi idol of Shiva near the museum door welcomes the devotees. Four galleries, fresh verandah galleries in the verandah as well as a collection of local sculptures along with some other panels containing volumes of popular epics of Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita are placed at the front. One can see the replica of a pre-historic cave as well as the many murals present in cave number 3. Photography is prohibited in this museum and remains closed on Fridays. The entry time to this museum is from 9 am to 5 pm.
Nvvchar This temple is located in Cholchagadda at a distance of about 5 km. It is completely dedicated to Banashankari Devi, who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and the temple is also very popular in the surrounding districts. An elevated lamp tower built in the three-storey structure of Haridra Tirtha is situated right next to the temple with a grand pond.
A corridor is present in its vicinity, which is completely carved with stone. The temple has a statue of a goddess sitting on a lion with a demon under her feet. The idol of the Goddess is completely made of shiny black stone and also has eight arms. The main complex has three huge lamp poles. The annual festival held during the months of January and February attracts a large crowd of devotees. A procession takes place during the festival season in which the deity is placed on the chariot and the whole city is traveled. You can visit this temple between 6 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 9 pm.
It is situated at a distance of about 14 km, the magnificent Mahakuteshwara Temple dedicated to the Shaiva cult, which is surrounded by the Mahakut hills. This Mahakuteshwara temple is built for the faith of Lord Shiva. There are many more temples near this built in Dravidian style. The walls of the temple are carved with great artistic awe. Also, there is a spring pond Vishnu Pushkarini close to the Mahakut temple, whose coolness of water gives the tourists a respite.
Just a kilometer from the August Lake Badami bus station, a lake exists which was built in the 5th century. The waters of this lake are believed to have miraculous medicinal powers, while the eastern banks of Agastya Lake are surrounded by Bhootnath temples. The southwestern part of this lake focuses on cave temples. A dip in this holy river is believed to free one from all sins. It is unfortunate that the people of the surrounding villages use the lake for washing and bathing their clothes. Although it is not an ideal place for swimming, you can get a lot of pictures here. The picturesque views of the beautiful hills are underlined by many historical monuments.