Four Cave Temple on the Red Stone Ridge
Badami or Vatapi, as it was formally called, is a town with archeological, historical and religious significance. The present day name of the town is believed to have been inspired by the almond-colored (badami in Hindi) twin hills on which it is located. However, the former name Vatapi was inspired by the tale of two demons Vatapi and Ilvala from Ramayana.In fact, the two hills are considered to represent the demons.
The red sandstone hills offer eye-pleasing views as they are surrounded by the beautiful Agastya Lake. The most popular attractions of Badami are the four cave temples that were constructed by the early Chalukya rulers between the 6th and the 8th centuries.While two of these rock-cut temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one has Lord Shiva as the main deity and the fourth one has Jain origin. Pillars, sculptures, facades and many other enchanting features make these temples truly wonderful. The 18-arm figure of dancing Shiva is a highlight worth mentioning.
The Agastya Lake has another temple complex on its bank called the Bhutanatha groups of temples. Dedicated to the deity Bhutanatha,the complex consists of temples made of sandstone. Another group of temples called Mallikarjuna Temples are located on the opposite bank of the lake. The star shaped plan of these temples inspired many other temples constructed in South India later.
Badami Fort located on a small cliff is another architectural marvel in the town. The Archaeological Museum of the town exhibits some interesting collections from different eras. There are some inscriptions written in old Kannada language on the hillocks have been preserved and are worth viewing. The adventure minded tourists can enjoy rock climbing, a popular activity in the town undertaken by many climbers from different parts of the world. Badami with many historic treasures is indeed a travelers’ delight.