Pattadakal: Chalukya Capital and World Heritage Site in Karnataka

Pattadakal was the capital of the Badami Chalukya Dynasty in Karnataka. From Wikipedia:

The rule of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka. The political atmosphere in South India shifted from smaller kingdoms to large empires with the ascendancy of Badami Chalukyas. A Southern India based kingdom took control and consolidated the entire region between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers. The rise of this empire saw the birth of efficient administration, overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called “Chalukyan architecture”

In 1987, Pattadakal was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The architectural tradition begun by the Chalukyas, and continued by the Hoysala and Vijayanagara empires, created an amazing precedent that has since marked Karnataka as one of the most important centers of Temple architecture in all of India.

Pattadakal has a set of nine temples built almost in a single file. Four of the temples here are in the south Indian Dravidian architectural style while four are in the north Indian Nagara style. Another temple exhibits a hybrid style known as Vesara style.

The Virupaksha temple, pictured above, is in the south Indian style and is almost a replica of the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchi. While the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchi served as a model for this temple, this temple served as the model for the Ellora Kailasanatha temple in Maharashtra. It was built by Lokeswari one of the queens of Vikramaditya II in honor of his victorious battle against the Pallavas of Kanchi in the year 735 CE.

The Mallikarjuna temple was built immediately after and close to the Virupaksha temple (It has a similar plan). Mallikarjuna temple was built in the Dravidian style. To the north of the Mallikarjuna temple is the temple of Kashivishveshvara of which only the sanctum and a passage is left. It was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century in the Northern Nagara style.

Pattadakal is 500 miles away from Bangalore, very close to Badami, another Chalukya stronghold. There are architectural sites of great interest interspersed all over Karnataka, and while travel in this state can be less convenient and luxurious, the results are extremely rewarding.

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