Badami : 8 hours drive (to and fro) for 2 hours of sightseeing ⁉️
It was on a Sunday that we decided to head out to Badami, a four hour drive from our hotel. While Hampi lies in the Bellary district of Karnataka, Badami is located in another district called Bagalkot.
Badami, formerly called Vatapi, was the capital of the Chalukyas, an empire of south India in the 6th century. Besides reading about them in the history books in school, we also learnt about them when we visited Mahabalipuram earlier 👉Magical monuments of Mahabalipuram✨. Mahabalipuram was a famed city of the Pallavas, another kingdom of south India with their capital at Kanchipuram. Both the kingdoms locked horns and their stories are intertwined.
Imagine driving all the way down and finding the tourist places closed !? But the hotel staff assured that it is open. And in good faith we set off by 9:30 am to Badami.
We drove through the Bellary district. The roads were empty on Sunday morning. There were elections happening in the local villages. The men were seen wearing dhotis and Nehru caps, there were ladies wearing sequinned ghagra choli, head covered, waiting to vote. The road and the the lining vegetation was red. The scenery was surreal !! The first time you see the red, it looks magical. Beyond thd vicinity of the leaves were green, but the vegetation was scanty.
Red dust from the iron ore mining !! The locals complain about health problems and crop destruction due to the dust. The pollution and damage to the environment due to mining is another major issue.
We were on the Sandur road bypass and heading to NH 50, There were portions of untarred stretches. The truck drivers didn’t seem to mind the rocky stretch, they drove with good speed raising dust clouds.
Finally on fresh tarmac, NH 50 is a great road, straight and wide. We saw the walls of the Tungabhadra dam at a distance. Impressive !!
11:30 am now and we were driving along SHs and NHs in succession, deep into the Karnataka hinterland. The fields on either side were being cultivated, watermelon, corn and even rice. The roads were mostly good, few bad stretches, but empty. We missed the heavy traffic and the company. A glimpse of the village life was like looking into another world. Hard life !!
Are we going to be there any time soon !? We were going to see the famous rock cut temples of Badami. “The caves must be really amazing !?” said the kid sarcastically. Fours hours one way !!
By 1:00 pm we reached Badami. Being a holiday, there was a crowd. But we managed to get a parking space and met our guide for the tour, Basavaraj. He started by pointing to the red sandstone cliffs saying they resemble almonds or badam (in Hindi) and hence the name Badami!? I cannot vouch for this info, but it seemed fitting enough.
8 hours drive (to and fro) without a spare tyre in place. We always had the worst case scenario in our heads. But we carried on anyway !! It was worth it😀
More on magnificent cave temples of Badami in the next post !! Leaving you with more photos of the trip.
Take care !!