Discovering the Chalukyas temples in Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole
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For our first week-end out of Bangalore since a long time, we decided to go to Badami in North Karnaraka. This is a heritage place founded during the Chalukyas time, a ruling dynasty in India during the 6th century. This place is unfairly little known, maybe due to its “remoteness” (it’s more that 500 kms away from Bangalore for example). From Bangalore, we had no choice than taking the night train, which was an opportunity to test it with our 6 months old baby.
Let’s avoid any suspense: our baby perfectly slept in the train. The question was more how to add one of us on the same bench… From Bangalore to Badami, we were in 1st class and it was only the 3 of us in the compartment, so there was plenty of space and no problem at all to share the bed with a baby. On our way back, we were in 2nd and we had the seats on the side in the corridor (for the connoisseurs!). Well we were very dubious about the capacity of the 40 cm wide bench to accommodate the two of us but finally the night went ok. So the test of the night train with a baby is definitely checked and approved! (now we have to test the night bus!).
Otherwise, Badami is a wonderful place, not only for its old monuments (some caves, which are fully carved temples from the 6th century) but also for the natural surroundings: caves are carved on a red cliff which dominates the city, a huge water tank and are facing an other cliff on which there are some more temples. The walk on this other cliff is as enjoyable as the one on the caves side.
We also went to visit Pattadakal and Aihole, 2 heritge sites full of temples, more impressive by their architecture than the ones in Badami, but the natural environment is less charming (in the middle of a village in a plain).
We also discovered a different rythme of travel, slower, adapted to our “Papu”(baby in Kanada). He is a magnet for locals during all our trips. What is surprising is that both men and women love babies (family is the core value in India) and everybody wants his picture with our “Papu”. It can be a bit overwhelming but still, it’s a great way to interact openly with locals who are very friendly as soon as they see him. So we’re not bored of this situation yet (neither does he, smiling to everybody!).
So our first test week-end in “backpacker but not too much” mode is validated and the adventure can go on!
For hotels (very limited options in this area) we slept at the Badami Court and the kindness of the people there made our stay excellent.