Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal using only public transport! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal using only public transport!

Wanted to visit Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal for a long time. Finally, I decided to visit during April 7,8, 9 long weekend. My original plan was to drive from Udupi to Badami- that would be 400 kms one way, 800 kms round trip, costing around 7000 INR in petrol and toll and if I drive all night, next day work would have been impacted. Thus after much deliberation I decided to ditch the car and take a bus. Booked KSRTC Non AC Sleeper from Udupi to Hubballi- around 700 INR per person, or 2800 INR for 2 people for up & down. 

Below is a quick summary of what we spent and key experiences & observations. Detailed experience follows

Total cost & comparison with own car


By Bus (for 2 people)

By own Car


Udupi-Badami: 800 kms round trip

700 INR per person Non AC sleeper to Hubli, 123 INR Karnataka Sarige to Badami

Total 3300 for 2 pax return

8 INR per km

6400 for Fuel

600 toll

7000 INR total

Bus was 50% cheaper, could sleep whole night instead of driving & go to work next day

Day 01: Pattadakal, Aihole, Banashankari

70 kms

Badami-Pattadakal 56 for 2 people

Pattadakal-Aihole 30 Rs for 2 people

Aihole-Badami 66 for 2 people

Badami-Banashankari- 20 Rs one way per person share auto

= 240 INR total

560 for Fuel+140 parking etc

700 INR

Lost 2 hours waiting for bus in Aihole

Day 02- Alamatti, Koodala Sangama, Badami

175 kms approx

310 INR for train for 2 people (sleeper)

Sangam cross-Hunagunda 56 for 2

Alamatti to Sangam cross- 102

Share auto in Sangam- 60 INR total for 2 people

Hunagunda Badami 130 for 2

Total 650 INR

1400 in fuel

300 in toll & parking

1700 total

Public transport is 50% cheaper

Day 03: Mahakoota

30 kms total

Badami-Mahakoota cross 24 INR bus

4.4 kms walking

Return 200 INR to auto till Mahakoota cross + 40 Rs to share auto

264 Rupees total

240 INR

No bus to Mahakoota, hence bit expensive due to auto hire

Return to Hubballi

Badami-Hubballi & Hubballi Udupi Already accounted

240 INR couple of auto expense within Hubballi

About 15 kms, 120 INR total


INR 4700

INR 9760

If car is full with 4-5 people it will break even

As you can see, we could finish the trip in less than half of what it would have costed if we had gone in our own car.

  • We were two people- if we were 4 or 5 car expense would have been cheaper
  • If you hire a taxi factor 2-3 times the cost as taxi charges could be 15-20 INR per km
  • We probably lost about half a day total due to public transport- if we had gone in car we could have explored few other places in this time- ex: Huligemmana Kolla or Adiyogi Mandira

Key observations exploring Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal using buses


How to Manage

Where to stay?

Badami is the only town with decent hotels. Aihole, Pattadakal etc are villages. Stay in Badami. KSTDC Mayura Chalukya Badami is where we stayed

Visiting Aihole

About 35 kms from Badami, buses are available but poor frequency

Go first early in the morning and aim to return by 12.30 to Pattadakal. There were no return buses to Badami between 12.30 to 3PM

Visiting Pattadakal

23 kms, frequent buses available (once every 30-45 mins)

Plan on the way back from Aihole

Visiting Mahakoota

No buses till Mahakoota

Option 1: Hire an auto from Badami- may ask 300-350 INR one way, 500-600 INR return

Option 2: Take bus to Mahakoota cross, need to walk 4.4 kms from here till temple. If lucky you may get some auto

Option 3: Skip Mahakoota- except a pond nothing so exciting there

Visiting Banashankari

5 kms. Share autos available from Badami- 20 INR per person one way. Buses are also available for even less

Visiting Badami cave, fort etc

Walk from Badami town (a couple of kms through narrow local lanes). No bus or auto needed if you are ok to walk, hire if still needed for a few hundred rupees

Visiting Alamatti

Multiple Trains available (Badami train station is 5 kms from town)

Bus: Take bus to Bagalakote and another bus to Alamatti

Koodala Sangama

Badami to Hunagund + Hunagund to Sangam Cross+ bus/share auto.

Direct bus maybe available but poor frequency.

Some possible FAQs

How is the hygiene?

Manageable. Not the best or cleanest-do expect some filth, garbage here there. There are 1000s of pigs co existing with humans peacefully in Badami town. Bus stand and other places do have some trash, you can expect monkey poop on rocks and various places- so always need to be on alert

What about public toilets?

