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Pattadakal, Galaganatha Temple

Pattadakal, Galaganatha Temple

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The Temples of Pattadakal

The history of Pattadakal goes back to a time when it was called Kisuvolal, a valley of red soil. It even found a mention in Ptolemy’s Geography in the 2nd century CE. Presently Pattadakal is located in the district of Bagalkot, state of Karnataka, India. The Chalukyas of Badami (ancient Vatapi) or Early Chalukyas (543-753 CE) built a large complex of temples for royal commemoration and coronation in Pattadakal. This complex is on the left bank of the Malaprabha River which runs further north to meet the river Krishna. It was accorded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 1987.

Pattadakal literally means ‘coronation stone’ and bears testimony to the later phase of evolution of the distinctive Early Chalukyan architecture. The gestation phase of this development which took place in Aihole, Badami (the ancient capital), Alampur, and Mahakuta finds its culmination here. It is in the last few decades, during the successive reigns of Vijayaditya (696-733 CE), Vikramaditya II (733-746 CE) and Kirtivarman II (746-753 CE), that several temples were gradually constructed in this fertile valley. A Jain shrine was constructed much later, after the collapse of the empire by their successor Rashtrakuta dynasty (6th-10th centuries CE) in the 9th century CE.


The basic plan of a temple runs thus: the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) opens to an antarala (vestibule) and houses the murti (enshrined image) on a pitha (pedestal). An expansive pillared mandapa (hall) adjoins the antarala. A shikhara (superstructure) rises on top of the garbha griha and contains an amalaka (a ribbed stone) with a kalash (pot with mango leaves and a coconut) at its finial. The vimana then comprises both the garbha grihaand shikhara.

Temples built here are all dedicated to Shiva and face east. However, depiction of religious motifs through free-standing sculptures and reliefs is not limited to Shaivism but recruits images generously from the Hindu pantheon. Other than the nine Shaiva temples in the compound, there is one Jain temple located almost a kilometre to the west dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar, Parsvanatha.


The epigraphy reveals this to have been built by Queen Loka Mahadevi (originally named as Lokeswara) after the successful military campaigns of King Vikramaditya II against the Pallavas (4th-9th centuries CE). In ground plan it resembles the Kailasnatha temple of Kanchipuram, citadel of the Pallavas, but in stone it is a realisation of the fully mature Early Chalukyan architecture in all its glory.

A square garbha griha, with an ambulatory path surrounding it, is connected to the antarala. Two small shrines are laterally placed to the antarala, one for Ganesha and the other for Mahisasurmardini. Three porches from the east, north and south open up to an expansive mandapa. Further east, a separate Nandi mandapa is placed on a plinth. The whole temple is surrounded by prakara (enclosure) walls that are provided with subsidiary shrines on its inner side. Only a handful of these remain out of the original 32. The magnificently built Dravida shikhara with a well-preserved sukanasa (‘nose,’ arched projection) on the front is one of the hallmarks of the temple. The superstructure is three-storied and topped by a four-sided amalaka with a kalash at its finial.

The temple walls are divided into projections and recesses. Sculptures of Harihara, Narasimha, Bhairava, Lakulisha adorn the Devakoshthas (niches) on sanctum walls. Recesses have filigree windows. The temple interior is covered with friezes depicting stories of the abduction of Sita, Bhishma lying on a bed of arrows and Krishna lifting the Govardhan Mountain among other narratives from ancient texts. Many inscriptions have been found engraved in different parts of the temple, some of which also name the architect(s) involved in building the structure.


It was originally called the Trailokeswara temple in honour of the Queen Trailokya Mahadevi. Almost like a twin, the Mallikarjuna temple was built for the same purpose, at the same time as Virupaksha temple which stands beside it. There are only a few noticeable differences between these two, one of them being a hemispherical amalaka as opposed to a four-sided one, and a parapet devoid of certain architectural elements such as kuta (square), sala (oblong) etc. that correspond to the projections and recesses below.

