Saturday, November 1, 2014

On the Road - Day 2, Pattadakal

Pattadakal is a small village with a population of 5000. That's what my guide Ashok told me. Nice chap. It is one of the 28 UNESCO sites in India, the second in Karnataka after Hampi, and one of the most celebrated tourist spots in Karnataka. I told him to wrap it up in 45 minutes. Ashok was more than equal to the task. 
The Pattadakkal group of temples
Now unlike the Badami caves and temples and village, the Pattadakal temples are in one cluster in an area of four acres. The group of temples are in an enclosed space on the banks of the Ghataprabha river and look as if they are not of this world at all. They are of the 6th century and were used to crown kings (pattabhishekam). Apparently 90 kings, from the North and South India, were coronated here. The place was considered auspicious.
Galaganatha temple, Sangameshwara temple and Virupaksha temple
The architectures change. Pattadakal was a flourishing town even before the Badami Chalukyas. The name comes from Pattada Kisuvolal (Red Town). The town threw up stone weapons and other stuff which dates it to pre-historic times. It is even documented by historian Ptolemy (150 AD) as Petri gal (sounds like Pretty Girl). All this info is from the brochure.
Galaganatha temple, Kalasiddeshwara temple, Sangameshwara temple, Virupaksha temple
The temple complex has four large and six small temples within its four acres. Its beautifully maintained with lush lawns, well kept greenery, nice signages. Very nice. The bigger temples are Dravidian and the smaller ones show a North Indian architecture. They also seem to evolve as we go deeper into the area in complexity and design. As we enter the temple areas we saw the Kalasiddeswara temple first, rather basic in its design, with images of Shiva, Parvati and Nandi. Then we saw the Galaganatha temple (8th century AD) which is North Indian in architectural style. This is a Shiva temple too. A small Jambulinga temple and then we moved onwards.
Nice view
The Sangameshwara temple is the most ancient of the temples here and is built in Dravidian style (so says the brochure, I would not know). It was built by Chalukyan king Vijayaditya and was called Vijayeshwara. 
(L to R) Galaganatha temple, Sangameshwara temple, Virupaksha temple, Kalsiddeshwara temple and Mallikarjuna temple
Kalasiddeshwara temple
Kalasiddeshwara temple and Galaganatha temple
The Papanatha temple (completed in 740 AD) is closer to the riverside and is well preserved. The architecture is a mixture of Dravidian and Nagara styles.
Jambulinga temple

Galaganatha temple, Sangameshwara temple and Virupaksha temple
Sangameshwara temple

Sangameshwara temple - another view

Sangameshwara temple

The Kashi Vishweswara temple has figures of Shiva, Paravati carved on it and many other exquisite figures.

Sangameshwara temple
The two most popular temples are the Virupaksha temple and the Mallikarjuna temple. The Virupaksha temple was built by Lokamahadevi, wife of Vikramaditya II (733-745 AD) to commemorate the conquest of Kanchi three times (why three times?). There is a Nandimantapa at the entrance with the most exquisite Nandi I have ever seen.
Mallikarjuna temple and Kashivishweshwara temple
The inside of the temple has many episodes of the puranas carved into them. The garbagriha has a huge shiva lingam and the entrance of the ante chamber is flanked by Ganga and Yamuna. Ashok tried to convince us that the olden day gods were far ahead in fashion with their hip hairstyles and short clothes. We laughed.

Virupaksha Temple from the side
The other large temple at Pattadakal is the Mallikarjuna temple which was originally called Sri Trailokeshwara Maha Saila Prasada and was built around 740 AD by Trailokadevi, the younger queen of Vikramaditya II to commemorate his victory over the Pallavas at Kanchi. Some kind of a inter-queen one upmanship going on there.
Virupaksha temple and Mallikarjuna temple

This temple is very similar to Virupaksha temple. There is a festival held here during March - April  which is apparently quite famous.
People praying to the Nandi near Virupaksha temple
Okay. Pay Ashok his money. Bid goodbye. Drink coconut water and head out of the beautiful area. You can't resist turning back and clicking the group of temples again.
Leading to the Ghataprabha river
As we leave Pattadakal we pass the Ghataprabha river that runs right beside the temples. Pattadakal is breathtaking and deserves half a day at least to do full justice to it. Now to Aihole. I am on time. The road they say is good!


Rajendra said...

reminded me of the first time I set my eyes on the Belur-Halebeed temples. They are out of this world.

Harimohan said...

Yes Raja. They are really a sight. And yes, Badami is only about 40 kms from Nargund.