An overnight train from Bangalore deposited us in Badami. After checking into hotel Sanman, five of us(including 3 of our friends,Vinita, Shruti and Rasika) got into a maxi-auto rickshaw and went to the Banashankari temple, housing the deity Shakambhari, an incarnation of goddess Parvati.
A 33 km ride on the bumpy roads in the heat of the morning, past dry shrub vegetation took us to Aihole. During the Chalukyan period, Aihole was the experimental ground for different styles of temple construction. Today, a lot of these temples still stand majestically amidst an otherwise quiet village. The mid day heat reflected off the rock used in the temples made the place warmer than what it actually was. But, stepping into the doors of each of the temples transferred us back to those royal times despite the musty smell of bats. The durga temple, resembling the Indian Parliament was the highlight of the Aihole complex.
On entering the compounded area in Pattadakal, one is immediately taken aback by the range of monuments located one next to the other, unlike the temple dotted hills and plains of aihole. This well maintained monument has a bright green colored lawn with trees marking the boundaries, providing a wonderful contrast with the brown stone of the temple wall. Built by the chalukyas too, the place continued holding importance under the Rashtrakutas as well. If an overdose of temples requires you to have a break, one does not have to look beyond the simple north Karnataka meals served right outside the temple.
The day ends with a ride back to Badami via the rock-cut cave temples. A steep climb up a flight of stairs on the red rock, showed us temples that were cut out from these rocks. Resembling the Petra in Jordan, these cave temples were built sometime between the 6th and 8th century. Having climbed to such a high vantage point over the rock cut temples and well Orr the town of Badami, we enjoyed a serene setting of the sun turning everything around us a beautiful red.