The shrines, lateral to the antarala, are sadly missing the images of their respective deities. Prakara (walls) too are largely destroyed. Tales from the puranas (religious texts) and epics carved inside the temple include sculptures of Mahisasurmardini, samudra manthan, Narasimha fighting Hiranyakashipu, the slaying of Mareecha etc. The niches on temple walls are also gracefully decorated.


This temple was built in 720 CE by Vijayaditya and originally named as the Vijayeswara temple. The garbha griha typically houses a lingum (phallus symbol) and there are sub-shrines on either side of the antarala. To the east of the mandapa, an image of the bull Nandi (vahana or ‘mount’ of Shiva) is supported on a small plinth.

The temple itself is built on a high plinth consisting of five mouldings decorated with animal and floral motifs. On the temple walls, niches bearing sculptures of different avatars of Vishnu and Shiva alternate with beautifully designed windows. Below the kapota (eave), a row of wonderfully carved round-bodied figures are placed as if the whole load of the roof above is being held by them. The shikhara is two-tiered and topped by a four-sided amalakawith a kalash.


This modest structure was constructed sometime during the middle to late 7th century CE. It attests to the still evolving Early Chalukyan architecture with its shikhara being developed along the northern style (rekha nagara) of curvilinear profile and a simple sukanasaprojecting from the superstructure at the front, above the antarala. The sukanasa depicts an image of a dancing Shiva with Parvati as a shallow relief chaitya (prayer hall) arch. The Devakoshthas houses images of Ardhanariswar, Harihara and Shiva on the north, west, and south sides respectively.

The rectangular mandapa might have had a mukha mandapa (porch) at the front as suggested by the plinth, with usual decorative moulds. The figures of Shiva and Parvati grace the lintel of the door to the garbha griha with carvings of Brahma and Vishnu on either side.


Its ground plan and period of construction are both comparable to the Kadasiddheswara temple mentioned before. The square garbha griha houses a lingum on a pitha and opens to the antarala at front which further expands to a mandapa. A sukanasa projects from the sikhara (built in northern style in three diminishing stages) at the front. The small Nandi mandapa to the east is in a ruinous state with the crouching image of Nandi all but destroyed. A minutely detailed frieze of swans runs below the cornice of the temple wall all along. The moulded plinth is decorated with figures of Kudu, birds and other ornamental elements.


This temple, one of the last to be built at the site around 750 CE, possesses an exquisitely developed superstructure in the northern style as adopted by Early Chalukyan architects. It has been largely preserved with the amalaka and kalash at the top save for the partially damaged sukanasa at the front.

The pradakshinapatha (passage for circumambulation) is closed on three sides but the large open space atop the plinth in front of the temple suggests the regrettable loss of the mandapa to the ravages of time. The plinth with three mouldings is luxuriously decorated with playful figures among other common motifs. Stories from Panchatantra and Shiva slaying Andhakasura from the puranas are variously depicted. The entrance to the sanctum is flanked by River Goddesses on both sides with the lintel being carved with a Nataraja.


This relatively small structure is placed between the Sangameswara and Galganatha temples. There is no superstructure on top of the garbha griha which follows the tradition of enshrining a lingum on a pitha. A Devakoshtha is designed on both the north and south walls of the sanctum. Dwarpalas (door keeper) grace either side of the entrance door to the shrine.


Located to the south of Virupaksha temple, it boasts of a vimana of the northern style with an elaborately carved sukanasa at front. Lamentably, both the amalaka and kalash are missing. It is the largest temple in the compound in the rekha nagara (northern) style and seems to have undergone additions and modifications outside those of the original plan. It is possible that the temple, in the beginning, consisted of the typical composition consisting of a sanctum, a rectangular mandapa and a separate Nandi mandapa. Later modification(s) aimed to enlarge the existing mandapa and incorporate an enclosed circumambulatory path around the sanctum. This was extended in such a way that the once separate Nandi mandapanow became a part of it. A finely built Nandi figure now graces the passage at the entrance of the mandapa.

