Quick Bytes :
Location : Near Bijapur, Karnataka
Languages : Kannada, English & Hindi
Population : 18200
Major Attraction : Cave Temples
Best Visiting Time : Months between October and February
Badami, a glorious city located in Bagalkot district was an eminent center of art and culture during the reign of the Chalukya dynasty. The foundation of the town was laid down by Pulkesin-I in 6th century. Resting on sandstone ridge, the place is an epitome of the exclusive Dravidian architecture that flourished at that time. In fact, the temples that you will see here are a blend of nagara style from north and architecture from south.
History of the Place :
Badami or Vatapi was ruled upon by a number of Chalukya rulers. Apart from them, the place was index of the annexation of Pallava rulers that ruled here in the 9th century. Between the sixth and eighth centuries, it was the capital of mighty Chalukya dynasty.
Cave Temples :
Badami is renowned for the presence of cave temples constructed from sandstone. As per a legend, the place was under the control of demons named Ilava and Vatapi who disturbed the passengers that used to pass by that area. But when sage Agastaya arrived here, the tricks of the demon licked the dust as these were counter tricked by the saint. The twin hills that are present have been named after these demons.
As you enter the first cave, you will see a large number of carvings made in devotion of Lord Shiva. He is also illustrated in "Ardhnarishwer " form. The second and the third caves are devoted to Lord Vishnu while the last one carries the image of Jain Tirthankar. In fact, these temples exemplify the religious tolerance of the rulers of that time.
Cave 1 :
There is a magnificent Shiva Lingam housed in this cave. Shiva, in his cosmic dance form, will catch your attention. The reliefed structures of the deities like Ganesha, Durga and many others are also present in the interiors.
Cave 2 :
You will have to cover a series of 64 steps from cave 1 in order to reach here. Look at the ceilings that are covered with the carvings of Lord Vishnu who is seen sitting on a bird called Garuda. The scenes from puranas have also been illustrated here.
Cave 3 :
Like the second one, this is also accessed by going through 60 steps from cave 2. The depth of the cave is about 100 feet; there are inscriptions that belong to the 6th century. The interiors carry the images of various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Another striking feature of this Badami Cave is that it consists of mural paintings that illustrate the marriage of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
Cave 4 :
This Jain temple shows the pictorial representation of several Jain Tirthankars like Mahavira, Parshvnataha etc.
Archeological Museum :
As you enter the premises, you will see that there is a sculpture of a Bull called Nandi (the vehicle of Lord Shiva). There are numerous sculptures that are housed inside. The museum is open on all days except Friday.
Badami Fort :
This fort has been divided in two parts. Sitting atop a hill, the upper part of the fort portrays the mythological stories while the lower one is devoted to the deity Ganesha. In the vicinity, a watch tower is also present and belongs to 14th century.
Temple Rath :
Recently a temple Rath as been constructed to mark the completion of 100 years of Shivogya Temple. This towering Rath is present in Udupi.
Decent options are Maurya Chalukya Hotel at Ramdurg Road and Badami Court at Station Road.
If you are an ardent lover of art and architecture, Badami is a good option to spend your vacation time.