Temples of Pattadakal: ‘Enchanting Beauty and Magnificence’

Pattadakal is located on the left bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district and is 22 km from Badami, 10kms from Aihole and 400kms from Hyderabad. It was once the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Karnataka between the 7th and 8th centuries is the cluster of ten beautifully carved temples which represents the high point of an eclectic art which achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern(Nagara) and southern(Dravidian) India.UNESCO in 1987 included Pattadakal in its list of World Heritage sites.

Sunset at pattadakal

Beautiful Sunset at the Pattadakal group of Monuments.

The sculptural art of these temples is marked by classiness of the Chalukyan dynasty. Pattadakal emerges as a heavenly site with its superb architectural marvels in a picture-perfect lane.

An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. One masterpiece from the group stands out – the Temple of Virupaksha.

Pattadakal group of temples (8)

Sangameshwara temple, Papanatha temple and Virupaksha temple Complex, Pattadakal.

Chalukyan rulers are great patrons because of them, their artisans did experiments and innovated a new dimension in temple architecture. . It is in their period that transition from rock-cut medium to structural temples took place.

Pattadakal painting

Artist at work, Pattadakal, Karnataka.

Out of all, four temples are built in Dravidian style, four in Nagara style and Papanatha Temple illustrates a perfect blend of both styles of architecture.The important ones are discussed below in detail.

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha temple is the largest and grandest of all temples in Pattadakal built in 8th Century, built by Queen Lokamahadevi (Trilokya mahadevi)in 745 to commemorate her husband’s victory (Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas of Kanchi. This temple has a sanctum, an inner passage, pillared navaranga and triple entrances from the north, east and the south porches. It has a massive gateway in front from the east and a small gate behind. There are inscriptions and imposing stone carved figures inside the stone mantapa. It has a beautiful Nandi Mandapam with a large Nandi statue gazing in the direction of the Lord. The Kailasanatha temple at Ellora was built based on the model of Virupaksha temple.

Pattadakal Virupaksha temple

Papanatha and Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal.

Mallikarjuna Temple

Mallikarjuna Temple is a smaller version of the Virupaksha temple and was built by Vikramadiyta’s second queen Trilokyamahadevi in 745. This temple is also was constructed by Rani Trilokyamahadevi to celebrate the victory (by Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas. The Mallikarjuna temple was built immediately after and close to the Virupaksha temple (It has a similar plan), with a 4 storeyed vimana with a circular griva and shikhara. Mallikarjuna temple in Dravidian style. It is in close proximity with the Sanghameshvara temple in design, construction and sculpture, but smaller in size. The porch has a beautiful image of Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu and two female idols. Here are two grand images on both the sides of the entrance to the navaranga. The eighteen pillars of the navaranga have figures pertaining to Ramayana, Mahabharatha and those representing social conditions of those days. On the ceiling are beautiful figures of Gajalakshmi and Shiva-Parvathi with Nandi. On the external walls are sculptures like Shiva, Nandi, Lakulisha, Nataraja, etc.The temple is celebrated for its artistic sculptures.

Papanatha Temple

Papanatha Temple is the only temple that has been designed on both north and south Indian styles of architecture. Containing a Nagara styled Vimanam, the temple dates back to 680 AD. Initially, the construction was started with Nagara style, but later it was switched to Dravidian style. The temple is famous for its sculptures that are imbibed from the scenes of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Pattadakal temples (2)

Papanatha Temple Gopura,Pattadakal.

Jain Temple

This Temple was constructed by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta. Built in the Dravidian style, the temple comprises really beautiful sculptures. Perhaps, it was erected either by King Amoghavarsha I or his son Krishna II in the 9th century.

Kasivisvesvara temple

It was the last to be built in early Chalukya style. This temple was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century.

Kashi Visveswara temple & Galaganatha temple, Pattadakal.

Kashivisveswara and Galaganatha temples, Pattadakal.

Sangamesvara Temple

Perhaps the oldest temple in the group, Sangameshvara Temple was built by King Vijayaditya Satyashreya during 697 -733 AD. This incomplete temple appeals with its colossal structure.

Pattadakal (2)

Sangameshwara Temple (was called Vijayewara) is The oldest temple in Pattadakal, built by Chalukya King Vijayaditya Satyashraya ( 696-733), it has no sukanasika.

Tips from my perspective:

  • It is open from Sunrise to Sunset.
  • Entrance Fee to the Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 10 per head. Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head.
  • There are no Hotels available in Pattadakal. If you are planning to stay, the best option is to go to Badami where you can find a lot of options.
  • Aihole is 10kms and Badami is 22kms away from Pattadakal.

5 thoughts on “Temples of Pattadakal: ‘Enchanting Beauty and Magnificence’

  1. Pingback: Aihole: The Cradle of the Ancient Hindu Temple Architecture | My Life

  2. The temple is impressive, but I am more impressed by those artists painting capturing its beauty on canvas. Beautiful pictures and an informative post as usual 🙂

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