Only one of the dwarpalas now survives at the entrance of the mandapa. Pillars and pilasters inside the hall are resplendently covered with figures in tribhanga mudra (thrice-bent pose), foliage motifs and other elements. Images of Shiva and Parvati, Anantasayana Vishnu surrounded by Dikpalas, Nagaraja, Gajalakshmi are carved on the ceiling while narrative panels depicting episodes from Kirtarjuniya, Ramayana and other ancient texts adorn the walls. The façade of the garbha griha is beautifully decorated with a Garuda on the lintel and decorative pilasters on either side, accompanied by gracefully sculpted figures of Ganga & Jamuna.


This is probably the last temple built in this compound, datable to the middle of the 8th century CE. It showcases the wonderfully developed style of rekha nagara shikhara rising in five stages, unfortunately the amalaka and kalash are missing. A well-preserved sukanasaadorns the front of the shikhara with an image of Uma-Maheswara carved within a chaityaarch. The whole shikhara surface is designed in a mesh-like manner.

In plan, the temple follows the general pattern of Early Chalukyan architecture as evidenced in other temples of this location. Sculptures of Ardhanariswara and Kalabhairaba grace the northern side of mandapa wall. The walls are also decorated with paired pilasters supporting the pediments of the elaborately relieved chaitya arches. Stories from Shiva and Bhagavat puranas are also a delight to behold. An exquisitely prepared ceiling panel that lies at the center of the mandapa depicts Shiva, Parvati holding Kartikeya, and Nandi. Beyond the mandapa, further east a small Nandi mandapa, now largely ruined, is placed.


A monolithic stone pillar bearing inscription stands in front of the Mallikarjuna temple. The inscription is in Siddhamatrika and Kannada – Tamil characters of 8th century CE. It starts with invocations of Shiva and Hara Gauri and refers to the reigns of Kings Vijayaditya and Vikramaditya II.


Locally named the Jain Narayana temple, it was constructed much later during the rule of Rashtrakuta dynasty in 9th century CE. Though built a century after the temple complex and under a different ruler, it follows the basic pattern which was developed during the Early Chalukyan era.

It is a three-storied temple with the two lower stories still functional. The square garbhagriha houses an image of Parsvanatha. The adjoining antarala runs into a mandapa and finally a beautifully pillared mukha mandapa graces the visitor. A circumambulatory path, though with collapsed walls, is also present. The superstructure is built in a southern vimanastyle with a four-sided amalaka at top. The plinth is decorated with triple mouldings.

The projections and recesses of the mandapa walls contain images of Jina in various postures among other figures. The pillars of the porch are partially lathe turned, and the doorway has on either side an elephant with its rider. A large figure of Makara (crocodile) in florid detail marks the entrance to the garbha griha.

The enduring achievement of Early Chalukyan reign in the field of architecture set the stage for future generations to develop their own vocabulary around certain basic attributes. In Pattadakal, for instance, the astonishing evolution that temple architecture underwent is made visible by means of a bewildering variety of structural elements in use only a few metres away from each other. And yet, it represents the culmination of the movement. After well over a millennium, it takes on a new character, that of an intermediate stage that found its continuity and elaboration in later years through the Western Chalukyas (973 CE – 1189 CE) and especially Hoysala Emperors (1026 CE – 1343 CE) who broke new ground in this field.

