Pattadakal, also spelled Paṭṭadakallu, is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage site. It is a village and an important tourist centre in the state of Karnataka and is located on the left bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalakote. It is 22 km from Badami, and about 10 km from Aihole, both of which are well known for Chalukya monuments. It is 514 km from Bengaluru. The Pre-Chalukya historical and archaeological site Bachinagudda is also near Pattadakal.
Pattadakal is the historical location where Badami Chalukya kings were crowned as it was considered a holy place. Vijayaditya was the first ruler to be crowned here at “Pattadakisuvolal” at the start of the 7th century AD. It was the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Karnataka in Southern India between the 6th and 8th centuries. The Chalukyas built many temples here between the 7th and 8th centuries. There are ten temples at Pattadakal, including a Jain sanctuary surrounded by numerous small shrines and plinths in fusion of various Indian architectural styles of north India and south India (Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and Dravida Vimana). These temples reflect the various religious sects that existed here. Four temples were built in the Chalukya Dravida style, four in the Nagara style of Northern India, while the Papanatha temple is a fusion of the two idioms. In all, nine Shiva temples and a Jaina basadi (called Jain Narayana temple built in the 9th century during the reign of Krishna II of Rashtrakutas, the last temple to be built at Pattadakal), are situated along the northern course of a river. The oldest of these temples is Sangameshwara built during the reign of Vijayaditya Satyashraya during the period 697-733 AD. The largest of all these temples in Pattadakal is the Virupaksha Temple was built by Queen Lokamahadevi and Rani Trilokyamahadevi, between 740 and 745 AD to mark their husband Vikramaditya II’s victory over Nandivarman, the Pallava king of Kanchipuram from South; the temple was patterned on the lines of the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram. They also built the Mallikarjuna temple.
Pattadakal is a centre of Chalukya art and architecture, noted for its temples and inscriptions which originated in Aihole around 450 AD was perfected at Badami and Pattadakal villages, all in the Bagalakote district; the distinctive Western Chalukyan Architecture was an evolution from blending of the Indo-Aryan Nagara and Dravidian styles. Ptolemy referred to this place as Petrigal. According to inscriptions, the place was known by the names Kisuvolalu, Raktapura (Red city), Pattadakal (mostly mountains near Pattadakal gave this name), and Pattada Kisuvolalu (ಪಟ್ಟದ ಕಿಸುವೊಳಲು, meaning: red valley). “Pattadakal” also denotes as the place of coronation for the kings of Chalukyan family. According to the literary work Hammira Kavya of 1540, the place was known 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 in Hammira Kavya as the place where the Chalukya kings were crowned.
Pattadakal continued to be an important centre under the Rashtrakutas and the Kalyani Chalukyas. It became a chief city for a small region called Kisukadu-70. The Sindhas of Yaramabarige (Yelburgi) also ruled it for some time.
Jain Narayana Temple
Jain Narayana temple located on the Pattadakal-Badami Road, was built in the Dravidian style by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta. It has some beautiful sculptures which probably are dated from the 9th century, built by either King Amoghavarsha I or his son Krishna II. It consists of a mukhamantapa (main hall), a navaranga, shukanasa and garbhagriha. The principle deity of the temple is Parshvanatha, the 23rd tirthankara of Jainism.
Walls of the upper shrine reflect the arrangements of the walls of the ground floor on a diminished scale. Its antarala front is covered by the basal part of the sukanasa (portion of the pinnacle over the portico) projection, while the parapet on the other three sides carries karnakutas and salas. The third storey of lesser width is relieved on its sides except on the front side. The bays contain kudu-like arches and half-arches as in northern style temples. The subdued griva (mane) recess over this storey supports an elegantly carved square shikhara.
Excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India in the premises of the temple has brought to light the remains of a large temple complex built in bricks and also a beautiful sculpture of Tirthankara standing in sama-bhanga (standing representation) indicating the existence of a temple, probably belonging to the pre or beginning of the early Chalukyan rule.
Virupaksha Temple is the largest and grandest of all temples in Pattadakal built in the 8th century, built by queen Lokamahadevi (Trilokyamahadevi) in 745 to commemorate her husband’s victory (Vikramaditya II) over the Pallavas of Kanchi. The Virupaksha temple is rich in sculptures suac asLingodbhava, Nataraja, Ravananugraha and Ugranarasimha. Virupaksha is the earliest dated temple with the sukanasika, being closely followed by the Mallikarjuna temple. The temple is 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 Lokeshwara or Lokapaleshwara. The temple has a sanctum, an inner passage, pillared navaranga and 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 an ambulatory, and installed on the square pedestal is a black Shivalinga. The famous Kailasa temple at Ellora was built on the model of this temple. The Virupaksha temple itself is an exact replica of the Kailasa temple at Kanchi.
Sangameswarar Temple (was called Vijayeshwara) is the oldest temple in Pattadakal, built by Chalukya King Vijayaditya Satyashraya (696-733). It has no sukanasika. The temple is in Dravidian style 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 are various figures like Ugranarasimha and Nataraja. Both the Sangameshwara temple and the Virupaksha temple are similar to each other in being square on plan from the base to shikhara. 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. The navaranga has 20 pillars in four rows. Its exterior walls have stone-carved figures. The sanctum has a Dravidian style tower. According to an inscription in Kannada dated 1162, it was built by the Early Chalukya King Vijayaditya and was named Vijayeshwara.
To the left of the Sangameshwara 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.
Mallikarjuna Temple is a smaller version of the Virupaksha temple and was built by Vikramadiyta’s second queen Trilokyamahadevi in 745. This temple was also constructed by Rani Trailokya Mahadevi 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 shikhara. Mallikarjuna temple in Dravidian style. To the north of the Virupaksha temple lies the Mallikarjuna which was formerly known as Trailokeshwara. It is in close proximity with the Sanghameshwara 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.’
Kashi Vishwanatha Temple
Kashi Vishweshvara 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 To the north of the Mallikarjuna temple is the temple of Kashi Vishweshwara 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.
Being a major tourist destination, Pattadakal is well connected by Air, Rail and Road.
The nearest airport is at Belgaum, which is around 180 km from Pattadakal. Although there are not many flights that operate from Belgaum Airport, flights from Indian cities like Mumbai and Chennai operate to Belgaum. The nearest international airport is at Bengaluru.
Badami is the nearest rail head, located about 22 km from Pattadakal. Trains from major cities such as Bengaluru, Solapur and Ahmedabad halt at the station. One can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Pattadakal from the station.
Pattadakal is well connected by road. State-run buses and tourist buses ply regularly from all the major cities of Karnataka such as Bengaluru, Bijapur, Hubli and Belgaum.