Badami: India is a country where history breathes. The country has many ancient cities that preserve its historical heritage. Karnataka’s Badami is one of the richest towns in terms of hoisting its historical significance. Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a Taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot. It was the regal capital of the mighty Badami Chalukyas from AD 540 to 757. Now it is shrunk into a few scenic square kilometers in terms of a tourist destination. But Badami still retains its majesty.
It is famous for its rock-cut structural temples. It is located in a ravine at the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Lake Agastya. The city has been selected as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of government of India.
The locale of its famous cave temples, made up of two giant sandstone hills that flank the placid water of the Lake Agastya paint a stark picture of earthy reds, muddy greens, and stone browns set against a sky of acrylic blue – burning an impression into the canvas of your mind.
Bright yellow sunflower fields, red-ochre sandstone outcrops and cobalt blue skies. The journey to the Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal belt is a painting in the primary colors. The road to the past is nothing short of spectacular.
Aihole has to be god’s collection of temple prototypes. Believed to be the cradle of Dravidian temple architecture, Aihole’s temple compendium spans styles and centuries, some as early as the 5th century – and some, like the Durga Temple, is built on a design that is seen nowhere else in the country.
The Badami Chalukyas first had their capital at Aihole before they moved to Badami and it’s justified in resting on its ancient laurels. For, Aihole has a lot of ancient laurels. Pattadakal, similarly, has a finger lodged in the book of time – when it was the place where kings were coronate.
A little away from Aihole, Pattadakal stands like an island of majesty – just like its name suggests: ‘Pattada Kallu’ translating into coronation stone. A complex of eight temples, each one commemorates a landmark event in the history of the Chalukyas, which in turn was one of south India’s most vibrant dynasties. The Malaprabha River flows by both Aihole and Pattadakal, a silent witness now as it was then.