  • Pattadakal monument had decent public toilet
  • KSTDC Mayura Chalukya has decent toilets- you can use it if you are visiting for lunch/dinner
  • There is are two pay and use toilets near Badami bus stand- one inside bus stand is not good, one outside, few hundred meters away is decent.
  • Aihole had no public toilets, or at least I couldn’t spot anything around.
  • Mahakoota has toilets

Are there AC buses in Badami?

Unfortunately No. All are Karnataka Sarige buses with open windows. It is a good opportunity for KSRTC to introduce AC buses for a slightly higher price covering all spots of tourist interest-Badami-Badami railway station-Mahakoota-Huligemmana Kolla-Pattadakal-Aihole-Banashankari-Badami.

How was the crowd?

When we visited in April it was manageable. We got seats to sit on almost all the buses we took. But this may not hold all time. You should be prepared to stand if seats are not vacant.

If not a bus, what is the next option? Auto? Taxi?

Share autos are available on select routes- like Banashankari, towards Pattadakal etc. These shared autos take 10 to 20 INR per person depending on distance. You can hire an auto all for yourself from Badami for your travel needs. Auto drivers can take you around to all tourist places. But their quote will start from around 50 INR per km onwards. If you are 3-4 people and if you are OK to spend a bit more, you can negotiate with a few auto drivers, draft a plan and head out.

What about Taxi rental?

Badami doesn’t have a taxi stand. There are no tourist taxis you can hire in Badami. You’ll have to summon one from Hubballi I guess or check with your hotel to arrange a taxi for you. Most tourists hire autos to take them around.

December 2023, we rented a taxi from Bagalakote to take us to Aihole, Pattadakal, Huligemmana Kolla, Mahakoota, Banashankari, Badami for about 2000 INR.

Can we pay online?

No. Bus conductors only accept cash. Long distance buses you can book online but not local buses.

Our experience exploring Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal using buses

We reached Hubballi by bus from Udupi sleeping overnight. Next day, early in the morning we took a bus towards Badami- had to take a bus to Kunanoor cross, wait for an hour and get into another bus to Badami.

Upon reaching Badami we went to KSTDC Mayura Chalukya hotel where we had booked, it was too early to check in so we dropped our bags and headed out to Badami Bus station.

We wanted to go to Aihole first but the bus was not available. Thus we decided to go to Pattadakal first and plan the rest later.

Once done with Pattadakal we had to wait for about 30 minutes to get a bus to Aihole. We reached by around 10 AM

We missed the 12.30 PM bus back to Badami. I was hoping there should be another bus in about 30 minutes- we climbed a hill, explored a bit more and came back to wait for next bus. But we were told next bus is only at 2.30 PM. So we had no choice but to wait. The bus actually came at 3 PM and took us to Badami by 4 or 4.15 PM. 

Once back in Badami we took a share auto to visit Banashankari temple.

Back to hotel and end of Day 01

Day 02 we went to Alamatti by train. Had booked a 5.30 AM Golgumbaz express- it came about 30 minutes later, reached Alamatti by about 7.20 AM- Alamatti dam was 2 kms from train station, so we decided to walk. Got a good view of Alamatti dam from the train. Almatti dam is not open to visitors, only a few gardens are open to public, they too open after 9, 9.30 AM. We didn’t see a point waiting for another hour or two for the parks to open up- saw whatever we could see from outside and proceeded to Koodala Sangama.

Koodala Sangama has limited bus connectivity from the main road- Sangam cross. We took a share auto, visited the main temple, an art gallery etc, had lunch at Kamat Lokaruchi and came back to main road, from where we took a bus to Hunagund and then onwards to Badami. Reached Badami by 4 PM, as we had a couple of hours so we went up to the Badami fort area and explored it till sunset.

Day 03: we went up Badami cave temples and then took a bus to Mahakoota cross. From there we didn’t get any transportation to Mahakoota temple, so we walked 4.4 kms.

After visiting the pond and temple in Mahakoota, we either had to walk back or hire an auto- after deliberating a bit we took the auto to save some energy and time, had to pay 200 INR for 4.4 kms. From Mahakoota cross another share auto took us to Badami for 20 INR per person.

Back in Badami, we took bags from hotel Mayura Chalukya, took a bus to Hubballi, visited Railway museum, world’s longest railway platform, Siddharuda swami math, met a friend and back to new bus stand for our night bus to Udupi.

Detailed blog posts coming soon on each place we visited. Standby.

Related: KSTDC Mayura Chalukya Review * Mahakoota temple near Badami *


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