Pattadakal History In Hindi –

भारतीय पुरातत्व सर्वेक्षण के अनुसार पत्तदकल की स्थापना 7 वीं और 8 वीं शताब्दी के समय में चालुक्य वंश के समय में की गई थी। पत्तदकल का अर्थ होता है की राज्याभिषेक का स्थान इस स्थान का इस्तेमाल चालुक्य वंश के राजाओ के समय में राज्याभिषेक समारोह का आयोजन इस स्थान पर किया जाता था। पत्तदकल में राज्याभिषेक करने का मुख्य कारण यह था की यह स्थान पवित्र माना जाता था।

पत्तदकल प्राचीन ऐतिहासिक स्थल अलग – अलग राजाओ – महाराजाओ और राजवंशो के शासन का गवाह बना है। जिसमे चालुक्यों , संगमावंश , मुग़ल साम्राज्य जैसे शामिल है।

Galaganatha Temple

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Galaganatha Temple

The Galaganatha Group of Temples is located in Aihole. It is on the banks of River Malaprabha in Karnataka. The temple is historically renowned and has over a hundred ancient temples all over the city. The temples are built in the Chalukyan style of architecture. High levels of architectural and sculptural skills of medieval India are rooted here. There are two prominent groups of temples in Aihole including Galaganatha Group of Temples and Kontigudi Group of Temples. Galaganatha Group has 38 small shrines of which only the Galaganatha Temple is intact. The rest are in ruins.

About The Temple

The gateway at the entrance to the Galaganatha Temple Group is noteworthy. Pillars are embellished with the pot and the foliage motif and the lintel is sculpted with foliated makaras. In Hindu mythology, makara, a mythical creature which is a water monster, is the vahana or vehicle of Ganga and Varuna. It is also the insignia of love god Kamadeva. The temples have a curvilinear shikara or spire about the Garba Griha or sanctum sanctorum, and images of the deities of Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance to the shrine. This is a typical feature of Chalukyan architecture. The Galaganatha Temple enshrining Shiva as a presiding deity. The huge temple is east facing and situated along River Tungabhadra. There is a huge Shiva Linga in a closed hall here which is known as Sparsha Linga. The basement of the temple is unusually pyramidal and there is a huge open hall. The gopura or tower is embellished with plain architectural elements but the wall panels at the back of the hall are adorned with remarkable decorations. There are numerous niches in the interior of the temple with figural sculptures including that of Lord Ganesha.

History of the Temple

The history of Galaganatha Group of Temples is in fact the history of Aihole, the cradle of ancient temple architecture. When Aihole was the Chalukyan capital, the rulers built over 125 temples in varying styles. The Chalukya king, Pulakesin II was an ardent follower of Jainism. During his reign, there was an architectural extravaganza not only at Aihole, but also in the regions of Badami, Pattadakkal and other places. In the 17th century, Aurangzeb annexed the Deccan and Aihole too came under Mughal rule. The Chalukya dynasty was ousted by their own district officers, the Rashtrakutas, in AD 757. Thus, gradually, Aihole became a part of the Bahmani and other local Muslim dynasties.The erstwhile name of Galaganatha was Palluni. The Galageshwara Temple of Shiva was built around the 11th century. It is recorded that Sri Venkatesh Galaganath, also known as Kadambari Pitamaha, used to worship here and wrote his novels at the Galageshwara Temple premises.

There is a large inscribed slab in the open hall of Galageshwara Temple dating from 1080 AD onwards. The date throws light on the era when the temple was constructed. From the inscription we can gather that the tradition of performing arts, including dance and music, was prominent during this time. Performing arts attained high levels of development in the 11th century AD. From an inscription of the Chalukyan king, Vikramaditya from Galagnath, we can infer that a certain Mokhari Brammayya was a musician of high order during this period.


The nearest airport is Belgaum which is 189 km from Aihole. There are regular flights toBelgaum from all major cities in the country. The nearest railway station is Bagalkot, which is 34 km from Aihole. There are several direct trains to Bagalkot from all major cities in the country. Aihole is connected by road to Pattadakal (17 kms), Badami (44 kms) and Bangalore (490 kms). Package tours are conducted every day from Bangalore during the tourist season. One can also use any road service from Belgaum city via Bagalkot to reach Aihole.

