Pattadakal - The Crown Of Chalukyan Architecture


Pattadakal has a place of immense importance in the Chalukyan heritage. An erstwhile capital from the 6th through the 8th centuries, the place retained its importance for the Chalukyas as a centre for coronation of the new kings. The temples of Pattadakal do deserve this distinction, owing to a no-holds-barred approach of the Chalukyas to provide for the best of architects and sculptures, resulting in some stunning artefacts. The design of the temple-spires borrows elements from the northern 'Nagara' style and the southern 'Dravidian' style, even fusing the two on one occasion.

The temples of Pattadakal in one view

Pattadakal has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1987.


Some Technicalities Seen At Pattadakal

There are a total of nine main temples in the Pattadakal complex. In the order one comes across these temples, these are: Kadasiddheshwara, Jambuling, Galaganatha, Chandrashekhara, Sangameshwara, Kashivishveshwara, Mallikarjuna, Virupaksha and Papanatha. Quite a lot of minor shrines are dispersed through the campus for good measure. All shrines are east-facing. The Virupaksha Temple is the best of the lot, though Mallikarjuna Temple is striking too.

 Some minor shrines seen from the Galaganatha Temple ...
... the Kashivishweshwara Temple can also be seen

All temples have a rectangular floor-plan with the main sanctum being square, topped by a beautiful spire. The spires can be used to broadly classify the temples as 'Nagara' style or 'Dravidian style'. The Nagara style can be differentiated by a spire featuring a convexity, with a steep slope that ever so gently merges with the base structure, with vertical lines extending all the way down.The Dravidian spires are more pyramidal with a stepped slope featuring beautiful sculptures at all levels. The porch is usually broad and well covered, apart from the main sanctum.

The Jambuling Temple features Nagara spire

The Sangameshwara Temple has a Dravidian spire

The Papanatha Temple combines both styles. A convex spire merges to a more Dravidian broad base.

The rear side of the Papanatha Temple

Lets start the photo-blog now!


Kadasiddheshwara Temple

A small Nagara style temple


Galaganatha Temple

Larger Nagara temple with ambulation path surrounding the sanctum


Sangameshwara Temple

A beautiful Dravidian temple this ...

Pillars of the outer hall

The Sangameshwara shiv-ling ... not in active worship


Kashivishveshwara Temple

Another Nagara temple ... the best of the lot from this style

Shiava stories are sculpted on the pillars

Shiv-Parvati wedding


Mallikarjuna Temple

 The old entrance to this temple with the Nandi

 A side-view of this Dravidian Temple

 The inner hall of the temple features elaborate pillars

Scenes from Ramayana

Some more stills

Samudra manthan scenes

The ceiling panels are well carved

Looking up the intricate spire and outer walls
The rear of the Mallikarjuna Temple is striking!


Virupaksha Temple

The entrance to the Virupaksha complex from the river side.

The entry to the Virupaksha Temple
The gatekeeper

Sculptures related to Vishnu

 The Dravidian glory from the side

 Ceiling artwork

 Shiva-Parvati stories

Ramayana stories - this one relates to Suparnakha episode

Mahabharatha too - Bhishma's death-bed of arrows

Some more intricacy on the pillars

 The nandi gets a dedicated shrine here

A parting shot of the fabulous temple as seen from the Mallikarjuna Temple


Papanatha Temple

The temple has Nagara spire on a Dravidian floor plan

Ceiling artwork is amazing here

And ... we met cats here


Getting In and Around

Pattadakal has to be approached through its sister Chalukyan site of Badami. Bus service from Badami is intermittent; the best frequency being one every 30mins. The distance is about 22kms, so other modes of transport are not easily available. Also, being a tourist place of importance, many tourist-only taxis or rickshaws can be rented from Badami. Negotiate on the fare. Always.

A significant pointer w.r.t. the location is the river Malaprabha. The three major Chalukyan sites - Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole - lie on this river; as does Saundatti further downstream. Pattadakal lies on the northern bank.

Pattadakal on the map

There's not much getting around to do at Pattadakal, since all temples - nine in all - are located in a single complex. The entry charges are Rs.30 per person. Electric carts are available for senior citizens. Washrooms are available near the first of the temples. The staff, as observed, does not like complaints and GoPros. Enjoy!


Signing Off

Pattadakal is a World Heritage Site. More than that, it is an integral part of our Indian heritage; it symbolizes the highest achievement of an empire that at its peak, controlled most of Indian peninsula from the rivers Narmada in the north to Cauvery in the south. This is a place to come and marvel at ... get lost for a while admiring the art of old masters ... Hat's off!


Other Places on the Karnataka Chalukyan Trail

Lakkundi || Gadag || Hooli || Badami (Monuments and Caves) || Aihole


© KP On The Go!


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