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Pattadakal (Kannada - , Pattadakalu) is a village in Karnataka. It lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district. It is 22 km from Badami and about 10 km from Aihole. It is well known for its historic temples.


World Heritage site

The group of 8th century CE monuments in Pattadakal are the culmination of the earliest experiments in the vesara style of Hindu temple architecture. The town displays both Dravidian (Southern) and the Nagara (Northern, Indo-Aryan) styles of temple architecture.

Kashivishvanatha temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka
Kashivishvanatha temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka
UNESCO in 1987 included Pattadakal in its list of World Heritage sites.[1] [2][3][4][5]


Old Kannada inscription on victory pillar, Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, 733–745 CE
Old Kannada inscription on victory pillar, Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, 733–745 CE
Pattadakal (place for Chalukyas Coronation), the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Southern India, who built the temples in the seventh and eighth centuries. There are ten temples including a Jain sanctuary surrounded by numerous small shrines and plinths. Four temples were built in Dravidian style, four in Nagara style of Northern India and the Papanatha temple in mixed style.


The place is a village and an important tourist centre in the state and is located on the left bank of the Malaprabha River and is 22 km from Badami and 514 km from Bangalore.

It is a great centre of Chalukyan art, noted for its temples and inscriptions. According to inscriptions, the place was known by the names Kisuvolal (Red Town) or Pattada Kisuvolal. The literary work Hammira Kavya of 1540 A.D. quotes the place as Pattashilapura and Hammirapura. It has been mentioned in the 11th and 12th century inscriptions, as well as in the literary work Singirajapurana of 1500 and Hammira Kavya as the place where the Chalukya kings were crowned.

 The place continued to be an important centre under the Rashtrakutas and the Kalyana Chalukyas. It became a chief city for a small region called Kisukadu-70. The Sindhas of Yaramabarige (Yelburgi) also ruled it for some time.   There are in all 10 major temples here, nine Shiva and one Jaina, situated along the northern course of the River, which is considered as very auspicious according to Holy Scriptures.  

Chalukya style of architecture

The Chalukya style originated in Aihole (450 CE), Architects experimented with different styles, blended the Nagara and Dravidian styles, and evolved their own distinctive style. At Pattadakal, the Chalukya kings were crowned, in the middle of the 7th century, temple building activity shifted from Badami to Pattadakal. There are 10 temples here, 4 are in Nagara style and 6 are in Dravidian style.

Kannada Inscription

At Virupaksha Temple, there is 8th (733–745 CE) century Old Kannada inscription on victory pillar at Pattadakal.

Groups of monuments

Virupaksha Temple

(Not to be confused with the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi)

Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal
Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal
The best known is the Virupaksha temple, built by Queen Lokamahadevi (Trilokyamahadevi)in 745 to commemorate her husband's victory (Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas of Kanchi. The temple closely resembles the Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchi which served as a model for this temple. The Kailasanathar Temple also served as an inspiration for the Kailashnatha (Kailash Temple) temple built by the Rashtrakuta (During 757 -783 A.D. by Krishna I) dynasty in Ellora because of marital relations between the Pallavas and the Rashtrakutas between 753-765 AD. The Virupaksha temple is rich in sculptures like those of lingodbhava, Nataraja, Ravananugraha and Ugranarasimha. Virupaksha is the earliest dated temple with the sukanasika, being closely followed by the Mallikarjuna temple.

Sangameshvara Temple

Sangameshvara temple 725 CE Pattadakal
Sangameshvara temple 725 CE Pattadakal
Sangameshwara Temple (was called Vijayewara) is oldest temple in Pattadakal, built by Chalukya King Vijayaditya Satyashraya ( 696-733 AD), it has no sukanasika. The temple is in Dravidian style and it consists of a Sanctum, Inner passage and a Hall. On the outer wall there is Ugranarasimha, Nataraja sculptures. Both the Sangamesvara temple and the Virupaksha temple are similar to each other in being square on plan from the base to sikhara. The main vimana is of three storeys. The lowermost storey is surrounded by two walls. The second storey being an upward projection of the inner wall. While the outer wall encloses the covered circumambulatory round the sanctum.

Mallikarjuna Temple

Mallikarjuna Temple is a smaller version of the Virupaksha temple and was built by Vikramadiyta's second queen Trilokyamahadevi in 745. This temple is also was constructed by Rani Trilokyamahadevi to celebrate the victory (by Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas. The Mallikarjuna temple was built immediately after and close to the Virupaksha temple (It has a similar plan), with a 4 storeyed vimana with a circular griva and sikhara. Mallikarjuna temple in Dravidian style.

Mallikarjuna and Kasivisvanatha temples at Pattadakal, built 740 CE
Mallikarjuna and Kasivisvanatha temples at Pattadakal, built 740 CE

Kashivisvanatha Temple

Kasivisvesvara temple was the last to be built in early Chalukya style. This temple was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century. Kashi Vishwanatha temple in Nagara style

Kadasiddhesvara and Jambulingeswara temples

Kadasiddhesvara and Jambulingeswara temples both attributed to 7th century A.D. Kadasiddeshvara temple which has a sculpture of Shiva holding a Trident or Trishul in his hands and its twin temple, the Jambulinga Temple are all built in Nagara style and resemble the Hucchimalli' Guddi at Aihole.

Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal
Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal

Galganatha temple

Galaganatha temple was built a century later in the architecture style of Rekha Nagara Prasada. Temple contains a sculpture of Lord Shiva killing the demon Andhakasura.

Jain Temple

Jain Temple located on the Pattadakal-Badami Road, is built in the Dravidian style by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta. It has some very beautiful sculptures & probably dates from the 9th century and was built by either King Amoghavarsha I or his son Krishna II.

