Pattadakal (ಪಟ್ಟದಕಲ್ಲು) is a protected world Heritage Site and it is a glorious example of Badami Chalukyan architecture and sculpture. Badamai, Aihole and Pattadakal constitute a triumvirate of temple complexes that were built during the seventh and eighth centuries and Pattadakal is deemed to be the culmination of the experiments that started in Aihole. Pattadakal region is significant for archaeological reasons also.
Pattadakal is located in Bagalakot
district of north Karnataka at a distance of about 514 Kilometers from
Sangamaeshvara, Kadasiddeshvara, Jambulingeshvara, Galaganatha, Kashivishveshvara, Mallikarjuna, Virupaksha, Papanatha and a Jaina temple are the most important temples of Pattadakal. Chandrshekhara temple near the Virupaksha shrine is built in a simple style even though it seems to have greater claims for antiquity.
Sangameshvara temple built by Chalukya Vijayaditya Satyashraya (696-733
A.D.) in the Dravidian style is the most ancient among the important temples of
Pattadakal. It bears some resemblance to the Pallava style of architecture also. This temple contains a
garbhagudi, (Sanctum Sanctorum) antarala and a meeting hall. (Sabhamantap)
The main vimana of the Sangamesvara temple is of three storeys.The statues of
which was earlier known as Lokeshvara or Lokapaleshvara is the biggest and most beautiful temple in Pattadakal. This temple was built during the regime of
Vikramaditya-2 (733-745 A.D.) by Loka Mahadevi, one of his queens. This architecture of this
temple was inspired by Kailasanatha
The main temple stands at a distance of 5 M. from the Nandi Mantap. The meeting hall (sabhamantap) and the mukha mantaps that surround the temple contain a number of sculpted images both on the walls and the ceiling. Some pf them constitute a series depicting stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The carving of the chariot of the sun moving in clouds is worthy of special mention. Some of them draw their inspiration from nature and a few others depict contemporary social life.
The whole of the
interior of this temple is embellished with elegant carvings and aesthetically
modeled sculptures. Episodes from the Ramayana (e.g. abduction of Sita) Mahabharata (e.g. Bhishma
lying in a bed of arrows), Bhagavata (e.g.
Virupaksha temple holds a special place among the temples of Karnataka because it is a classic example of Chalukyan architecture and sculpture.
Mallikarjuna temple (740 A.D.) built by Trailokya Devi, another wife of Vijayaditya is located towards the north east of the Virupaksha temple and it is unique because it has a linga inside the garbha gudi but a sculpture of Garudavahana Vishnu on the door that leads to the sabhamantap. This temple is very similar to the Virupaksha temple in most details. However, this temple has a hemi-spherical roof (sikhara) as against the square roof of the Virupaksha temple. The carvings on the walls narrate sories from the Panchatantra and Harivamsha as well as the traditional stories of Ramayana and Mahbharata.
The Galaganatha temple located in the northern direction of the Virupaksha shrine was built in the eighth century and the garbha gudi houses a Shivalinga made of black stone installed much later in the 11th or 12th century. This temple is a typical example of a finely evolved rekha-nagara prasada. It has on plan a sanctum (garbhagriha) housing a linga and a vestibule (antarala), both surrounded by a closed circumambulatory path (pradakshinapatha), a hall (sabha- mandapa) and an entrance porch (mukhamandapa). Of these mandapas, only the plinth is extant now..... The ornate doorframe of the outer chamber with five shakhas depicts the river goddesses at the base and dancing Siva on the lintel. (Website of the A.S.I.)
Jambulingeshvara temple also is built in the Nagara Rekha Praasaada style and is a Shiva temple. The niches in the outer walls of the garbha gudi contain the sculptures of Vishnu, Lakuleesha and Ardhanareeshvara. This temple does not have a circumlocutory path. (Pradakshinapatha)
Papanatha temple which is on the banks of the river is relatively well preserved. It contains many exquisitely sculpted images. Architecturally this is a combination of the Dravidian style and the Nagara Rekha style. This temple documents the names of its sculptors. This appears to have been built is more than one phase.
Kadasiddheshvara temple which is near by the Jambulinga shrine is similar to the former in style and
size. The statues of Shiva and Parvathi seated on a Nandi and a statue of Brahma are the unique features of
this temple. Kasi Visweswara
temple too has a naagarapraasaada shikhara. The idols of eight dikpaalakas,
The Jaina temple which stands away from the cluster of other temples on the road to Badami is also built in the Dravidian style is attributed to the ninth century. This three-tiered temple with the two lower stories being functional is the last in the temple series at Pattadakal. Certain features exhibited in this temple became in the courses of time essential elements of the temples of the Kalyani Chalukyas. Excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India in the premises of the temple has brought to light the remains of a large temple complex built in bricks and also a beautiful sculpture of Tirthankara standing in sama-bhanga indicating the existence of a temple, probably belonging to the pre or beginning of the early Chalukyan rule. (Website of the A.S.I.)
Almost all the temples of Pattadakal have some common features. They are characterized by grace and delicate details. The ceiling panels of the navagrahas, dikpalas, the dancing Nataraja, the wall niches containing Lingodbhava, Ardhanarisvara, Tripurari, Varahavishnu, Trivikrama bear ample testimony to the sculptor's skill as well as the cult worship in vogue. The narrative relief illustrating certain episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and Panchatantra fitted well with these grand religious edifices.
Pattadakal is also known for its archaeological
findings proving the fact that it has seen human inhabitation right from the
pre historic times. Stone weapons belonging to the Old Stone Age are found on
the banks of the
Some thirty inscriptions are found in Pattadakal. They are inscribed on the pillars, walls, ceilings and the pedestals of the statues. By and large they inform us about the sculptors who have built the temples as also the donations that were made to the temples at various points of time.
Pattadakal is inarguably one of the most cherished destinations of a lay man as well as an expert in the fields of architecture and sculpture.
References and Links:
by George Michell, 2002,