Pattadakal Temple and Places to visit in Pattadakal
Pattadakal was the headquarters of the administrative unit of Kisukadu and the finds of excavations point to earlier inhabitation here dating from pre historic period. The world famous geographer Ptolemy (150 AD) has documented the town as Petri gal. About 22km northeast of Badami this great center of the Chalukyan architecture is located on the banks of the river Ghataprabha. This wonderful center is a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Pattadakal has a set of beautifully chiseled temples that display the successive development of southern Dravidian and northern Nagara style of temple architecture. Of all the temples, the 8-century Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna temples are the most important place in Pattadakal.
The temple car festivals at Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna temples in March/April attract thousands of devotees. An annual Pattadakal Dance Festival of classical dance in January draws many famous dance exponents from all over the country.
Outside the town of Pattadakal there is 9 century Jain Narayana, a huge basadi constructed in Rashtrakuta style. This has a sanctum, antechamber, navaranga, and a porch with huge elephants welcoming the visitors at the entrance. The excavation finds include a beautiful sculpture of a thirthankar standing in samabhanga indicating to the existence of an earlier temple belonging to an earlier temple belonging to pre Chalukyan regime.
On the Banks of river Ghataprabha, Pattadakal was the second capital of the Badami Chalukyas between 7-8 centuries and its set of beautifully chiseled temples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pattadakal reached its pinnacle of glory under the Chalukya kings and was mainly used for crowning and commemorating the rulers. It has a cluster of ten major temples at the foot of the hill, each displaying succession of southern Dravidian temple architecture style as well as nagara style of north. Temples with curvilinear towers contrast with square roofed and receding tiers temples.
The main Virupaksha Temple is the largest, built by Lokamahadevi, wife of Vikramaditya II to commemorate the victory of the Chalukya king over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram in the 8 century. A Shaivite temple, Virupaksha with its 3 storeyed vimana (tower) type exemplifies the Dravidian style of temple architecture. It has a sanctuary surrounded by passageways and houses a block stone lingam. A massive stone Nandi stands at the entrance and the temple's 16 massive square columns arranged in four rows are richly carved depicting episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The inner ceiling of the hall has a huge sculpture of Surya with his two consorts riding a chariot. The outside walls on the south face show scenes of Ravana lifting the Mount Kailsh, and Narasimha and Hiranya kashyap engaged in a battle. The northern face is elegantly engraved with the scene of Gajendra Moksha. Ganesha and Mahishasuramardini flank the sanctum doorway. The hall has the lattice stone windows.
The Mallikarjuna Temple built around 740AD is almost similar in design but slightly smaller in size and more worn. The inner walls of the temple are engraved with episodes from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharta. The three entrances in east, south and north have decorated pillars. The navaranga mandapa has two beautiful images of dwarapals and the 18 pillars depict scenes from the two epics. The annual festival here at this temple in March/April is quite famous.
The Papanatha Temple, about 500m south of the main enclosure with its delicately chiselled Ceilings and the 16 pillared main halls is another example of the synthesis of north and south temple architectural style. It has a mandapa, ante chamber and a sanctum with circumambulatory path. The ceiling has figures of Dikpals, narrative panels on the outer walls depict episodes from Kiratarjuneeya and the Ramayana, whereas the niches outside have images of Surya, Shiva and Vishnu.
Immediately at the entrance of the temple complex are the 8 century temples of Jambulinga and Kadasiddheshwara with beautiful images of Vishnu; Shiva and Parvati respectively. To their east is Galagantha Temple with curvilinear Shikaras (spires). Though partly ruined but the carved towers still survive. Dedicated to Shiva, on the outer walls of the sanctum, the platform has a scene of royal court, wrestling bout, Kubera, and other figures.
The Sangameshwara Temple dating from the reign of king Vijayaditya (696-737) is the most ancent temple in this complex. The main shrine has a lingam inside. The navaranga has 20 pillars in four rows and the outer walls of the sanctum have a jalandra with Ugra Narasimha and Nataraja.
Kashi Vishveshwara Temple
To the southwest is another 8 century nagara style Kashi Vishveshwara Temple with a Nandi in front of the porch and richly sculpted inside pillared hall. Temple complex timing 06.00 - 18.00.
About 127km away from Hubli, 130km from Bijapur, and 180km from Belgaum, Pattadakal is one of the most celebrated tourist centres of Karnataka.