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Journal #23: The Wonders of Chalukyas at Bucolic Badami!

Travel Log #17

Mesmerising Architectures of Badami That Leaves You Baffled

Location: Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal, in the district of Bagalkote

Once upon a time… I had been to Hampi and witnessed the glimpses of ancient grandiose Vijayanagara Empire in person. This illuminating experience stayed at my heart etching a permanent spot in it and ever since Hampi happened, I wanted to undertake another enlightening exploration trip. Badami was shortlisted after a research study that I had conducted. So, it was time for an exploration!

The bucolic Badami is situated in the district of Bagalkote, approximately 400 kilometres away from Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka. I travelled through an overnight bus and reached Badami early morning. To my surprise, the modern Badami, once the prestigious capital of The Great Chalukyas Empire, is a town presently and surprisingly, it was crowded. You need to travel through a densely populated colony, which Google Maps ruthlessly terms as “Badami Slum”, before you may get to the foremost attention of Badami - the Agastya Lake and its surroundings monuments.

The first set of monuments that overlooks the wide and grand Agastya Lake are the Badami Caves which consists of four ascending levels of caves, carved on a long rock, linearly. Each of the four caves are dedicated to the idols of Hindu and Jain religions. The first cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the next two to Lord Vishnu and the last cave, the highest, to Jainism idol Mahaveer and Buddha. The experience walking up the stone steps, and getting to see the incisive rock carvings in each and every cave cannot be described in words. Simply Magnificent! I was once again humbled by the master architects of the ancient era.

After the caves, I ventured out to check the Badami Museum. Just next to the museum, there is a trek uphill to Upper Shivalaya Shrine and on the way we would encounter the Lower Shivalaya Shrine. The trek hardly requires any effort to ascend and both the Shivalaya Shrines are a wonder to witness from higher altitude, overlooking the town of Badami and it’s Cave Temples. It is indeed truthful to cite that one would be awestruck by the imposing rock mountain that is more than a kilometer in length covering half of the perimeter of Holy Agastya Lake and hosting the magnificent Cave Temples. I had to stop for a while to imbibe the awe-inspiring sight.

It was time to get near Agastya Lake and I visited Bhoothnath Temple that is on the other side of lake. The regional people use the lake for laundry purposes and the lake is a delight to watch with Nature at it’s best. Preying cranes, swimming ducks, buzzing insects, birds flying on the surface of the lake, wandering dogs, naughty monkeys and langurs, etc. Mother Nature offers peace and bliss in her own way.

Now, I had to travel away from Badami, to Aihole and Pattadakal which is about 20 kilometers away from the town of Badami. The famous Durga Temple of Aihole was marvelous and monumental. I got to witness not only the incredible architectural shrines of the Chalukyas but also a vigilant owl. I then travelled to Pattakadal which is closer to Badami and is home to the culmination of Chalukyas experimental architecture. Pattadakal contains a plethora of Shiva Shrines, one of which, The Virupaksha Temple, a Shiva Shrine, that is still functioning. Both Aihole and Pattadakal were glorious, boasting the supreme intellectual capabilities of The Chalukya Empire from the earlier millennium. Having made the trip alone, I couldn’t resist to thoughts like transporting myself to the era of Chalukyas by some means.

Finally, I visited the Holy Shrine, Shri Shakambhari Shakti Peetham, at Cholachagudda, popularly known as Banashankari Temple that is nearby Badami to seek the blessings of the Goddess. And just before I left Badami on my last day, I came back to The Agastya Lake and sat for two hours doing nothing but watching the lake and the rock mountain, subdued by Mother Nature’s mesmerizing sights.

Hampi and Badami,

They Are Truly a Lifetime Experience!

And I Am Tempted To Wish That,

I Shall Breathe My Last Breath

In One Of These Ancient Places.

Checkout MaddiE's Badami Gallery Here.

Checkout The MTR Episode on Badami in MWM Channel

MaddiE's Badami Gallery

MaddiE's Note:

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