Rock cave temples of Badami steeped in history and heritage!

We were visiting our hometown Hubli in Karnataka for a much-needed vacation. Karnataka a southern state in India is teeming with rich historical sites and monuments. It had been a long time we had taken any trip around hence we planned to visit the Banashankari Temple and Badami caves of Bagalkot district which is around 3 hours from Hubli by car.

We started in the morning after some good breakfast. The road to Badami had verdant rows of groundnut fields on either side with lofty coconut trees in the backdrop.

Cave Temples Badami

The calm windy trail would be occasionally interrupted by the bustling villages with inevitable views of bullock carts, vegetable markets, and the children running around.

Banashankari Temple
We parked our car in the parking lined by many local shops selling copper and brass puja items and few wooden household items. We entered into the temple vicinity through an arch gate. On the right side is a Guard tower cum lamp tower called Victory Tower which stands on the bank of a water tank enclosed by a columned stone walkway.

Cave Temples Badami

We entered into the main temple area flanked by two colossal stone lamp towers. Temple has a long queue on the occasion of festivals and holy days so if you plan to visit the temple its better have an idea of the events. We visited on a weekday and hence there was no queue and we could visit the temple at our own pace.

Cave Temples Badami

The Banashankari temple originally built in the 7th century is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. In the sanctum, the sculpture of goddess with eight arms is depicted seated on a lion trampling a demon under her foot.

After spending some time in the spiritual ambiance of the temple we decided to go for lunch. We recommend Clarks Inn hotelΒ serving multi-cuisine delicacies for lunch.

Badami Cave Temples
After lunch, we headed towards the Badami Caves which is around 10 mins by car from Banashankari temple. We parked our car in parking opposite to the cave temples bought our tickets and started climbing the steps.

Once the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty Badami is famous for its magnificent rock cave temples carved from the massive rugged sandstone cliffs.

Cave Temples Badami

Badami was earlier known by the name Vatapi owing to the legend that demon Vatapi and demon sibling Ilvala who killed the innocent were brought to an end by Sage Agastya. According to another story, Badami got its name from the Badam (Almond) color of the sandstone of this place.

There are in total 4 cave temples all carved out of the sandstone cliff and are similar in the layout with a veranda and a hall with pillars leading to the small sanctum which houses the sculpture.

Cave Temples Badami

Cave Temples Badami

The first and the oldest of the temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The second and the third cave temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. And the fourth and the latest of the Cave temples is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras of the 6th century. The caves have exquisite mythological figures and inscriptions carved on the walls and pillars.

Cave Temples Badami

Cave Temples Badami

The temple caves overlook a town and a 5th century Agastya Tirtha Lake. From the large courtyard of the second temple, one can spot the Badami Fort located on top of the opposite hill, the Mallikarjuna and the Bhuthanatha temples situated towards the right on the bank of the Agastya Tirtha Lake.

Cave Temples Badami

We wandered around the caves till the history buff inside us was satiated and descended to the parking.

We next headed to the fort and temples we spotted from cave temples. The route winds through a narrow alley of the rustic quaint village with bright painted houses and carved wooden doorways.

Archaeological Museum of Badami
The museum has an open space overlooking the Agastya lake where we parked our car. The archaeological museum houses some of the remarkable collection of sculptures. Museum is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days and closed on Friday. Museum is accessible through small entrance fees.

Cave Temples Badami

Nestled atop a cliff, the Badami Fort dating back to 543 AD can be accessed through a set of stairs by the archaeological museum. The fort encloses large granaries and Malegitti Shiva one of the oldest Shiva temples. Most part of the fort is in ruins but is worth visit for the remains which exemplifies the splendor of the Chalukyan architecture and a magnificent view of the town and the temples.

A couple of minutes further from the museum along the lake are the 11th-century Mallikarjuna temples and the Bhuthanatha temples built between the 7th and the 11th centuries. The temples are worth visiting for their the exceptional architecture and tranquil surroundings.

Cave Temples Badami

Cave Temples Badami

To Reach Badami
The nearest airports to reach Badami are located at Hubli (around 105 km) and Belgaum (around 150 km). Visitors can reach Badami from Hubli and Belgaum by taxi or bus. Badami has its own railway station connected to prominent cities of Karnataka.

Have you visited Badami or do you plan to visit soon? Let us know in comments.