  • The entrance tickets to Pattadakal Group of monuments cost INR 30 for Indians and INR 500 for foreigners. Cameras are charged INR 30 per piece.
  • Pattadakal can be very overwhelming especially if you combine it with Aihole. Plan for it as a separate outing else you might end up feeling frenzied. This tip would be the most valuable if you are a history enthusiast and like to explore a place for its details.
  • Restroom facilities are available at the site.
  • There are no big restaurants here. However, I highly recommend the local eateries opposite the Group of Monuments. Try the local Jowar rotis with the home-cooked vegetables.
  • Though the place is well-marked and you will be able to identify most of the temples, it is better to hire a guide. It will add to the depth of information.

Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.

I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.

Pattadakal, Galaganatha Temple - History


Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987)

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987), Karnataka

Chalukyan rulers were not only empire builders, but great patrons of art whose encouragement prompted the artists and craftsmen to experiment and innovate in different architectural styles and giving it a new dimension. It is in their period that transition from rock-cut medium to structural temples took place.

Pattadakal located in Bijapur district of Karnataka was not only popular for Chalukyan architectural activities but also a holy place for royal coronation, ‘Pattadakisuvolal’. Temples constructed here mark the blending of the Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and the Dravida Vimana styles of temple building.

The oldest temple at Pattadakal is Sangamesvara built by Vijayaditya Satyasraya (AD 697-733). The other notable temples at Pattadakal are the Kadasiddhesvara, Jambulingeswara both attributed to 7th century A.D. while Galaganatha temple was built a century later in the style of rekha nagara prasada. The Kasivisvesvara temple was the last to be built in early Chalukyan style. The Mallikarjuna temple was constructed by Rani Trilokyamahadevi to celebrate the victory over the Pallavas by Vikramaditya II. She is also credited to have built the Virupaksha temple influenced by the architecture of the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram. The Virupaksha temple later served as a model for the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna I (757 -783 A.D.) to carve out the great Kailasa at Ellora.

However, the last addition at Pattadakal was made during the reign of Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna II of the 9th century A.D. in form of a Jaina temple, locally famous as Jaina Narayana, with its two lower storeys functional.

The sculptural art of the early Chalukyas is characterised 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.

The Sangamesvara, Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna temples at Pattadakkal exhibit to a large degree the southerly elements in their vimanas, as crystallized in the contemporary Pallava temples.

The Sangamesvara, the earliest of the three, built by Chalukya Vijayaditya (697-733), is nearer the Pallava form in that it has no sukanasika, while the other two, which possess this, are the earliest of the Chalukyan type and its derivatives possessing this architectural member, as also does the Kailasa at Ellora. Both the Sangamesvara and the larger Virupaksha are similar to each other in being square on plan from the base to sikhara. The Virupaksha, built by the queen of Vikramaditya II (733-46), is the earliest dated temple with the sukanasika, being closely followed by the Mallikarjuna, built by another queen of the same king.

The main vimana of the Sangamesvara is of three storeys. The lowermost storey is surrounded by two walls, the inner and outer, the second storey being an upward projection of the inner wall, while the outer wall encloses the covered circumambulatory round the sanctum.

The Virupaksha is a large complex consisting of a tall vimana with axial mandapas and peripheral sub-shrines round the court, enclosed by a wall with gopura-entrances in front and behind, all designed and completed at one time. As such, this is the earliest extant temple-complex in the Chalukyan series. The massive gopuras are also the earliest. The compound-wall of the complex, following the plan of the group itself, has on its coping kuta and said-heads, suggestive of a derivation from the Shore-temple at Mahabalipuram-a device which gives the impression of a lower storey when viewed from a distance.

The Mallikarjuna, built immediately after and close to the Virupaksha, is a smaller temple with a four-storeyed vimana with a circular griva and sikhara. It has more or less a similar plan.

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Get To Know The Historic City Of Pattadakal

Pattadakal or Pattadakallu is situated on the banks of the river Malaprabha. The town is located in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It is a testament to the architectural expertise of the Chalukya Dynasty.

It was earlier known as Pattada Kisuvolal, which means City of Crown Rubies. It has been identified by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites apart from Hampi and Badami which are located in very close proximity to Pattadakal.

