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Located on the banks of the Malaprabha River, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the richness of Chalukyan architecture during the 7th and 8th centuries and is renowned for its intricately chiselled temples. The temples in Pattadakal bear testimony to the richness and timeless splendour of the Chalukyan architecture. It has a cluster of 10 major temples, which showcase some striking architectural features. The world-famous geographer Ptolemy (150 AD) has documented the town as “Perti gal”. It was even used as the ceremonial centre where kings were crowned and commemorated. Pattadakal has temple architecture from Dravidian, Aryan and a mixture of both styles in its temple complex; probably making it the only one of its kind in India. There is a sculpture gallery maintained by Archeological Survey of India within the Pattadakal temple complex.
Temples in Pattadakal
The temple was built by Queen Loka Mahadevi, wife of King Vikramaditya II after the successful military campaigns in Kancheepuram. The temple has a vast quadrangle surrounded by small cells or shrines. It has a massive gateway and a small gate behind. At the entrance is a Nandimantapa supported by large pillars. The great hall of the temple has a roof that rests on 16 massive square columns arranged in 4 rows. These columns have excellently wrought episodes from the Puranas. It is believed that the Kailasa Temple at Ellora was built on the model of the Virupaksha Temple.
It was originally called the Trailokeswara Maha Saila Prasada and built around 740 AD by Queen Trailokya Mahadevi. Architecturally, almost like a twin of Virupaksha Temple, the Mallikarjuna temple was built for the same purpose, at the same time as Virupaksha temple which stands beside it. The inner walls are engraved with episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Sangameshwara Temple, built during the reign of King Vijayaditya, is the earliest temple. It has a garbha griha with a Dravida vimana. The outer walls of the sanctum have sculptures of UgraNarasimha and Nataraja.
The Galaganatha Temple is a dilapidated temple of the 8th Century AD and has a northern style curvilinear shikhara. The shikhara has all amalaka motifs with a finial atop. This is a Shiva temple with a Shivalinga in black basalt.
Kashi Visweshwara Temple
This is another temple with a curvilinear shikhara. The inner ceiling of the Kashi Visweshwara temple has the figures of Shiva, Parvathi and child Skanda surrounded by the Dikpalas.
The Papanatha Temple mentioned as ‘Mukteshwara’, seems to have been completed around 740 AD. It has a frontal mantapa, sabhamantapa, ante-chamber and a squarish garbhagriha. The architecture of this temple is a mixture of Dravida and Nagara styles.
This is a small temple behind the Galaganatha Temple with a curvilinear shikara. Its outer walls have figures of Vishnu, Ardhanarishwara and Lakulisha.
This is similar in design to the Jambulinga Temple. The entrance lintel has beautiful images of Shiva and Parvathi seated on a Nandi, flanked by Brahma and Vishnu.
Outside the town is a huge Jain Basadi built in the 9th century AD. This temple has been constructed in Rashtrakuta style with huge elephants welcoming the visitors at the entrance.
Pattadakal Dance Festival: In February under the sponsorship of Govt of Karnataka, the Chalukyan stronghold of Pattadakal, a UNESCO world heritage site, is the venue for the Pattadakal Dance Festival (also known as the Chalukya Utsava) with performers from all over the world congregating here.
Places to visit near Pattadakal
A visit to Pattadakal is often clubbed with a visit to Aihole (14 km from Aihole) and Badami (22 km from Pattadakal)
How to reach Pattadakal
Pattadakal is 445 km from Bengaluru. Hubballi is the nearest airport (130 km from Pattadakal). Badami is the nearest railway station (17 km from Pattadakal) Pattadakal has good bus service and road connectivity from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka.
Places to stay near Pattadakal
Multiple hotels and resorts are available in Badami town, 22 km away.