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38 Comment

  1. This place looks amazing. I’ve never heard of it, but I find temple caves so fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Lara πŸ™‚

  2. Paola says: Reply

    I heard more than once that Karnataka is a very nice state, with a lot to do and to visit. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit it when I was travelling to India, but this place made me wishing to go back and plan a trip over there!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      You heard it right Paola .. there are lots to explore in Karnataka.

  3. I have lived in the south for 6 years and I loved it there. Haven’t been in Karnataka yet but Loved your description of the place. Specially the temple. πŸ™‚

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Laveena πŸ™‚

  4. These images are rather incredible.Would love to visit India again and explore temples like this.India is so steep in culture and history and yet each time I am WOWed!

  5. Blair Villanueva says: Reply

    What I find most interesting is the Badami Cave and its carvings. You are very lucky to experience this kind of trip, and now I’m feeling I want it too!

  6. Wow, I thought it was Arizona at first glance then realized it was somewhere i cannot pronounce. LOL Incredible architecture!

  7. Wow, the rock caves and temples of Badami looks just incredible! I had no idea something like this existed. Would love to visit.

  8. I have fond memories of the place and I am surprised I have similar frames too. πŸ™‚ Looks lot more well maintained now than when I visited in 2010.

  9. Ami says: Reply

    Badami has been on my list for sometime now. Hoping to manage this on our next long weekend trip and I definitely am going to come back to this post for details when I head there. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Cool caves! The Badami cave temples are stunning.Looks like you all had a great time. Those would be awesome to explore!

  11. The architecture and the surroundings of the temples look incredible. The shot of the temples by the water is particularly capturing.

  12. Ana says: Reply

    My mother-in-law visited this temple last year and loved it! This temple represent the rich ancient architecture of India and loved the greenery around!

  13. Sona says: Reply

    Un-commercialized destinations are always on my list. I have been to Hubli a few times but never heard of Badami! It looks very rich and very scenic at the same time.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes Badami is really beautiful.

  14. Banashankari temple is beautiful. Colors <3 Badami looks really awesome, thanks for letting me discover another awesome spot in India.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Great !! there are lot more historical places around Badami.

  15. Divya says: Reply

    Wow! thanks for such a detailed post on Badami caves. I had read about Chalukya dynasty in school, it is there on my wishlist for a trip.
    Your post is a visual treat!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Glad you liked it. Thank you πŸ™‚

  16. Joanna says: Reply

    I have never seen a temple inside a rock cave before, carved right into the stone. I have visited a church inside a cave before, but that wasn’t carved inside the cliffs, just built inside it. The architecture is impressive indeed but also the surroundings, the lake. It looks like a small canyon actually.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      You should definitely plan a trip to Badami.

  17. The rock carvings of Badami are really beautiful. I had been there during my college days and I still remember that memorable trip. This post of your trip to Badami refreshed those memories. I remember standing infront of the Agastya lake and enjoying the beautiful evening there.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes they are amazing πŸ™‚

  18. I can’t believe these incredible caves and temples of Badami are all in your hometown?! I’d LOVE to visit all these temples, they’re divine!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yean Sarah you should visit them once

  19. History linked to caves and temples can left anyone fascinated and stunned. Its great to know that Badami caves named on Almond.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Priyanka πŸ™‚

  20. I <3 India so much! The history, colors, architecture.. it is such a beautiful place. Even after 6 months of being there, I feel like I hardly scratched the surface. I look forward to returning and adding more stories to my blog! Badami will for sure need to be on this list. Check out where I did get to go at this link, I would love to hear your thoughts and additional ideas of places I should go!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      You can find rich history and architecture in Karnataka, India. There are many more places around Badami and Hampi is one of them.

  21. Sounds like an interesting day full of history and culture. The Badami Cave Temples look amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Your photos are absolutely beautiful! I’m so impressed by the red and orange colors in the caves. I’d love to go explore and see them for myself.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thank you Stella πŸ™‚

  23. Amazing to read about a place steeped in so much culture and history! Badami Fort dates back to 543 AD- that blew my mind. Did the area have a calm and peaceful feel or a lot of tourists?

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Its not much crowded by tourists in weekdays but during festivals you can expect crowd.

  24. Imagine this place could talk and the stories it would tell? Looks amazing! Cant believe how old it is!

  25. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

    Yean it has lots of history and you can feel it when you visit these caves

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