It also served as the place where the coronation of the Kings took place hence, Pattadakallu has another meaning, coronation (Pattada) stone (Kallu). The place is home to various temples in both North Indian and South Indian styles of architecture.

Getting There

The city is well connected by roads, railways and by air. The nearest airport is Belagavi which is about 180 km from here and several flights operate to Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai along with other major cities.

Badami, which is located at a distance of 22 km is the nearest railhead. There are trains which operate to major cities such as Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Solapur, to name a few.

There are several buses which are run by KSRTC and private tour operators which ply regularly from Bengaluru (514 km), Hubli (120 km) and Belagavi (180 km).

Best Time To Visit

The months from October to March are the best time to visit as the weather remains pleasant and so are the months from July to September.

More About The Place

It is a historical location where the Badami Chalukya kings were crowned as it was considered a holy place by them. The first ruler to be crowned here was Vijayaditya at the beginning of the 7th century AD. It remained the capital of the Chalukya dynasty from the 6th to the 8th centuries.

The Chalukyas constructed many temples here during the 7th and 8th centuries. There are ten temples here, which include a Jain Basadi surrounded by numerous other small shrines and a heavy base which is a fusion of various architectural styles of north India and south India.

The temples here reflect the various religious sects that existed here. Four temples were built in the Dravidian style and four in the Nagara style, whilst the Papanatha temple is a fusion of both the styles.

In total there are nine temples dedicated to Shiva and a Jain basadi which was built in the 9th century and was the last temple to be built here. The oldest amongst them is the Sangameshwara temple which was built during the period between 697 and 733 AD.

The largest of all the temples is the Virupaksha Temple which was built between 740 and 745 AD by the Queen of Vikramaditya II to celebrate his victory over Nandivarman, a Pallava King of Kanchipuram.

Major Attractions

1. Virupaksha Temple

This is the largest temple in Pattadakal and the most popular one amidst the tourists. It was previously known as the Lokesvara Temple, built by Lokamakadevi, the Queen of Vikramaditya II in the 8th century to commemorate the victory of the King over the Pallavas.

The entire temple is filled with delicate carvings and inscriptions. It also houses several beautiful sculptures of various hindu gods and goddesses which are a perfect example of the craftsmanship of those times.

The inscriptions found in the temple throw light on the fact that King Vikramaditya had employed an architect and a team of sculptors down from the South as a medium to express his admiration for the art of the Pallavas.

2. Jain Temple

The only Jain temple here is an architectural construction in the Dravidian style. It is noted for the several complicated crafted sculptures housed inside it.

The temple dates back to the 9th century and is known for its immense religious and historical significance.

A dilemma still exists over who was the monument's chief patron, as both King Amoghavarsha and his son Krishna II have been named. The temple gathers a lot of visitors who enjoy the artistic excellence.

3. Kashi Vishwanatha Temple

This temple was constructed in the 8th century by the Rashtrakutas. Predominantly constructed in the Nagara style of architecture, it is famous for the several female figurines engraved on the walls.

The monument is a proof of the artistic perfection of the engravings which makes it a must-visit destination in Pattadakal.

4. Galaganatha Temple

The east-facing temple is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra and dates back to the 8th century. The temple is famous for its exquisite sculpture of Shiva killing a demon called Andhakasura.

The temple is home to an immense Shiva Linga and is known as Sparsha Linga.

Small figurines of Kubera and Gajalakshmi can be found around the sanctum.

5. Sangameshwara Temple

This temple is the oldest amongst the group of temples in Pattadakal. The construction of the temple was completed in the year 733 AD by Vijayaditya Satyashraya.

It stands between the Virupaksha and the Galaganatha temples and was earlier known as Vijayeswara temple.

The temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and is remarkable for its complex and detailed design.

6. Mallikarjuna Temple

The temple was built soon after the completion of the Virupaksha temple. An interesting factor is that it is a miniature of the Virupaksha temple. Both the temples have several similarities in their architecture.

