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Things To Do In Badami
If you love history and all that is quintessentially antique and regal, then Badami is for you. The solitude of the place that is surrounded by temples upon temples and vast expanses of shrubby landscape and rounded hills is a historian’s and photographers’ delight. The Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole-Mahakuta circuit are the destinations which should be on your itinerary. The sites are quite close by and each of them has its own charm, capable of arousing your interest. There are many places to see and things to be done amid the soft red sandstone rocks of Badami and its neighbourhood. Read on to find out which of them are worth your time.
Most of the places around Badami, Pattadakal or Aihole can be trekked to. The cave temples have steps to climb up and most of the temples like the Lower, Upper Shivalaya, Malegitti temple and the Badami Fort can be reached by climbing up the hills, through wide footpaths or squeezing through narrow gaps in the canyons, where a vehicle cannot reach. Badami is best seen on foot, armed with water bottles and a camera. If you trek up the hill to the Badami Fort, check out the conical brick granaries and Tipu Sultan’s treasure house among other ancient things that are waiting to be seen. The view of the lake and the caves from the top of the hills, especially at day break or sun set, is divine!
Almost everything about Badami is photographic. Most of the temples are carved and cut through the rocks and boulders, and the sunlight filtering in through the trees falling on the uneven temple floors give a serene dream-like atmosphere. Don’t miss out photographing the fields of yellow sunflowers and cotton and the sunset over the Agasthya Thirtha.
At the foothills of the North hill is the Archaeological Museum of Badami. The museum has four galleries along with an open air gallery displaying hero stones, carvings and inscriptions dating from the 6th to the 16th century. There are intricately carved sculptures of Hindu Gods and narrative panels of the Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata and the popular stories of Krishna. The Museum is open from 10.00 am-5.00 pm daily, except Fridays.
Badami is home to some of the best and amazing hills of climbable rocks in India and offers you the thrill of climbing, rappelling and bouldering up the rocky sandstone plateaus. Your sweat and toil up the hillside is rewarded with a beautiful panoramic vision of the landscape beneath your feet. The hills have natural horizontal cracks that make clambering up easier. The Government of Karnataka encourages youth camps for rock climbing in Badami. The mammoth sandstone hills of Badami had World rock climbing champion Killian Fischhuber from Austria clambering up its summit.
Ranganatha Swamy Temple
About 1 km from Badami, as you travel towards Banashankari Amma Temple, you’ll find a fleet of stairs leading uphill. Once on top, there’s a small open air temple called Ranganatha swamy Gudi. The temple that is surrounded by mammoth boulders on all sides has quaint naturally formed pathways in between the rocks. There are a couple of underground small caves beneath some of the boulders with a natural fresh water spring inside.
Agasthya Thirtha is an ancient man-made reservoir that is a significant part of Badami’s landscape. The lake, which is said to have curative properties, is surrounded by the northern and southern hills of Badami. Tourists gather at the lake to watch the multihued lights cast by the setting sun on pristine waters. Take a break from your busy day, sit by the banks of the lake with the hoary hills towering overhead, and give yourself the chance to do nothing.
North Karnataka’s staple food has jowar and bhajra rotis, a variety of vegetables and lentils. When you visit the Mahakuta temple or even while at Pattadakal, don’t miss out the eateries under the banyan trees, set up by the locals for the pilgrims who visit the temples. You do get the most delicious rotis with raw salads, curried lentils or mashed green gram, Kaara Podi (spiced garlic powder), with a pot of buttery curd. All of this is homemade food made by the villagers to be sold by the temples. You will find a good number of restaurants close to the Badami Bus stand that serve traditional South Indian veggie meals, idli and dosa, along with North Indian Thali meals, Chinese and European food too.
Enjoy the Festivals
With the umpteen numbers of temples that the Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole circuit has, there are bound to be festivals galore. The Banashankari Amma Jatre is held in January along with a village fair and Radhotsava. The streets around the temple bustle with activity during the ten days of festivities, with a lot of kitchen ware and farm equipment sold at the fair. Temporary theatres are set up for movies and dramas, which you can watch along with the village folk. Pattadakal holds a classical dance festival in January and celebrates the Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple Festival in March and April.