Badami…the capital of Vatapi Chalukyan Kings

By Viplav Sahu

Caves, Lake and the Life of People: Badami, a living Heritage City, has many faces one can explore here every day. The life in the town changes significantly from morning to evening.

Badami is located in the northern Karnataka. The region is characterised by a hilly terrain comprising of steep cliffs and valleys. The present town of Badami which was also known as Vatapi in ancient times was the capital of the Early Chalukyas in 6th to 8th century AD.

The place has a combination of both structural rock architecture and rock-cut architecture. The presence of hills on three sides and a big water tank makes this place sacred and thus, was the seat of many rulers from Early Chalukya, Later Chalukya, Vijaynagara, Adil Shahi and Maratha rulers. Traces of occupation by these dynasties can be found here.

There is a place nearby known as Shidlaphadi where remains of prehistoric cave paintings have been found which date back to the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE according to the ASI Museum in Badami. The four rock-cut caves of Badami are magnificently carved out of red sandstone and impress visitors with craftsmanship of the era. The Augusthya Teertha Tank which is approximately 12 acres in area is the central point of significance in this area as everything faces the lake. The hill towards the South has a fort built by Haider Ali which is now in ruins and the North Hill has a Chalukyan Fort. The houses of the town which are said to be built on the plinth of the original town of Vatapi retain their vernacular character.

One can find different moods in the town which dramatically change from morning to evening where the caves capture imagination during the day, by evening the attention is stolen by the sunset and the valley formed by hills.

About the author:

Viplav Sahu is a Graduate of Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture, UPTU, Lucknow. He has a keen interest in Architectural Photography especially of historical places and cities. Follow his pursuits on People and Places


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