The archaeological grandeur of the quiet villages of Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole belie the intrepid rural charm they exude today. Located in the Bagalkot district of northern Karnataka in south India, Badami is known for its exquisite rock-cut cave temples, red sandstone cliffs and an emerald green artificial lake Agasthya. Large tracts of verdant lush farmland surround Badami and the caves boast of some of India’s finest rock cut architecture. The site, too which goes by the same name extends east into a gorge between two red sandstone hills and a crumbling ancient fort complex tops them both. A smattering of idyllic rustic houses are scattered at the feet of the sandstone hills and complete with pesky monkeys, inquisitive folks, colourful village markets, jingling bells of bullocks ploughing the fields, rows of palm groves with feathery frond like leaves and miles of large, blooming sunflowers, Badami is charmingly atmospheric. Narrow village roads meander through them all and occasional outcrops of violet wildflower covered sandstone hills make it even more lovelier.

A few years ago, I had visited Badami with a travel blogger friend, Jatin Adlakha from https://wanderingjatin.com/ and it had been the gorgeous cave temples overlooking the lake which had drawn me to the dusty little southern village. The month had been June and the Indian summer had been at its peak, when the two of us had ridden all the way from Hyderabad to Badami. It had been a long, hot ride through the heart of intrepid southern India and we had reached our destination in around 7 hours. We had been exhausted and dehydrated by the time our destination had arrived and our aching bodies had screamed for rest. The hot noon sun had made the ride even more difficult than it was already and we had been nearly ready to give up, when glimpses of Badami showed up between the hills in front of us. From our elevated position, the whole stretch of green and brown farmland had seemed to disappear into a soft golden sunset and palm trees had cast long shadows on them. Small hills had broken the flat tapestry of nature and endless fields of sunflowers had smiled at us. It had been a sight which had taken our breaths away and we had rushed towards the temple town with eager, excited hearts.

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Badami beckons

Badami had still been 30 minutes away and we had ridden past the the nearby sites of Aihole and Pattadakal to reach our destination quickly. It had been nearly sunset by the time dusty Badami had arrived and being a dinner plate sized place, had not offered much options of accommodations. A single noisy and dusty main road had bifurcated the village like an eye sore and beyond backstreets had radiated into the sandstone hills. The village had meandered along them and the old white washed houses with carved wooden doorways and little courtyards had lain interspersed amidst ancient ruins. It had been a very atmospheric, small village where everybody knows everybody and the entire area shuts down at around 8 pm; a kind of a place where the days can be spent exploring its rural prettiness with some occasional lazing and unwinding, noon is meant for siestas and sunsets are the noisiest times of the day. Nightfall ushers in early dinner and some mundane TV watching before hitting the bed for an early morning start. At Badami, we had also followed this routine and our brief stay had been filled with action packed days and relaxed, restful nights. In the upcoming posts I will be presenting a collection of photo essays of our Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole road trip and the series begins with some sunflowers, sandstone hills and green fields.

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An ancient powerful empire

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Full of power

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Glory and

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Pompousness and

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Beauty

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Badami had been an

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Incredible experience

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The road trip

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Which was designed

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To explore the sites of

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Pattadakal

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Aihole and

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Badami

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Had taken us

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Down the intrepid lane

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Into the beating heart

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Of rural India

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It had been a

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Roadtrip to remember

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