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Visit group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka

Pattadakal and Aihole in Karnataka, India are historically famous as the cradle of Hindu temple architecture. The architectural skills that the sculptors learnt in Badami were then further polished in the monuments of Pattadakal and Aihole. Pattadakal, Aihole and Badami are not as well-known as its neighbour Hampi, and hence can be counted as offbeat destinations. All these towns can be visited as a weekend trip from nearby metros like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka

PATTADAKAL, KARNATAKA – INDIA:

Pattadakal is basically a group of temples located in a huge complex. All the temples in the complex are mostly dedicated to Hindu and Jain deities and date back to the 7th and 8th century CE. The group of monuments at Pattadakal were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 1987. They are of significant importance and are protected and managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Group of monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka

Location of Pattadakal, Karnataka, India:

Pattadakal town is located in the northern part of the Indian state of Karnataka, approximately 22 kilometres away from Badami, 136 kilometres from Hampi, and 13 kilometres from Aihole. The town lies in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, on the west bank of the River Malaprabha.


History of Pattadakal, Karnataka, India:

Pattadakal, meaning – a place of coronation, was used to coronate the Kings during the Chalukya dynasty. The town, along with nearby Badami and Aihole, became a place of cultural and religious importance in that era. It was during that time the temple complex was built in Pattadakal where the architectural styles from northern and southern India were fused.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Intricate stone carvings in a temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka

After the fall of Chalukya empire, the town was under the rule of several other kingdoms. In 13th Century, under the reign of Delhi Sultans, the town was raided and plundered, and several temples were destroyed and looted. The reign again changed hands from Sultanate to Vijayanagara empire to Adil Shah dynasty to Mughal empire to Maratha empire to Haider Ali to Tipu Sultan and finally to the British empire in the late 18th century.


Being ruled by such varied kingdoms and empires, Pattadakal temples today are an evidence of architectural art from all sorts of religions (including Islam, Hinduism and Jainism) and parts of India (north, central and south).


The group of monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka, India or Places to visit in Pattadakal:

Out of the plenty of temples in Pattadakal temple complex, 10 are of major significance – 9 are Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva and 1 is a Jain temple dedicated to a single Jina. All 10 temples are clustered together in one complex that is surrounded by gardens on all four sides. The ASI staff maintains the cleanliness of the entire complex and they have done a really great job at it.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Group of monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka

1. Virupaksha temple

This is the largest of all the temples at Pattadakal. It is built in Dravidian architectural site and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The intricate carvings on the interior and exterior walls of the temple depict images of Hindu deities like Narasimha, Nataraja, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi. It is said that the design and layout of the popular temple at Ellora Caves in Aurangabad is similar to that of Virupaksha temple of Pattadakal, Karnataka.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

2. Mallikarjuna temple

This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to be built around the same time as Virupaksha temple. Small shrines of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga can be found inside the Mallikarjuna temple. Sculptures of Lord Krishna can also be found in the carvings at the walls of this temple.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Mallikarjuna temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

3. Kashi Vishwanatha temple

This temple is a comparatively smaller amongst the temples at Pattadakal. This temple resembles the other temples except that it sits on a raised platform with carvings of animal and bird designs.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Kashi Vishwanatha temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

4. Jambulingeshwara temple

This temple highlights a beautiful sculpture of dancing Shiva and Parvati at the entrance. Jambulingeshwara is a small yet a beautiful temple built in north Indian style architecture.


5. Papanatha temple

This temple is noted for its Dravidian and Nagara style architecture. The temple is long with several pillars and lacks consistency in architecture and sculpture details. Papanatha temple has intricate carvings of deities, and decorated mantapas.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Papanatha temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

6. Sangameshwara temple

This temple has a square layout and is believed to be built between 720 and 733 CE. It is also believed that the Sangameshwara temple has been built over an existing older temple, that possibly dates back to 3rd century CE.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Sangameshwara temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

7. Chandrasekhara temple

This is a small temple without a towering ceiling. The walls of Chadrasekhara temple lack ornamentation and extensive carvings.


8. Kadasiddheshwara temple

Much of this temple is in ruins with damaged sculptures and eroded carvings. The Kadasiddheshwara temple is built in Nagara style architecture.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka
Kadasiddheshwara temple, Pattadakal - Karnataka

9. Galaganatha temple

This temple is believed to be used for ceremonial functions as it has several mandapas in its architecture. The Galaganatha Temple is however mostly in ruins now.

Group of monuments at Pattadakal and Aihole, Karnataka