Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a taluk in the Bagalkot District of Karnataka. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD and is famous for rock cut and other structural temples. It is located in a ravine at the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Agastya lake.

The name Vatapi has origin in the Vatapi legend of Ramayana relating to Sage Agastya. There were two demon siblings Vatapi and Ilvala. They used to kill all mendicants by tricking them in a peculiar way. The elder Ilvala would turn Vatapi into a ram and would offer its meat to the guest. As soon as the person ate the meat, Ilvala would call out the name of Vatapi. As he had a boon that whomsoever Ilvala calls would return from even the netherland, Vatapi would emerge ripping through the body of the person, thus killing him. Their trick worked until Sage Agastya countered them by digesting Vatapi before Ilvala could call for him, thus ending the life of Vatapi at the hands of Ilvala. Two of the hills in Badami represent the demons Vatapi and Ilvala.

LocationBagalkot district, Karnataka
Best time to visitOctober to March
Places to visitBadami Cave Temples, Agastya Lake, Bhuthanatha Temple, Malegitti Shivalaya Fort and Temple, Banashankari Temple, Lad Khan Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Badami Fort and Mahakuteshwara Temple.

History of Badami

Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I(535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas. His sons Kirthivarman (567-598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (598-610 AD) constructed the cave temples. The greatest among them was Pulakeshi II (610-642 AD) who defeated many kings including Pallava king Mahendra Verman I and extended the kingdom.

The rock-cut Badami Cave Temples were sculpted mostly between the 6th and 8th centuries. The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. cave 1 is devoted to Shiva, and Caves 2 and 3 are dedicated to Vishnu, whereas cave 4 displays reliefs of Jain Tirthankaras. Deep caverns with carved images of the various incarnations of Hindu gods are strewn across the area, under boulders and in the red sandstone. From an architectural and archaeological perspective, they provide critical evidence of the early styles and stages of the southern Indian architecture.

The Pallavas under the king Narasimhavarman I (also called Mamalla Pallava) seized it in 642 A.D. Vikramaditya I of Chalukyas drove back Pallavas in 654 A.D. and led a successful attack on Kanchipuram, the capital of Pallavas. The Rashtrakutas absorbed karnataka including Badami around 757 AD and the town lost its importance. The later Chalukyas of Kalyani defeated them and were able to keep region from 973 A.D. to 1189 A.D., when it was occupied by the Hoysalas.

Then it passed on to Vijayanagara empire, The Adil Shahis, The Savanur Nawabs, The Marathas, Hyder Ali. The Britishers made it part of the Bombay Presidency.

Badami has eighteen inscriptions, among them some inscriptions are important. The first Sanskrit inscription in old Kannada script, on a hillock dates back to 543 CE, from the period of Pulakesi I (Vallabheswara), the second is the 578 CE cave inscription of Mangalesa in Kannada language and script and the third is the Kappe Arabhatta records, the earliest available Kannada poetry in tripadi (three line) metre. One inscription near the Bhutanatha temple, on a rock, testifies to Mamalla Pallava's victory over the Chalukyas in the year 642 CE. It also has inscriptions dating back to the 12th century in Jain rock-cut temple dedicated to the Tirtankara Adinatha.

Badami Cave Temples
Badami Sculpture Gallery
KSTDC Hotel in Badami Online Booking
KSTDC North Heritage Tour
Hotels, Boarding, Lodging & Accomodation in Badami
Historical Places in Karnataka

Temples in Badami

Banashankari Amma Temple is a famous temple located in Cholachagudd near Badami, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Bhutanatha Group of Temples along with the cave temples on the hills is the major attraction in Badami, a historical town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Mahakuta is a place of religious significance for Shaivites. It is situated in Bagalkot in Karnataka, a few kilometers away from Badami. Shri Veerabhadra Temple, Godachi - Godachi is a small village famous for the Godach Fair or Jatre held during the months of November-December every year. The Godachi Jatre is held in honor of Shri Veerabhadra, the prime deity in the main temple here - the Veerabhadra temple.

Distance from Badami to Savanur, Karnataka is 133.7 km and travelling takes around 2 h 55 min via SH 6. Distance from Ranebennura to Badami, Karnataka is 211.6 km and takes around 3 h 59 min via NH48 and NH52.

Top 10 Facts about Badami

Here are Top 10 facts about Badami

  1. Badami was the capital of the Chalukya dynasty, which ruled large parts of South India between the 6th and 8th centuries AD.
  2. The town is known for its rock-cut cave temples, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples are carved out of sandstone cliffs and are known for their intricate carvings and architectural beauty.
  3. The four main cave temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and the Jain Tirthankaras. The temples are a testimony to the religious harmony that existed in ancient India.
  4. Badami is also known for its red sandstone cliffs, which are a popular destination for rock climbing and hiking.
  5. The town is home to several ancient temples and shrines, including the Bhutanatha Temple, which is located on the banks of the Agastya Lake.
  6. The Agastya Lake is a popular destination for boating and is known for its scenic beauty.
  7. The nearby Pattadakal town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its ancient temples and monuments.
  8. The town is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Indian history and architecture and is a great place to experience the rich cultural heritage of South India.
  9. The best time to visit Badami is between the months of October and March when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities.
  10. The town is well-connected to other parts of Karnataka by road and rail, and is a popular destination for day trips and weekend getaways from nearby cities like Bangalore and Hubli.