Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pattadakal, Karnataka

The second capital of the Chalukya dynasty after Aihole, Pattadakal's magnificent 8th-century temples epitomize the zenith of Chalukyan architecture.

While the neighbouring towns of Badami and Aihole were important settlements, Pattadakal, with only a small resident population, was used as a ceremonial centre for royal festivities and coronation ceremonies. The sacred temple complex of Pattadakal consists of 10 major temples, each resplendent with beautifully textured carvings and pillars. 

The impressive temple structures of Pattadakal are a confluence of the North Indian and South Indian temple architecture styles. These magnificent temples imbibe elements of both the Dravidian or the Southern and the Nagara or the Northern (Indo-Aryan) styles of temple architecture. At the entrance of the site, you can see the 8th century temples of Jambulinga, Kadasiddeshvara, and Galaganatha with their curvilinear shikaras or spires. Pattadakal tourism has grown around these ancient temples.

Places to See:

Kadasiddeshvara, Jambulinga and Galaganatha Temples

Kadasiddeshvara and Jambulinga Temples are fine specimens of North Indian-style temple architecture, characterized as they are by the curved towers (shikharas) over the inner sanctum. Galaganatha Temple, the largest of the lot, has a well-preserved tower with sharply cut tiers of horseshoe shaped motifs and a ribbed finial. 

Sangameshwara Temple

The earliest of the South Indian style temples, Sangameshwara Temple was built by the Chalukya king Vijayaditya (696-733 AD). As in other South Indian temples, the multistoried temple tower rises in a stepped Pyramidal formation and is capped with a square domed roof. 

Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna Temples

The twin Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna temples represent the pinnacle of Chalukya temple architecture. Based on the Kailasanatha Temple in Kanchipurum, the two temples commemorate the victory of King Vikramaditya II over the Pallava rulers of Tamil Nadu. Now the Virupaksha Temple is the only functioning shrine in the sprawling temple complex. Both these identical temples feature exquisitely carved pillars and ceilings decorated with a profusion of friezes from the epics.

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