Famous for its sandstone cave temples, the Badami caves are located at Badami in Bagalkot District of Karnataka. The place was formerly known as Vatapi, served as the capital of the early Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. An example of Indian rock-cut architecture, the place lies at the mouth of a ravine, the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Agastya lake. The town is known for its ancient cave temples carved out of the sandstone hills.
The Cave temples of Badami are composed of four caves, all carved out of the soft Badami sandstone on a hill cliff believed to be constructed in the late 6th to 7th centuries.
Each of the cave temples has an entrance or the verandah with stone columns and brackets, a columned mandapa forming the main hall and a small square shrine or the sanctum sanctorum cut deep into the cave. The temple caves represent different religious sects. Cave 1 is dedicated to god Shiva, Caves 2 and 3 dedicated to god Vishnu, and Cave 4 dedicated to Mahavira and is a Jain temple. The first three represent the Vedic faith while the fourth cave is the only Jain temple at Badami. There is also the fifth cave temple in Badami – Buddhist temple in natural cave
The cave temples also bear exquisite carvings, sculptures and beautiful murals. Important part of historical heritage at Badami cave temples are inscriptions in old Kannada script.
The other Temples at Badami include the three temples on the North Hill of which Malegitti-Shivalaya is the oldest temple and the finest in Badami with a Dravidian tower. The other temples are the Jambhulinga temple, situated in the town, and the Agasthya Tirtha, temples of Goddess Yellamma, Mallikarjuna, Datttreya and Virupaksha. The Bhuthanatha group of temples are most important in Badami.
Badami Fort to the east of the Bhuthnatha temple, atop a cliff right opposite the Badami cave temples houses the Badami museum and has a steep climb with many view points and is dotted with little shrines.