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.
There is a small station in Badami, 5 km from the center. Trains from Bangalore, Bijapur and other cities stop there regularly. From the station, there are many rickshaws to reach the center. You can also wait a bus which goes to the bus stand. It will cost you only ₹3.
The bus stand is in the center of the town. There are buses for Gadag, Bijapur, Bangalore and Hospet. The NWKRTC bus service is very efficient. From Hubli, regular buses to Badami (on the Ilkal / Bagalkot route) ply every 30 minutes or so. The journey from Hubli takes about 3 hours not counting a 20 minute break at a town enroute (for lunch, refreshments)
From Bangalore: Drive to Hubli along NH 4 (410 km) and then via NH 218 (106 km).
From the center, all the main sites are reachable by feet. However, there are plenty of rickshaws which would be happy to transport you. The best way to explore this small town is through your feet.
Best way of getting around is hire an passenger auto for a day trip including caves, museum, bhootnath temples, fort, Pattadkal and Aihole and drop to railway station.
Auto-rickshaws are well priced for a group of 3-4 people. Available at railway station. Tata ace Magic autos, comfortable for a group of 10, are available opposite the bus stand. Parking charges are extra at the caves, Pattadkal and Aihole.
Sufficient time needed to cover only Badami tourist places approximately 6 hours. If you add not-so-popular spots, you need a whole day. Visit the caves early morning or evening to click great pics. To see Pattadkal is 2 hours maximum, whereas Aihole will demand 4-5 hours as temples are scattered across the village.
Almost all the main attractions of Badami are around the Agasthya Tank.
- Archaeological museum. A museum regrouping sculptures of various era from the region.
- Bhutanatha temple (In front of the tank). A temple built in 5th century.
- 1 Cave temples (Badami cave temples) (South of the tank). The main attractions of Badami are its caves. There are four main caves. The first one, dedicated to Shiva, was excavated by the Chalukyas in 550 AD. The second one is dedicated to Vishnu. In this cave there are statues of Vishnu avatars like Varaha, the boar or Krishna. The third cave is also dedicated to Vishnu and the last one is a cave with Jain representations. Entrance ₹100 for foreigners and 5 for Indians.
- Dattatreya temple.
- Malegitti Shivalaya. This temple is the oldest one of the town. It is built on a flat rock and offers a nice view on Badami.
- Upper Bhootnath Temple, Badami (across the Agastya lake facing the Badami Caves). 10AM-6PM. A flight of 300+ steps will get you top the hill. Ideal spot for sunset and offers a panoramic view of Badami Caves and Agastya lake. Free.
- Climbing. With all the cliffs surrounding the tank, Badami is a nice spot for climbing.
- Geeta Darshini, Station Road (100 m after bus stand). A nice veg restaurant.
- Banashree, Station Road (opposite bus stand). ideal for veggies Cheap.
- Heritage Resort, Station Road (300 m after bus stand). Good vegetarian options. Moderate.
Buttermilk made from cow's or buffalo milk. Tea is the popular drink of the local people, available at road side shacks and restaurants.
- The Heritage Resort, Station Road (Near Railway Station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12 noon. A small resort at the edge of town. Very peaceful and tranquil. It has a handful of cottages and serves vegetarian food. Rooms from ₹3200.
- 1 Hotel Rajsangam Hotel, Station Road (Opposite to bus stand), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-out: 24 hours. A hotel in the center of Badami. Rooms from ₹800 to ₹3500.
- Hotel Mayura Chalukya a hotel run by Karnataka State tourism corporation.
There are many monkeys in Badami. Some of them, especially the gray langurs, can be aggressive. B.S.N.L ( Cellone ) cellular phone connectivity is available here. Summer months of March, April, May are hot. Dehydration must be avoided in these months.