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Deccan Odyssey - December 2016



Badami

Next morning we visited two other World Heritage sites, Pattadakal and Aihole, before we drove onto Badami for a stay of 2 nights. Pattadakai and Aihole are best known for their groups of temples such as Virupaksha Temple, Mailikarjuna Temple, Papanatha Temple, Durga Temple etc. all with beautiful carvings of figures on the walls of the temples. It is so remarkable that most of the carvings remain undamaged dating back to 7th and 8th Centuries AD. They are extraordinary. Another memory which lingers on long after our visit.

We arrived at Badami in the afternoon and checked in at the Badami Court hotel. This is a modest hotel with a small swimming pool in rural Badami. The hotel is simple and basic but clean and comfortable. It is worth a night or two for what we about to see in Badami tomorrow.

Our tour guide advised us to start as early as possible for the Badami Caves, around eight o'clock. We were there by 8:30 and by the time we arrived at the caves I could see why we should have started even earlier as crowds of tourists and school children had already gathered at the gates for the short climb to the cave temples.

The Badami Caves comprise four caves, all carved out of the soft sandstone of the cliffs in the late 6th to 7th centuries. The first temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the second and third are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the fourth is a Jain temple. The cave temples also bear exquisite carvings, sculptures, beautiful murals and also old Kannada script.

After the visit to the four caves we came back down to the entrance square and began a walk through local streets near the lakeside and up the hill to the ruins of North Fort. This is a very pleasant hour-long walk through paths and lanes of local houses then uphill in the quiet environment of the huge rocks like an alien landscape until reaching the top with the wonderful view of the town, lake and the Badami Caves on the other side. There is also a lovely temple on the hill.

We came down to the beautiful man-made lake towards the Bhutanatha Temple perched by the waterside. Women bring their clothes here to wash in the water of the lake. A short walk from here brouight us to the fifth Badami cave temple, This is a Buddhist temple in a natural cave which can only be entered by crawling on all-fours as the entrance is very low and narrow. We did not enter.

Today we also inspected two hotels, the countryside resort, Krishna Heritage, and the city centre Clarks Inn. The Heritage hotel is built among lush gardens with a swimming pool and is a kilometer or so out of Badami, while the Clarks Inn is right at the centre of town amongst shops and near the markets of Badami. This evening we returned to the lake temple to watch sunset with many others, both locals and visitors.

Next morning we began the long drive to Goa.

Third incarnation of Lord Vishnu
Third Incarnation of Lord Vishnu
    Houses at Badami
Houses at Badami
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Aihole
Aihole
Pattadakal.
Pattadakal
Badami
Badami
North Fort
North Fort
Bhutanatha Temple
Bhutanatha Temple