Badami is the ancient capital of the Chalukyas. It is famous for its sandstone cave temples.
Badami is 500 kms from Bangalore on the Hubli Sholapur rail route. You can make it on a 12 hour bus ride or with a combination of an overnight train journey from Bangalore to Hospet followed by a short bus ride from Hospet to Badami. The nearest airport is 150 kms away at Belgaum. Badami is best visited between September-February. Summers are extremely hot and better avoided.
Badami is straight out of a picture post card. It is located at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills and features the Agastya tirtha water reservoir in its midst. The center of attraction at Badami is the four cave temples. You will appreciate the tenets of secularism here as caves depict facets of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
The first cave is the oldest here, dating back to 578 AD. It features Lord Shiva dancing the apocalyptic “Tandava”. Shiva also features here in his half-man half-woman “Ardhanareswar” incarnation. Another intriguing carving is of “Harihara” whose right side features Shiva the destroyer and Vishnu the preserver is on the left side. Lord Vishnu dominates the second and third caves. He has one foot mastering the Earth and the other the sky. Vishnu is also portrayed as “Varaha” and Krishna. The fourth cave features Adinath, the Jain Tirtankara.
The twin Bhootnath temples reflect the early style of South Indian temples. They are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temples acquire a magical aura as sunlight caresses their sandstone exterior. You will also find a lake beneath the temples.Banashankari temple is also worth a visit. As per Skanda Puranas, a demon called Durgamasura was killed here by Goddess Parvathi. The Goddess is abode a lion and is trampling a monster by her feet. While at it, don’t miss the inscriptions on the monolithic gateway at the Virupaksha temple
Another interesting destination is the Open air museum build in 1979. You can have a look at some pre-historical stone equipments and sculptures of 6th to 16th century AD vintage. The museum is open between 10 am and 5 pm. It remains closed on Fridays. Entrance fee is just Rs 2/- per head!
Actually it’s a good idea to come here in January - February when the temple car festival is normally organized. The temple car festival continues in march-April at Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna Temple.
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