Papanatha temple at Pattadakal
Papanatha temple at Pattadakal

  • Papanatha temple is built in the vesara style dated to 680. The temple was started in nagara style but later changed to a more balanced Dravidian style. Sculptures here speak of scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. This temple has many similarities with the Navabrahma temples in Alampur, Andhra Pradesh, which were also built by Badami Chalukyas.
  • Museum of the Plains and Sculpture gallery is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India on the Bhutanatha temple road.

Other important monuments here are the monolithic stone pillar bearing inscriptions, Naganatha temple, Chandrashekara temple and inscriptions in the Mahakuteshwara temple.

Pattadakal Temples

The biggest temple in Pattadakal is Virupaksha, enclosed by a large prakara. According to an inscription, the temple was built by Lokamahadevi, the consort of Vikramaditya to commemorate his three victories over the Pallavas and occupation of Kanchi. Its original name was Lokeshvara or Lokapaleshvara. This was perhaps built in about first half of the 8th century. This temple has a sanctum, an inner passage, pillared navaranga and triple entrances from the north, east and the south porches. It has a massive gateway in front from the east and a small gate behind. There are inscriptions and imposing stone carved figures inside the stone mantapa. A little inside is the four-pillared Nandimantapa, which has a fine large stone bull. The sanctum has a circuit path and installed on the square pedestal, a black Shivalinga. The famous Kailasa temple at Ellora was built on the model of the Virupaksha temple here.

Another temple that of Sangameshvara, is in Dravidian style, and perhaps the oldest among the temples at this place, and consists of a sanctum, inner passage and navaranga. The sanctum and inner passage are enclosed by a path way for pradakshina, which has several lattices of different design, sculptured on the outer walls various figures like Ugranarasimha and Nataraja. The navaranga has 20 pillars in four rows. Its exterior walls have stone carved figures. The sanctum has a Dravidian tower. According to an inscription in Kannada dated 1162 A.D., it was built by the Early Chalukya king Vijayaditya and was named Vijayeshvara.

To the north of the Virupaksha temple lies the Mallikarjuna which was formerly known as Trailokeshvara. It is in close proximity with the Sanghameshvara temple in design, construction and sculpture, but smaller in size. The porch has a beautiful image of Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu and two female idols. Here are two grand images on both the sides of the entrance to the navaranga. The eighteen pillars of the navaranga have figures pertaining to Ramayana, Mahabharatha and those representing social conditions of those days. On the ceiling are beautiful figures of Gajalakshmi and Shiva-Parvathi with Nandi. On the external walls are sculptures like Shiva, Nandi, Lakulisha, Nataraja, etc. This temple was built by Trailokya Mahadevi, the queen of Vikramaditya II.'

There is a Jaina temple on the Pattadakal-Badami road. It consists of a mukhamantapa, a navaranga, shukanasa and garbhagriha. Its construction may be of the 9th century A.D.

Galaganatha Temple lies to the north of the Virupaksha and faces the west. It has a navaranga, shukanasa and the sanctum with a linga. Around the sanctum is the circuit path way. In several niches are small figures of Kubera, Gajalakshmi and others. On the external wall niche of the circuit path way is a fine figure of Shiva. The rekhanagara style tower over the temple is very fine. It seems to have been constructed during the first half of the 8th century A.D.

Papanatha Temple is located to the south of the Virupaksha has a portico, main hall, big antechamber and the sanctum with encircled path way. At the doorway of the inner hall are idols of door-keepers, Nandi and Virabhadra. There are 16 pillars in the main hall, which have fine figures of couples and carved figures of females. The ceiling has impressive figures of Shiva-Parvathi with Vishnu and the gandharvas. To the north-west, on the wall is a notable figure of a royal court. Amorous couples and decorative carvings are found in several parts of the temple. On the external walls are figures of lion and elephant riders and Ramayana scenes. The temple appears to have built in stages. The sanctum has a rekhanagara tower. The temple appears to have built in 680 A.D.

To the left of the Sangameshvara is the small Chandrashekhara temple. Its architectural style is very simple, without any idols or fragile carvings. This small shrine consists of sanctum with a Shivalinga and a small hall. Only one idol of doorkeeper remains now.

Behind the Galaganatha temple is the shrine of Jambulinga. It has a sanctum with a shukanasa and a navaranga. At the doorway of the shukanasa are idols of Shiva s guards Nandi and Virabhadra. In the shrine is the linga. The outer wall niches of the sancyum have idols of Shiva (Lakulisha) and Vishnu. It has a small rekhanagara tower.

To the north, Very close to the jambulinga shrine, is the shrine of Kadasiddheshvara. In size and architecture it is similar to that of Jambulinga. There are several well executed idols of Shiva, Parvathi and Vishnu and other divinities on the outer wall.

To the north of the Mallikarjuna temple is the temple of Kashi-Vishveshvara of which only the sanctum and a passage is left. On the pillars of the inner passage, female figures are engraved in high relief. On the ceiling, Somaskanda is represented. Its sanctum has a rekhanagara tower. The structure is presumably of the 8th century.

Apart from these major temples, several small Shiva shrines are seen here.

According to the inscription on a Shaiva stone pillar found near the Virupaksha, Sangameshvara and Mallikarjuna temples, this pillar with a trident emblem was put up by Jnana Shivacharya, who hailed from Mrigathanikahara, on the north bank of the Ganges. It also states about the gift of land by him to the Vijayeshvara.

The abundance of Shiva temples here clearly indicates that the place was a great Shaiva centre in ancient times.

(Source: Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983)

See also

Mallikarjuna and Kashivishwanatha temples


External links

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