The city that we know as Badami today was earlier called Vatapi. It is an important city in Karnataka. It used to be the royal capital of the Chalukyas from the year 540 to 757 AD. It has been very popularly known for its temples with rock cut structures.
Badami is set in the ravine at the foot of a red sandstone projection that surrounds Agastya Lake. It is a Kannada speaking town of 10.3 square kilometers area. Its distance from Bagalkot is only 30 kilometers while it is 128km away from Bijapur, 132 kilometers away from Hubli, 46 kilometers away from Aihole and 589 kilometers away from Karnataka’s capital city of Bangalore. If you wish to be here in the cold then the best time is between November and January. It rains here from July to October and March to June can get hot. So be sure, when you would like to visit.
If you wish to fly into Badami, you have to alight at Belgaum, which is the closest airport, being nearly 150km away! You would rather not take that route! By rail, Badami happens to be on the Hubli-Sholapur route. The station is merely 5 km away from the town so it is quite convenient. You can also find a link between Hubli and Bijapur by road. You can get in from Bangalore of course! It is a 12-hour bus journey. You could hop into a direct train such as the ‘Bijapur Express’ as well. A good combination to consider would be that of an overnight journey by train from Bangalore to Hospet. From Hospet, you board a bus that takes you to Badami. Yet another alternate route is from Bangalore to Hubli that could cost you up to 9 hours. From that point, another 3-hour bus ride and you see Badami before your eyes! Once you are in Badami, best would be to move around in auto rickshaws, city buses or a hired vehicle.
When in Badami, you have a wide range of options to choose from in tourism. You can visit cave temples, forts, gateways, study inscriptions and sculptures. You should see the Buddhist cave but are you prepared to crawl into it? No other way to get in. Don’t miss the Bhutanatha temple. This is a small pretty shrine constructed in 5th century! The Badami Fort which is at the top of a hill is a pretty one and worth a visit. You can see the Dattatreya temple and the Mallikarjuna temple. This is another very ancient temple. It is interesting that you will find a Muslim Dargah here too! Other than these, there are some very attractive viewpoints on the North Fort for you to get a panoramic view of the old town. There is a temple of the family deity who many groups of families worship – this is the Banashankari. Do visit the Archaeological museum to see some magnificent sculptures.
There are of course a whole lot of cave temples that will capture your fancy! Sandstone cave temples are the most popular style of temples here. There are cave temples that are numbered like Cave Temple 1, Cave Temple 2, Cave Temple 3 and Cave Temple 4.
Other Temples at Badami
Among other famous temples in Badami, worth a visit is the Malegitti-Shivalaya, which is the oldest temple in Badami. Jambulinga temple is also an old one known to be of the trikutachala type. Not to miss is the Agastya Tirtha that houses temples of Goddess Yellamma, Datttreya, Mallikarjuna and Virupaksha.
Whoever visits Badami among local, national or even international travelers are all very enthralled by the red sand stone cliffs of Badami. These have become very famous as major attractions around the area. All climbers have been talking about these cliffs. One big reason is that the location is free of cost for most activities. Most popular sport here is bouldering. The horizontal crack patterns among these cliffs make them resemble the Gunk’s. Foreigners in particular are crazy about this kind of climbing! They take great thrill in exploring over 150 such multiple and bolted routes for free climbing. Most of the credit for setting this up goes to Gerhard Schaar, who is a climber from Germany. Credit also goes to Pranesh Manchaiah, a climber from the city of Bangalore. They played a pivotal role in establishing this special, free and adrenaline pumping game. They were pioneers of a project named 'Bolts for Bangalore'. So now that you are convinced that Badami has much more beyond just temples and history, are you ready for the ‘plunge?’
Galaganatha Temple dedicated to lord Shiva is a compact yet strikingly unique temple in Pattadakal. The most striking part of the Galaganatha Temple is its dexterously executed tower and the fluted final atop. Most likely the Galaganatha Temple was built around 750 CE during the regime of the early Chalukya king Vikramaditya II.
The Virupaksha Temple of Pattadakal signifies the high watermark of the Early Chalykyan architecture. This temple was built in commemoration to the victory of the Chalykyas over the Pallavas of the Kanchipuram.