Badami - The City of Chalukyas
Badami represents the rich culture of Karnataka. The sculptures in the caves are a must see for history buffs! Photographers, this is a place for you too!
Badami, otherwise known as Vatapi, is well renowned for its beautiful and well crafted caves and also for its rock cut temples. Founded in 540 A.D by the great king Pulakesi of the Chalukyas, it lies north-west of Bangalore at a distance of 500 kms. It comes under the Bagalagot District in Karnataka. It will be ingrained in your memories for long if you enjoy the Dravidian and Nagara form of architecture of the numerous temples present here.
One can start from Bangalore and reach Badami within 6-8 hrs by road and can also travel by rail in Sholapur-Hubli route. People who want to travel by flight can alight at Belgaum which is 150 kms from Badami. The nearest city will be Bagalkot at a distance of 30 kms where one can get a good place to lodge. People can hire a cab within the town of Badami for sightseeing which will not cost more than Rs 800. Other means of transport like bicycles and tongas are also available within the town premises.
Must See Attractions
A trip to Badami can be scheduled for two whole days. Badami is famous for its rock-cut temples and also for its caves. The caves are carved into sandstone and hence appear brownish-red in color. Spend the entire first day visiting the various caves in Badami. The first cave which is the oldest contains the most exquisite carving of Lord Shiva in his famous dance stance as Lord Nataraja. There are other carvings also, one being the famous Ardhanarishwara form where Lord Shiva merged with his wife Parvati represents himself as Half man and Half woman. It also enshrines a mighty Shivalingam and a carving of Lord Nataraja with eighteen arms dancing in his divine trance. The other notable carving are that of lord Ardhanareeswara and Harihara. Lord Shiva on the right and Lord Vishnu towards the left when fused together form Lord Harihara.
Planning Your Trip
Swing by the second cave sometime around noon. The second and the third caves are entirely dedicated to the ever glorious Lord Vishnu. Here we can find him in his Varaha and also Trivikrama avatar. On the ceiling of the caves one can find the carving of Lord Vishnu riding the mighty Garuda and many other similar carving from the veda-puranas. The second cave is separated from the first cave by a flight of 64 stairs.
The third cave which is also famous for Lord Vishnu’s sculptures is further 60 steps up from the second cave. The inscriptions here date back to 578 B.C . Here one can find the carvings of the Lord in his mighty Narasimha avatar and also the depictions of marriage between Lord Shiva and Parvati which have been depicted very beautifully.
Visit the fourth cave before retiring for the day. The fourth cave is completely different from the first three. In the sense it is completely dedicated to Jainism. Here one can find carvings of Lord Mahavira and also of Tirthankara Parshavnatha. This carvings date back to the 6th Century A.D .
You can spend the second day visiting the few other places of interest in Badami. The other noteworthy places to visit in Badami are the Badami Fort and the Archaeological Museum. The museum is closed to public on Friday. It contains beautiful sculptures from the caves and rock cut temples which are worth seeing. The Badami Fort is located on top of the hill and is separated into the Upper Shivalaya and the Lower Shivalaya. The Upper Shivalaya is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Lower Shivalaya is for Lord Ganesh. This fort dates back to 16th Century A.D . It is also known for the famous Bhuthnatha temple which was constructed during the 5th century A.D .
The best time to visit Badami would be between October and February. The annual festivals celebrated in the temple here are Banashankari (Jan - Feb) which is worth the visit and also the Mallikarjuna Festival (March – April). Accomodation is avaliable for moderate prices at Hotel Naveen, Hotel Hans and Hotel Hoysala. Roughly, it would cost a couple around 8000 INR to take a weekend trip to Badami. So think no more, just pack your bags and head out to Badami, land of the Chalukyas!
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