Badami Cave Temples - Visit the Astonishing Rock-cut in 4 Caves

If stones could speak, the Badami caves would narrate incredible life-changing stories of the bygone era.

Located in - Badami, Bagalkot District, Karnataka
Built-in- During 6th and 7th centuries
Famous attractions- Exquisite carvings and sculptures
Dedicated to - Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Mahavira

The Badami Cave Temples are excellent artifacts to visit for people who are in love with history and ancient mythological stories. The architectural expansion of this place is unique, and it was observed by the Chalukyas. These rock-cut architectures have amazed every traveler of Badami, and continue to do so till now. The four cave temples in Badami depict very strong and brilliant carvings of the Gods from the Hindu Pantheons. Each cave has a different timeline in which it was built and if you are planning to visit this exquisite location, then here are what you will be able to witness.

Along with some brief information, you will also find a few travel tips to help you get around in these historically and culturally rick cave temples.

Cave 1

The first cave is the oldest cave out of the four- it was built between 6th -7th century AD.

The entrance to the cave will give you a glimpse of the incredible carvings further. The first cave is dedicated to the Lord Shiva, and you will get to see some of the ancient and magnificent sculptures of:
•    The Nataraja avatar of Shiva
•    Mahishasura Mardini Statue of Durga
•    Nagaraja carvings on the ceiling
•    Harihara avatar of shiva
•    Kartikeya on his peacock
•    Ardhanarishvara sculpture

These carvings are a wonder to look at. The depictions are very discrete and mesmerizing, and for people who love exploring historic destinations, these cave temples are the perfect place to start.


Cave 2

The second cave was built in the 6th century AD.

This cave is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The magnificent sculpture depicted as the Trivikrama shows the incarnation of the Vishnu. This cave is 65 steps away from the first cave, and you will get to see the depictions of:
•    Trivikrama avatar of Vishnu
•    The swastika on the ceiling
•    Varaha avatar of Vishnu

You will also be able to find a lot of interesting back stories related to the sculptures on the walls, and mythological figures on the ceiling.


Cave 3

The third Badami cave was built in the late 6th century and the early 7th century.

This cave temple is the biggest out of the three and contains the ancient depictions of Chalukya king Mangalesa. Unlike the other two caves, which were depicted in the Dravidian style, the third cave is more towards the south Karnataka Dravidian and North Karnataka Nagara style. It has a long veranda with an intense depiction of:
•    Trivikrama
•    Vishnu on sheshnag
•    Narasimha & Harihara
•    Varaha
•    Pillar statues
•    Ceiling with frescos

These intricate ancient sculptures on the wall have an interesting back story. Let’s take you across the fourth and the last cave of the series.


Cave 4

The fourth cave was built around the 6th – 7th century AD.

This cave is said to be the newest cave in the series, and the only Jain temple in the complex. The walls of this cave are adorned with sculptures, and it’s also the highest cave in the series. The area is much smaller as compared to the other three caves but it doesn’t limit the beauty. You will be able to explore the sculptures of:
•    Lord Bahubali
•    Lord Adinath
•    Statue of Lord Mahavira
•    Lord Parshvanath with his Sheshnag
•    24 Tirthankaras of Jainism

Do read the little details mentioned near the sculptures because they contain some of the most interesting ancient tales. These four Badami Caves are the most treasured places in this city, and it receives a huge number of tourists and other visitors every month. Before you move on and plan your trip to this incredible place. Here are some travel tips that you can follow to get things in perspective.


Travel Tips for Badami Caves

1.    It is highly suggested for you to wear your trekking shoes, because are stairs to the caves are quite uneven.
2.    Carry a torch and a fully charged cell phone because it does get dark in a few corners inside the cave and you will require the flashlight to look at the carvings.
3.    You will find many guides asking to assist you inside the cave, and hiring them is completely your decision.
4.    Keep an entire day in hand because you would want to spend some time glancing at the beauty of each carving.

  Temple Timings: 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM.
  Ticket Fee: INR 25 for Indian nationals and INR 300 for foreigners
  Photography: Allowed

Pro tip- It is suggested to visit the Badami caves in the afternoon, when the sun reflects the rays through the caves and the entire Indian art is incredibly visible for you to explore.

The carvings on these caves depict the artistic heritage of India. Due to the rich architecture and sculpture, these caves will spellbind you with its beauty. This location is just three hours’ drive from Hampi and attracts a large number of tourists every month due to its historical, architectural, and religious significance. If you are willing to buy some souvenirs from Badami, then trying your hands on some dry fruits, and fruits. You can also go for the Badami specialties - Ilkal sarees named after the place Ilkal. This saree is also popularly known as Newari sarees in Ilkal. Overall, this place has an incredible history and mythological stories to entertain and amaze visitors at the same time.

The Badami Caves are covered with classic adornments and paintings on the ceilings. You will also be amazed at the centerpiece which is the four-armed Brahman on a swan. This place has a lotus medallion where offerings were given. To bring the point home, this trip to the historic Badami caves will hand over a lot of brilliant memories; don’t forget to carry your camera to capture the beauty of the artistic carvings. Follow the tips to have a planned and safe cave visit.


Other Famous Attractions in Karnataka:

Bangalore Palace, Lal Bagh in Bangalore

Chennakeshava Temple in Belur