It was built by King Vikramaditya's second queen Rani Trilokyamahadevi to celebrate the victory over the Pallavas.

The temple has several aspects of the Dravidian architecture, which includes a four storied Vimana (Temple Tower) with a circular griva (neck) and shikhara (tower).

The porch houses a beautiful image of Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu which adds on to the beauty of this structure.

7. Papanatha Temple

The temple was built in the Vesara style of architecture in the 7th century. The construction initially began in the Nagara style of architecture, but later on, the architects switched over to the Dravidian style as a result of which the temple has elements of both styles.

The ceiling is furnished with notable figures of Shiva and Parvathi along with the Gandharvas and Vishnu. Several carvings of the temple depict various scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.

The expertise of the artisans is very much evident in the temple which attracts art and history enthusiasts.

Galaganatha Temple

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Pattadakal Temples

On the left bank of Malaprabha river lies the world heritage centre of Pattadakal. Like Aihole and Badami, Pattadakal is noteworthy for its beautiful early western Chalukyan temples. They belong to the time of Vikramaditya II (whose art-loving queen Trailokyamahadevi reverently named the deity after herself).

Pattadakal, or ‘Pattada Kisuvolal’, as it was known once, is now a popular village in the Badami taluk of Bijapur district. There are ten temples of both Dravidian and Northern styles, and hundreds of inscriptions. The rest of the temples, both big and small, seem to have been razed to the ground partly due to the effects of nature and partly by the vandalism of the ignorant villagers. These existing remains are a testimony to the fact that Pattadakal was an important religious centre and a flourishing city during the days of Early Western Chalukyas from 500 to 757 A.D. It was the second capital of the Chalukyas and the coronation ceremonies of their kings used to take place here.

Most of the temples at Pattadakal were built during the times of the Early Chalukyas. The name of Vikramaditya II is very intimately connected with beautifying the city of Pattadakal. This place has the distinction of being the meeting point of South Indian and North Indian architectural styles and cultural contacts, as can be seen from the temples of the place. There is an interesting 8th century Sanskrit inscription at Pattadakal written in both South Indian and Nagari scripts. Noted architects like Gunda, Sarvasiddhi Achari and Revadi Ovajja built the temples at Pattadakal. Sculptors like Chenganna, Baladeva, Deva Arya and others embellished the temples by their fine sculptures. The fact that Jnana Shivacharaya, a scholar from a principality to the north of Ganges had come and settled down at Pattadakal indicates the cultural contacts that had been established between the south and North India in those days.

Among all the temples at Pattadakal, the temple of Virupaksha is the largest and the dinest. Facing east, it stands close to the village.This is an exquisite specimen of theDravidian style of architecture. It was originally called the Lokeshwara temple, named after Lokamahadevi. It has a large court and fine hall for Nandi, which has an effigy of golden Ganga. The porch on the eastern side has two pillars decorated with amorous couple. Flanking the entrance are two large Dwarapalas, three eyed and carved with a trident to suggest their association with Shiva.

An inscription on the porch says that the architect Suthradhari Gunda constructed this temple in 740 A.D., for Lokamahadevi, sister of Trailokyamahadevi, to commemorate the conquest of Kanchi by Vikramaditya. It is built after the pattern of Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi.

Near the eastern gate is the Nandi ‘mandapa housing a huge sculpture of Nandi, beautifully executed in the black stone. Against thecourtyard wall, are a series of small cell shrines which in many cases have lost the images of gods in them. The outer walls bear fine pieces of natural like-like sculptural are. The important ones are Nataraja, Lakulisha, Lingodhbhavamurthi, Ardhanarishwara, Shiva and Parvathi.

The hall of the temple has eighteen heavy square pillars supporting the roof. These pillars bear interesting bas-reliefs from the epics Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavata. The beautifully perforated scroll patterned windows form one of the finest features of the hall. Within the shrine is the Linga of Virupaksha under worship. The three inches on the outer walls of the shrine do not contain any images.

