Kan: ಬಾದಾಮಿ bādāmi

‘Vatapi’  [Vatapi,Vatapipura]  Town, Karnataka (Kar)

From Skt/Hin: vadāma(m)/bādāmi  ‘almond (tree’)/’almond-coloured’; or Vatapi, the asura or demon.

Badami was the regional capital of the Chalukya kingdom in the 6-8thC and Vatapipura as a name first appears in 6thC cave inscriptions.

Badami is famous for its Hindu and Jain rock-cut cave temples dating from the 6thC with important historical inscriptions. The caves are carved into a horseshoe pattern of sandstone cliffs overlooking the green Agastya Lake.

The name Badami/Vatapi possibly comes from the Sanskrit/Hindi words for ‘almond’, a reference to the pale ruddy brown colour of these sandstone ridges [Article: The Almond-hued Hillocks – Badami Cliffs].

But there is a myth too:

In the Ramayana and Mahabharata the asura Vatapi used to transform himself into a goat to trap and consume his unsuspecting guests. His brother Ilvala would invite a hungry traveller to dinner. He would then cook the goat and serve it to the guest. Vatapi would then re-form himself in the unfortunate victim’s stomach and tear himself from the inside out.

The sage Agastya thwarted Vatapi by digesting the goat before he had time to re-constitute himself. Badami was the supposed location for this last feast and the town was named after the villain and its lake after the hero.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Karnataka place names.


Badami Town, Caves and Agastya Lake

Badami Town, Caves and Agastya Lake          Rakhee