BADAMI – The Underrated Town of Caves


When it comes to India, the majority of visitors flock to popular cities and tourist destinations. However, there is something to be said about taking the road less traveled, which is exactly what we did. After considering our options, my husband and I decided on Badami in Karnataka’s Bagalkot District, which is known for its rich heritage and architectural wonders.

We boarded the GolGumbaz Express in Bangalore on a Friday evening and arrived at Badami’s small railway station around 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. As soon as we stepped out of the station, we were greeted by eager auto-rickshaw drivers vying for our business.

Our hotel was a five-kilometer bumpy drive away, with views of small houses, large agricultural fields, and water running alongside the road. Despite the fact that our check-in was delayed, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits and instead went straight to the town’s most famous attraction – the rock-cut caves.

The walk to the caves, which are about 1 km from the hotel, was just as memorable as the caves themselves. We saw the hustle and bustle of village life along the way, with kids playing in the street and women doing household chores. The caves themselves were breathtaking, with rock-cut temples dedicated to Hindu gods and Jains, each with graceful sculptures, fine paintings, and imposing statues.

We took our time exploring the caves, admiring the 18-armed Nataraja in various dancing poses, as well as Ardhanareshwari, Vishnu, Man-Lion, and Mahavira with the 24 Tirthankaras. Although some of the statues had been partially destroyed, the caves were well-kept, and their deep reddish sandstone structures and breathtaking views of Agasthyamuni Lake left us speechless.

After spending several hours exploring the caves, we returned to the hotel for some rest and relaxation before venturing out to see the Archaeological Museum of Badami. Among the exhibits at the museum are prehistoric stone implements, sculptures, architectural members, inscriptions, and hero stones. Among other masterpieces, we were particularly taken with the impressive Lajja Gouri, Makara Torana, and narrative panel depicting Bhagavata.

The Badami Fort and Adjacent Area was our final stop of the day, and it required a 4-5 km trek to the top of the hill. We enjoyed breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, which is also regarded as one of India’s best for rock climbing. The trek was difficult, but it was well worth the effort, and we returned to our hotel exhausted but satisfied with our day’s adventures.

We started late on the second day of our trip because we had seen most of the sights the day before. We decided to take it easy in the morning and relax. We left the hotel around noon and made our way to Agasthya Lake. On the way, we noticed children everywhere playing drums. They were, it turned out, collecting donations for the upcoming Holi festival.

The Badami CavesRed Sandstone HillsBhootnath Temple Complex, and small Badami houses surround Agasthya Lake. The lake is considered holy and is said to have healing powers. The lake’s beauty is enhanced by the sandstone steps (ghats) on three sides. The Bhootnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is on the lake’s eastern shore. We also went to the Buddha cave and the Kappe Arabhatta inscription.

We returned to the rock-cut cave temples after spending some time at the temple complex. The place was crowded because it was a Sunday, but we sat in Cave for hours watching people, monkeys, and carvings. We ate at a nearby restaurant before heading to the train station to catch our train.

The station was quite far from town, and there was a power outage, which added to the suspense. After a long wait, our train arrived, and our journey to this lovely small town came to an end.

Finally, if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination with a rich cultural experience and stunning ancient architecture, Badami is a must-see. Its rock-cut caves, beautiful sculptures, and ancient monuments will leave you with unforgettable memories.

She Writer Sakshi Bhalla is a graduate Engineer, content developer, and technical trainer for SaaS organizations. She has a rare combination of technical know-how and artistic flair, allowing her to write in a way that appeals to the analytical and imaginative side of her audience.

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