Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I (535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas. His sons Kirthivarman (567-598 AD) and his brother Mangalesha I (598-610 AD) constructed the cave temples. The greatest among them was Pulakeshi II (610-642 AD) who defeated many kings including Pallava king Mahendra Verman I and extended the kingdom.
There is a small station in Badami which is located 5 km from the center. Trains from Bangalore, Hubli ,Gadag, Bagalkote, Bijapur, Solapur and other cities stop there regularly. From the station, there are many rickshaws to reach the center. You can also wait a bus which goes to the bus stand. It will cost you only Rs. 3.
From Mumbai there is a train CSMT Mumbai - Gadag super fast express ( Train numbers 11139/11140) which runs six days a week. This train stops at Bagalkot which is at 45 Kilometre from Badami and also district Headquarters. Even though trains passes through Badami there is no official stop at present.
The NWKRTC bus stand is located at the centre of the town. There are Karnataka government undertaking NWKRTC buses to and from Dharwad,Hubli, Gadag, Vijayapura (Bijapur), Bangalore and Hospet.Buses are run to these destinations on daily basis and at regular intervals. Check the timetable at NWKRTC web site.
Hubli Airport is at distance of 122 Kilometre and nearest to Badami town. Hubli airport has daily flights to Bengaluru and Mumbai.
From the centre of town, All the main historical sites are reachable by walk. However, there are plenty of rickshaws which would be happy to transport you. The best way to explore this small town is by walk.
Best way of getting around is hire an passenger auto for a day trip including caves, museum, Bhootnatha temples, fort, Pattadkal and Aihole. Rates as on June 2011; Auto charges will be Rupees 500-750 from Badami railway station ideal for a group of 3-4 people to the centre of Badami town. Tata ace Magic (auto) 800-1000 comfortable for a group of 10 available at the opposite town bus stand. Charges does not include parking charges,(caves=20/-;Pattadkal=10/-;Aihole=20/-) also it does not include Banashankari and Mahakuta temples.
Auto charges to just cover Badami alongwith Banashankari temple is 400Rs as of March 2013 for however many people fitting in the auto. On an average, 6-8 people fit into it. Takes around 3-4 hours.Ideal time needed to cover Badami tourist spots only is 6 hours.If you add not so popular spots you need a whole day. Visit the caves early morning or evening to click great pictures.
You can go to Pattadakal( 22 Kilometre from Badami ) and Aihole( 10 Kilometre from Pattadakal ) which will take around eight hours for travel and visit. Auto ( three wheelers ) charge around Rupees 750 for this trip excluding entry fee.
Almost all the main attractions of Badami are located around the Agasythya Tank.
You can also try local Khanavali which serve local traditional vegetarian meal.
Tea and Buttermilk available at most of restaurants at Badami. These are sometimes available at roadside shacks.
There are many monkeys in Badami, some of them especially the gray langurs can be aggressive. B.S.N.L ( Cellone ) cellular or mobile service network is available here. Carry battery bank for your cellular phones and other electronic gadgets as electricity supply can be erratic sometimes. Summer months can be hot,Keep hydrated yourself by drinking butter milk and water. While hiring autorickshaws for sight seeing do negotiate before the trip. Do not plan trip to tourist places at night as some interior roads may be isolated and dark without street lights.