A Visit to Mighty Badami Caves

I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the famed cave temples of Badami. I went in a group tour to see several places in North Karnataka and Badami was one among them.

Badami is a small town in Bagalkot District of Karnataka, and it was the place the famous Chalukyan kings chose to establish their kingdom about 1500 years ago. They built several fascinating temples in Badami between the mountains and the lakes.

Agasthyamuni Lake below the cave temples


Our bus took us to the foot hills of the red sand stone mountains, which was just few kms from the main bus stand. Though it was an early morning in April (around 9 a.m), the sun was not showing any mercy on us, and in the hot sun we climbed up to see the architectural marvels of the mighty rock cut temples built in a series across the mountain.. Three of the four temples were dedicated to Hindu Gods and one was for Jains (two temples for Lord Vishnu, one for Lord Shiva and the last one for Jains).. It was nice to see that they were well maintained and protected.

Vehicle parking area

Steps climbing to the 1st cave temple

When the guide was explaining the history and the mythological poses to us I was flabbergasted, like many others in the group. The statues of 18 armed Nataraja (Lord Shiva) in 91 imposing dancing poses, Ardhanareshwari (half man-half woman), Vishnu in his Varaha and Trivikrama incarnations conquering Earth with one leg and rules the Sky with other foot, Man-Lion, and Mahavira with the 24 Tirthankaras etc were really fascinating!!! Our guide even showed us how so many poses can be made, by choosing any one of the left hands in combination with any one of the right hand. What an imagination!! Some statues were partially destroyed .

Statue of Hindu Gods

Guide explains about Nataraja poses

Destroyed statue of Nandi

After visiting the first cave, you have to climb about 64 steps to reach the 2nd cave. From the 2nd cave, you have to climb about 60 steps to reach the 3rd cave.  Though these ancient temples were the stunning creations of the 6th and 7th centuries, even after so many centuries of exposure to rain and sun, the charm of these ancient statues is still retained!!!! I was wondering if they looked so charming even now, how they would have been during Chalukyan period!!

Tourists climbing to the 2nd cave temple from the 1st cave

Design on the ceiling of the cave temple

Though I had read about the beauty of these temples in various sites and blogs, experiencing it by being there and exploring them was something which words can’t explain enough. Even in the scorching sun, the gigantic deep reddish sandstone cave temples looked marvelous!! .

The monkeys of Badami love the abundant tourists who visit their kingdom and affectionately they may show their love by trying to snatch away your water bottles or juice bottles, or even any other eatables in your possession. It need not be only eatables; whatever fascinates them they may try their stunt on it. If you don’t want to spare them you have to be extremely careful. My sister had bought a bottle of orange juice to carry with us for our upward journey to the cave temples and as I was paying the money, the next moment it was not in her hand, but it had reached in the hands of one of the monkeys who inhabited there! It vanished from her hand within such a short time!

The view from the top with Agasthyamuni Lake (Agasthyathirtha Lake), with rocky hills surrounding it on three sides and sandstone temples at the feet of these hills, was amazing. You can get a magnificent view of the lake from the third and fourth caves. It is said that this lake has no source of water, and the water had ayurvedic properties earlier.

A view from the top of the 1st cave temple

As I was moving away in our bus to our next destination, I was all the way thinking about the amazing history of India.

Travel info –
Badami is 550 km from Bangalore, and 160 kms from Belgaum.

The best time to travel to Badami I think is, between October and mid March, to avoid the heat. .

13 Comments

  • vimala ramu says:

    An extremely well logged informative article embellished by very clear, attractive pictures. I have a doubt though. The seventh picture is not showing Trivikrama, I think. I may be wrong. I feel it is Varaha avatara(you can see the big snout of a wild boar) bringing up Mother Earth, Bhoodevi from the sea after vanquishing Hiranyaksha. Check if you can.
    I was disappointed when I did not receive Bhelpuri. Then I thought you might have sent it through Post office and hence the delay. Anyway, I shall wait for it.