Mallikarjuna temple is adjacent to the Virupaksha temple and resembles it so closely to be called as twin temples. This temple is dedicated to Shiva called as Trailokyeshwara after Trailokyamahadevi, the younger sister of Lokamahadevi and junior consort of Vikramaditya. Both these sisters who were born in the Haihaya dynasty had married Chandragupta.Even this temple was erected to commemorate her husband’s victory at Kanchi.

Facing east, it is modeled after the Kailasa temple at Kanchi. As in the Virupaksha temple, the large hall beyond the porch has eighteen columns on which beautifulbas-reliefs illustrating episodes from Ramayan, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and stories from Panchatantra are illustrated. The shrine is decorated with beautiful bas-reliefs of Gajantaka, Lakulisha, Harihara and so forth. The ceiling near the ante-chamber of the shrine has sculptures of Shiva and Parvathi. The dome of the ‘vimana’ of this temple is circular unlike that of the Virupaksha temple which is square.

The Kasi Vishveshwara temple near the Mallikarjuna temple faces east and is constructed out of dressed blocks of sand-stone. It is assigned to the 8th century. The temple has a ‘vimana’ in the northern style, but the Nandi mantapa is ruined and the ‘shikhara’ is lost. In its horse-shoe shaped ‘chaitya’ windows high over on the façade is Shiva dancing, which Parvathi watching. The marvelous sculptures on the columns illustrate scenes from Ramayana, Bhagavata and diverse forms of Shiva and Parvathi such as Ardhanarishwara, Tripuranthaka and Kalyanasundara.

Sangameshwara temple, which was built in the early part of the 8th century is also nearby. This Shiva temple is dedicated to Vijayeshwara named after the builder of temple Vijayaditya. Though in large proportions, and simple, the temple is very effective. The sculptures are massive and they look unfurnished and indicate that the structure was left incomplete for some unknown reason. The inscriptions merely indicate the name of the sculptor as Paka.

The Galaganatha temple which is in the same are, is in the northern or Nagar style, assigned to the 8th century. The temple has towers at its four corners and in the centre of which the ribbed ‘amalika’ and Kudu are repeated at every level. The lintel on the doorway is carved with a dancing Shiva and decorated with artistic designs.

At the rear of Galagantha temple is the Jambulinga, also facing east and in Nagara style of architecture. It is a shrine with a small ’madapa’ whose ceiling is lost, the well carved entrance is intact. The façade of the Vimana’ immediately above the entrance shows Dancing Shiva, with Parvati and Nandi watching.

Kadasiddheshwara is another temple near Galaganatha temple, with Shiva and Parvati on the lintel of the doorway. It appears to have derived its present name from an ascetic who might have lived in this temple. The guardian deities in front of the temple are mutilated, and the mandapa in front has lost its roof. The sculptures on the outer walls of the shrine are Shiva Harihara and Ardhanarishwara.

The temple of Papanatha is a little to the south of the Virupaksha temple, also facing east. It was built probably in about 680 A.D., in Northern style. According to the inscriptions, the sculptors Baladeva and Changana constructed the temple along with Revadi Ovajja.

The temple was originally intended to be dedicated to Vishnu who appears on the ceiling of the Nandi ’mandapa’ as Seshashayi, but was later turned over to Shiva. This temple also consists of walls, a porch, a columned hall, an ante-chamber and an ambulatory. The figures guarding the hall are very badly damaged. The lintel on the ‘mandapa’ doorway shows Gajalakshmi and Shiva with Parvathi. The outer walls have a wealth of sculptures.

There is also a Jaina temple at Pattadakal belonging to the Rashtrakuta period. Besides these temples is a group of minor shrines remarkably primary, for representing two chief styles of Indian architecture, side by side. The detailed descriptions in the sculptures of temples give an insight into the social life of those days.

Watch the video: Teertha Yatra - Sri Virupaksha Temple - Pattadakal (May 2022).