Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. 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 Agastya lake. Badami has been selected as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
|• Total||10.9 km2 (4.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||586 m (1,923 ft)|
|• Density||2,400/km2 (6,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
The Puranas state the wicked asura Vatapi was killed by sage Agastya, and it refers to this area as Vatapi and Agastya Tirtha. In the Ramayana, Agastya and Lopamudra are described as living in Dandaka forest, on the southern slopes of Vindhya mountains. Rama praises Agastya as the one who can do what gods find impossible. He is described as the sage who used his Dharma powers to kill demons Vatapi and Ilwala after they had jointly misled and destroyed 9,000 men.
In the Mahabharata, sage Agastya is described in the epic as a sage with enormous powers of ingestion and digestion. To kill men, asura Vatapi used to become a goat and his brother Ilvala would cook him. Then, Vatapi would recollect in the stomach and tear himself out from the inside of the victim, killing the victim. When Agastya arrives, Ilvala offers the goat again. He kills Vatapi by digesting the meal as soon as he ate, giving Vatapi no time to self organize. Agastya, in the legends of Mahabharata, kills the demons Vatapi and Ilvala much the same mythical way as in the Ramayana.
Badami Chalukyas was founded in 540 AD by Pulakeshin I (535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas is generally regarded as the founder of the Early Chalukya line. An inscription record of this king engraved on a boulder in Badami records the fortification of the hill above "Vatapi" in 544. Pulakeshin's choice of this location for his capital was no doubt dedicated by strategic considerations since Badami is protected on three sides by rugged sandstone cliffs. His sons Kirtivarman I (567-598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha (598-610 AD) constructed the cave temples.Kirtivarman I strengthened Vatapi and had three sons Pulakeshin II, Vishnuvardhana and Buddhavarasa, who at his death were minors, thus making them ineligible to rule, so Kirtivarman I's brother Mangalesha took the throne and tried to establish rule, only to be killed by Pulakeshin II who ruled between 610 A.D to 642 A.D. Vatapi was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka, Maharashtra, parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. The greatest among them was Pulakeshin II (610-642 AD) who defeated many kings including the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.
Badami has eighteen inscriptions, among them some inscriptions are important. The first Sanskrit inscription in old Kannada script, on a hillock dates back to 543 CE, from the period of Pulakeshin I (Vallabheswara), the second is the 578 CE cave inscription of Mangalesha in Kannada language and script and the third is the Kappe Arabhatta records, the earliest available Kannada poetry in tripadi (three line) metre. one inscription near the Bhuthanatha temple also has inscriptions dating back to the 12th century in Jain rock-cut temple dedicated to the Tirtankara Adinatha.
The main language is Kannada. The local population wears traditional Indian cotton wear.
Badami is located at  It has an average elevation of 586 metres (1922 ft). It is located at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills and surrounds Agastya tirtha water reservoir on the three other sides. The total area of the town is 10.3 square kilometers..
It is located 30 kilometers from Bagalkot,128 kilometers from Bijapur, 132 kilometers from Hubli, 46 kilometers from Aihole, another ancient town, and 589 kilometers from Bangalore, the state capital.
The temperature ranges from minimum 23 degrees to 45 degrees during summer and from 15 to 29 degrees in winter. The rainfall of the area is 50 centimeters. Best time to visit is between low humid season from November and March.
The climate has made it a safe haven for the monkeys of south India. Tourists often flock to Badami for the opportunity to see monkeys interact in a natural environment.
The main economy is centered around karnataka tourism.
The nearest airport is Belgaum about 150 kilometers away. It is on the Hubli - Solapur rail route, and the rail station is 5 kilometers from the town. It is also connected by road to Hubli and Bijapur. Badami is reachable from Bengalooru by a 12-hour bus ride, or by a direct train "Solapur Gol Gumbaz Exp (train no. 16535)" or with a combination of an overnight train journey from Bangalore to Hospet followed by a short bus ride from Hospet to Badami. Another train journey could be from Bangalore to Hubli (8–9 hours) and then a bus ride to Badami (3 hours). Badami is around 130 km from Hubli. Local transport is by Rickshaws, tongas and city buses.
Badami is around 135 km from Hospet via NH367 and NH13. A car journey would take around 2 hours and 30 minutes from Hospet to Badami. Go to http://www.badamionline.com/ for information on reaching badami by Road, by Train and by Air.
As of 2001 India census, Badami had a population of 25,851. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Badami has an average literacy rate of 64.8%, comparable to the national average of 65%; with 59% of the males and 41% of females literate. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Badami's red sand stone cliffs are popular amongst local and international climbers. This is great location for free sport climbing and bouldering. The cliffs have horizontal crack systems, similar to Gunks. There are over 150 bolted routes and multiple routes for free climbing. Gerhard Schaar, a German Climber and Pranesh Manchaiah, a local climber from Bangalore, were instrumental in setting up the sport routes driving a project called 'Bolts for Bangalore'.National Rock Climbing center, Manager Rajendra Hasabavi in Banshankari Road by General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure, Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, Govt.of Karnataka is conducting various rock climbing and Adventure camps for Youth and School Children.