  • Sneha says:

    Hello Lakshmi

    I am sure I would see a book of yours related to travel on the shelf soon.
    Please take me along next time :-) Your beautiful words and pictures embellish what is said.

  • Lakshmi says:

    Thank you Vimala for your visit and the comment, which really adds value to this blog. I must have made a mistake in noting down the caption. Since I am unable to verify it now I’m planning to remove the caption. I feel that is better than giving an incorrect caption.

    The book Bhelpuri will be reaching you soon.

    Thanks once again.

  • Lakshmi says:

    Thank you Sneha for reading the blog and leaving your comment, which is much appreciated.

    I too have a dream of writing a travel book one day, but we all know all dreams will not be fulfilled! If at all this dream is fulfilled you will be the first person to get a free copy from me :-)

  • Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    A very exhaustively detailed travelogue illustrated by superb photographs. The cave temples reminded me of Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra. However, the latter are on the brink of crumbling down. Photographs and even loud conversations are not allowed inside. I had not heard about Badami, perhaps, the name is because of the red sand stones these are built of. Next time when I plan a visit to Bangalore I’ll include this in my itinerary. At the moment, I am sending this link to my nephew who stays in Bangalore so that he can explore the sight during vacation. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lakshmi says:

      Thank you Geetashree for visiting this travelogue and leaving your wonderful comments.

      Badami is one of the main tourist destinations of Karnataka. May not be so popular as Ajanta and Ellora caves. Once you visit there you will be highly impressed by these wonderful architecture, if you’re an admirer of arts and architecture. Photography was not a problem here. Thanks for sending the link to your nephew and hope he will explore this place.

  • Nandan says:

    Thank you Lakshmi for introducing me to Badami. I didn’t know about this and to have such massive statues in such large number and having sustained centuries , its really mind boggling.

    Recently I went to some caves near Sanchi (Udaigiri Caves, I guess) and after reading about Badami, I can’t imagine how big the whole thing would be.

    What is the next destination ?

  • Lakshmi says:

    Thanks Nandan for your valuable comments and I’m glad to know that you liked the new place I introduced here. Since you enjoy visiting cave temples I’m sure you too will enjoy a visit to Badami caves.
    Hoping to see your travelogue on Sanchi (Udaigiri) caves soon.

    After visiting Badami caves, I visited several other places in Karnataka and AP, and I will write about them (at least some of them) as time permits.

  • Sri says:

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for posting such wonderful blog about badami :-), really i enjoyed it while reading.
    Superb pictures,you had a great time :-). Badami is one of the main attraction tourist place, worth to visit :-)
    i read about badami at site: http://www.ijaunt.com/karnataka/badami
    this site has badami cave temples info, images and videos also,
    if you want to know more about badami, visit above mentioned link.

  • Hi Lakshmi !

    Came to this travelogue via Nirdesh Singh’s blog on Badami. Your blog was listed by ghumakkar as a Related Post. The first thing that held my attention was your beautiful photographs which were taken by you from great heights which gave us wonderful view of the lake. You were equally good at words too!

    By the way, why only 2 posts at ghumakkar? Do you keep yourself busy in penning the book which you assured us to write?

  • Lakshmi says:

    Hi Sushant,

    Thanks for visiting this travelogue and leaving your valuable comment. I apologize for the delay in responding.

    As I’m busy with managing my own website, an online magazine for Indian writers, (www.induswomanwriting.com) and occasional travel I hardly find time to write here. However, I come here occasionally for a break and read some of the fascinating and inspiring travel stories with the mesmerizing photographs, and each time I leave thinking I must write another one here, soon. (I know it has not yet happened).

    In between, I have authored a novel, titled “The Second Choice,” which is available on flipkart, amazon.in, com, co.uk and some other online stores. My travel book is also on its way, and hoping to be ready in the next few months time.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Lakshmi – thats great to know Lakshmi. We look forward to your travel book. When appropriate, please do tell us and we would spread the word in the community. Wishes.

  • Poonam says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog post having a lot of useful information and nice images. Badami in Bagalkot district of Karnataka is famous for its rock cut temples.

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