Badami: A Charming Little Town Along Rock Cave Temples & Colourful People
To get to Badami, we took a local bus from the Hospet KSRTC bus terminal. It’s about a 3 hour journey, costs around 200 and the roads are mostly drive friendly.Since I’d studied Karnataka history during my high school, Badami held certain recall and significance as the kingdom of Chalukyas once flourished here ( 540-757AD) and it remains a site of historical significance to this day.
At first Badami fails to impress. The heat and the sun didn’t help. However, as we made our way to the rock cave temples Badami is famous for, the trip seemed already worth it. The caves loom large in the front, and climbing up a few steps would take you to the entrance of the temples carved out completely within these caves.
The fine workmanship on the various Hindu god idols, engraved motifs and religious inscriptions throughout the temple walls and the ceilings, similar to the ones in Hampi are a beautiful site and perfect for photography
The highlight of these caves has to be the sheer visual delight of seeing humungous rocks with a set of pillars at the bottom, looking as though the rocks were supported by these pillars! Continue walking further up and similar cave temples lie ahead, making for a series of 4 such temples.
However as prudently forewarned by the authorities, do beware of the monkeys swarming the place as they could get aggressive and as I discovered later in Hampi even resort to biting!
The view from the top of these temples- looking down at the town of Badami with the green lake at one edge and a mosque not far away – makes for a great sunset point.
We spent an hour here and made our way down to the base of the hill. A short stroll later we sat by the steps at the bank of the lake and watched local children enjoy themselves diving and swimming into the lake.
We then walked through the rural landscape of Badami, taking in the ancient but interesting houses with their colourful doors, the very colourful local women and the turban and pointed-hat donning men.
Interestingly since Badami borders Maharashtra, it is primarily a Marathi-speaking town, rather than a Kannada one. I managed to have the men pose for me in this photo, admittedly one of my favourites already.
We spent the night in Badami and travelled back to Hampi the next day.
For a dose of South Indian heritage, and an architectural marvel in all its lost glory, do visit the Badami Caves, but just for a day or two.