After exploring Aihole and Pattadakal temples on first day (Clcik here to read our Day 1 experience at Badami), we planned to reach the Badami caves by 6 AM next day morning. But, our ambitious plan was ruined by our desire to sleep more 🙂 and finally we reached the caves by 8 AM.
Badami Cave Temples: Here begins our Day 2
The rock cut temples are carved out of these sandstone rocks which have beautiful strokes by nature over time. These caves are perfect blend of artistic work of nature and humans with huge panels of carvings and paintings.
We eavesdropped on one of the guide’s explanation. Apparently, the king wanted to give a feeling of the God himself running the empire. Hence, huge portrait of Siva and Vishnu followed by a gallery of minutely carved pillars giving a look of King’s darbar. Eavesdropping brings interesting insights at times!
The higher you go, the more you want to stay here. We felt we could embrace the whole town from the highest point. You can have a clear view of Agastya Lake and Bhutanatha Temple with white blue painted houses of Badami in the background. There is also an old mosque just next to the caves and it looks beautiful through the rocks.
There are four set of caves in Badami. As you reach the site (550 CE), the first cave right in front of you is dedicated to God Shiva. As you take the stairs up, there comes the second cave excavated for the God Vishnu (6th Century CE). Further up comes the third cave dedicated to the God Maha-Vishnu which is also the largest and most ornate of all the Chalukya caves. Fourth and the last, a Jaina cave, is the smallest of all.
This place left us spell bound. We could have spent whole day here but then our brains were itching for another adventure.
Hike to Mahakuta Temples: Unplanned Venture
(Read More: Hike from Badami Caves to Mahakuta Temples)
After visiting Badami cave temples, we had planned to head for Mahakuta Temples which is ~14 KMs from Badami, by road. After a bit of inquiry from locals, we decided to hike our way to Mahakuta Temples through the hill right in front of us.
It was an on the spot decision and we hiked for next 2 hours and ~5 KMs to reach Mahakuta Temples. Thanks to few locals who accompanied and guided us on the way. Mahakuta group of temples is an important place of worship for Hindus. A large tank is fed by fresh water from a spring nearby. The tank was crowded with people taking a holy dip but also carrying out all kinds of water acrobatics.
After visiting temple and taking good rest, we headed to our next destination for the day – Banashankari Temples
Banashankari is a temple of deity Shakambhari Devi worshipped by many in Karnataka and Maharashtra. There is a huge water tank in the forefront of the temple. The tank was however dry during our visit. The pond is enclosed with stone mantapas on three sides and a circumlocutory path surrounds the tank. We have always cherished lunch meals offered as prasadam in temples. The food is simple and tastes divine. We finished our meal offered by temple and headed to rest in the mantapas around the tank.
At Banashankari, you will have the taste of local cuisines as ladies from nearby villages sell bhakaharis, baigan bhaji, curd and peanut powder. We took a plate and it tasted well in the afternoon as we rested in Mantapas. There are also various Khanavalis in Badami where you get the same food, fresh and hot.
Evening at Agastya Lake: A perfect End to our trip
We set out for one last tryst with the Sun in Badami as we headed to Agastya Lake. This time, it was from other side of the lake, just by the stairs with the blues of water and sky. Bhutnatha Temple was right opposite of us bathed with evening light in the background of red rocks.
We sat there for around 2 hours before we said good bye to Badami, after very well 2 days spent. Loved all the aspects of the rustic and pristine life in Badami !!
Stay: There are limited stay options in Badami. We had stayed at Rajsangam Hotel. This hotel is right opposite the Badami Bus Stop. Rooms are spacious and comfortable and hotel has 24 hours check out.
Getting around: We used public transport for getting to all the places – either bus or shared autos. We were initially apprehensive about the bus frequency after reading most of the blogs but did not face any such issue. You can enquire at bus stop in the morning or a day before about the timings and adjust your itinerary accordingly. Shared autos were also easily available. Anyhow, public transport comes with its own wait time which we never bother about 🙂
Badami Cave Temples Timings
There are 3 sections of Badami Cave temples. Timings for each of them are different –
- Badami Rock cut Cave Temples: 6 AM to 6 PM
- Badami Museum: 9 AM to 5 PM
- Bhutnath Temple: 8 AM to 6 PM