Hampi-Badami-Aihole from Bangalore Part II

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Badami Hills Panorama view


Not to repeat the mistake of yesterday we started early today covering the distance of around 180 Km in less than 3 hours. The town of Badami is very small with narrow city roads and it will be really difficult to imagine that such a beauty lies hidden amongst the cobbled roads one has to travel to reach this place. The entrance is very small and can hardly park 5-10 cars. In our approach, we found big buses parking on the road making it even worse. We were lucky to find a parking place at the campus and no sooner have we parked we were swamped by monkeys. We literally had to hide all the food items so as to be able to move forward.
Monkey Attack

 All such irritations faded away as soon as we saw the first glimpse of the place. A beautiful Red mountain cut through to create a piece of architecture brilliance. One can literally see the effort of the artist that would have carved such a beauty. It's a place where there is zero margin for error for any of the sculptors as everything is carved out of the mountain rock itself. The Badami cave temples represent some of the earliest known examples of Hindu temples. UNESCO has described the designs of the Badami cave temples, and those in Aihole, as having transformed the Malaprabha River valley into a cradle of temple architecture that defined the components of later Hindu temples elsewhere in India. The place has 5 caves in all with a unique and different theme for each of them.


Cave 1, among various sculptures of Hindu divinities and themes, a prominent carving is the Tandava-dancing Shiva as Nataraja.

Cave 2 is mostly similar to Cave 1 in terms of its layout and dimensions, featuring Hindu subjects of which the relief of Vishnu as Trivikrama is the largest.

The largest cave is Cave 3, featuring Vishnu-related mythology, and it is also the most intricately carved cave in the complex.

Cave 4 is dedicated to revered figures of Jainism. Cave 5 may be a Buddhist cave.
Another cave was discovered in 2015, about 500 meters (1,600 ft) from the four main caves, with 27 Hindu carvings. 

For movie buffs, this place might look familiar due to multiple shots of films most recent being Rowdy Rathore.
Bhootnath temple Complex

Once on the top, you can see the beautiful Bhootnath temple along the banks of a beautiful lake. You can drive your vehicle next to the place but again through very narrow lanes of the place. But the effort is worth as it's really a sight for your eyes. Seriously if only the place is recalibrated it could be the main revenue earner of Karnataka tourism. Once we had no more corner left to click pictures we decided to push on to our next destination on the cards.

About few kilometres from Badami lies famous Banashankari temple(goddess of forest), even though it is not architecturally a delight but if you have some time you can take this detour and spend some time here facing the water-bed. This exit is on right-hand side through a small road but if not interested you can continue on the main road to the next stop called Mahakuta, this temple is actually a collection of temples and is one of the two places having  Panchamukha linga ("five faced linga"), one face for each direction and one on topA natural mountain spring flows within the temple complex and feeds fresh water into a large tank called the Vishnu Pushkarni ("Lotus pool of god Vishnu") and an ablution tank called Papavinasha Tirtha ("Tank of Ablution"). You can take a bath here if you are up for it. You can try home made butter milk here they were nice.

Patadakkal temple

Once again we were on the road for Patadakal, one of better-kept temple destination of Vijayanagara Kingdom. It seems no major attack happened to this area and so most of the temples still are intact and with ASI maintaining a beautiful lawn alongside the feel of the place is mesmerising. There are some intricate carvings on the main temple and worth capturing through lenses.

Around 20 Km from this place is Aihole another remarkable destination. The place has a ticket for entry and the first temple you see inside will remind you of the design of Indian Parliament. there are many folklores which actually suggest that they are one and the same. Mind it once you leave Badami there isn't any good place to eat. I will suggest if you are really hungry to have your lunch at KSTDC Aihole which at least has some decent food and restrooms in the area.

While returning back we thought of visiting the famous Tungabhadra Dam as it was en route itself via the newly constructed Hospet NH. They are doing some really good work in terms of Roads. For us the spot which Google maps told was a wrong one and we had to ask our way out of the place to reach the place. But this detour cost us the Sunset as by the time we parked at the bottom and took the shuttle to the top it was already dark. Bad luck!! Still it was a view seeing water everywhere you can see. It seems almost 90 villages were once shifted to construct this monster of the dam which was one of the biggest dams of India until recently. There is a musical fountain and small park at the top as other attractions. Disappointed we darted back to our hotel for a well-deserved barbeque dinner at night.

 Day 4 (final day) 

As I said at the start we did miss Vithala temple in Hampi and although there is a whole lot of places on the other side of the temples to explore but that was not possible this time. Hence we checked out early and started for one more trip to Hampi. Following the same route till you come across a junction where there is a Dr Ambedkar statue instead of taking left we took right this time. Mind you even if you take left you can still reach this place but that has to be a trek on foot through the banks of Tungabhadra river. Had I not been with my Kid I might have given that a shot as it looked very beautiful.

Virupaksha Temple

Anyways we parked at the gate, from there you have two options either walk around 1 KM to reach the main temple complex or you can take battery operated cars for a sum of 10rs per side. The entire fleet is maintained by women and was good to see. You should definitely take a guide here if not for history just for listening to the musical notes of the musical pillar. The core temple or garbhagriha of the place was built by Devaraya but all the major attractions around the place were built in the reign of krishnadevaraya.  

Rowdy Rathore with Musical Pillars in background
The musical place is right in front of the temple and consists of 56 pillars of stone each created with such finish as to create a different musical note when hit by fingers or wooden sticks. It is said his queen was a very accomplished dancer and used to perform here with musicians using the pillars as the only source of music. This place could also be seen in the song sequence of Rowdy Rathore.

Pic Courtesy Hampi.in

The famous Stone chariot is in front of the musical pillars. It is said after Orissa victory the king liked the Sun temple so much that he also constructed a chariot based on Sun temple of Konark and it is said the wheels of chariot could be moved by hands.

In the memory of the Queen, there was put a big gold Kalash at the top of gopuram but during the siege of the capital, all the gold was taken away by the nizams. You can still see the top of gopuram damaged due to the cannon fired.  Both the musical pillar and revolving wheels have been banned for public use now. It is also said the walls were accorded by diamonds all around so that by placing the fire in a single place used to illuminate the whole place. Unfortunately, all these and many such stories are now only part of the folklore reminiscent of the golden age of India.

Virupaksha Entrance
Outside of the temple is remains of Hampi Bazaar where once upon a time gems, gold and Arabian horse were traded. Such is the significance of this trade that you can see pictures of Mongolian horses and other items in the stone carvings of the temple. There is also Dharam Kanata which was used to weigh the king with Gold and gems that were distributed amongst the poor.  

As time was running short we decided to head back to Bangalore with a promise that its not over for Hampi and we will be back once more at least. Now I know why Europeans and Americans come here and don't go back so soon, every stone every piece of land has a story to tell only if you are ready to listen:)


  • Timing: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week
  • No food available bring your own
  • Guide a must for this place
  • Carry lots of Water Bottles and umbrella or Hat for the shade.
  • Entry ticket for Virupaksha only but it includes Buggy cart ride

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