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7th - 9th century Hindu and Jain temples, Pattadakal monuments Karnataka 7.jpg
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location Bagalkot district, India Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 15°57′05″N 75°48′53″E / 15.95133°N 75.81464°E / 15.95133; 75.81464
Criteria Cultural: (iii), (iv) Edit this on Wikidata
Reference 239
Inscription 1987 (11th Session)
Pattadakal is located in India
Location of Pattadakal
View of the main group

Pattadakal, also called Paṭṭadakallu (ಪಟ್ಟದ ಕಲ್ಲು) or Raktapura, is a collection of ten Hindu and Jain temples in north Karnataka (India) dated to the 7th and 8th century CE. The UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site in 1987.[1][2] Located on the left bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalakote district, it is 14 miles (23 km) from Badami and about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Aihole, both of which are major centers of historically important Chalukya monuments.[3][4]

The Pattadakal monuments, states UNESCO, are notable for "a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India" and illustrating "the apogee of an eclectic art",[2] the Hindu temples are dedicated to Shiva, yet inclusively present Vaishnavism and Shaktism ideas, theology and legends. The friezes in the temples show Vedic and Puranic concepts, communicate stories from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, and other Hindu texts such as the Panchatantra and the Kirātārjunīya.[2][5] The Jain temple is dedicated to a single Jina,[6] the most sophisticated temples, with complex scenes in friezes and a fusion of North and South styles are found in the Virupaksha and Papanatha temples.[7][8] Among the monuments, the Virupaksha temple continues to be an active worship site.[9]


The Pattadakal monuments are located in the Indian state of Karnataka, about 165 kilometres (103 mi) southeast of Belgaum and 265 kilometres (165 mi) northeast from Goa. The monuments are about 14 miles (23 km) from Badami and about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Aihole, set midst sandstone mountains and Malprabha river valley. The Pattadakal-Badami-Aihole region preserves a collection of over 150 Hindu, Jain and Buddhist monuments and archaeological discoveries from the 4th to 10th century CE, in addition to pre-historic dolmens and cave paintings.[10][11]

Pattadakal has no nearby airport, and is about 3 hours drive from Sambra Belgaum Airport (IATA Code: IXG), with daily flights to Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai,[12][13] the Karnataka state highway SH14 connects Pattadakal to Badami. The site is also linked by the Indian Railways service through Badami on the Hubli-Sholapur meter-guage line,[3] it is a protected monument under the laws of the Indian government, and managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).[14]


Pattadakal means "place of coronation", it gained this name because the Chalukya dynasty kings were crowned here, considering it a holy place where Malprabha river turned north towards the Himalayas and Kailasha mountain (uttara-vahini).[3][4] This place was also known as Kisuvolal meaning "valley of red soil", Raktapura meaning "city of red", and Pattada-Kisuvolal meaning "red soil valley for coronation".[3][15][16] The site, states Archaeological Survey of India, finds mention in texts by Srivijaya and Ptolemy as Petirgal in his Geography. Vinayaditya and other Chalukyan kings were crowned here at "Pattada-kisuvolal" in the 7th century CE, according to epigraphs and medieval era Indian texts.[3]

Pattadakal became, along with nearby Aihole and Badami, a major cultural center and religious site for innovations in architecture and experimentation of ideas,[3] the Chalukyas built many temples here between the 7th and 8th centuries.[1][17] Aihole started the experimentations around the 5th century when the Indian subcontinent saw a period of political and cultural stability under the Gupta Empire rulers. Badami refined it in 6th and 7th centuries, the experimentations culiminated in Pattadakal in the 7th and 8th centuries becoming a cradle of fusion of ideas from South India and North India.[3][18]

After the Chalukyas, the region became a part of the Rashtrakuta kingdom who ruled in the 9th and 10th century from the capital of Manyakheta; in the 11th and 12th century, the Late Chalukyas (Western Chalukya Empire, Chalukyas of Kalyani) ruled over this region.[19][20] Even though the area was not the capital or in immediate vicinity from 9th to 12th centuries, new temples and monasteries of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism continued to be built in Pattadakal region based on inscriptional, textual and stylistic evidence, this likely happened, states Michell, because the region was prosperous with a substantial population and surplus wealth.[19]

In the 13th century and thereafter, Pattadakal and Malprabha valley along with much of Deccan became a target of raids and plunder by the Delhi Sultanate armies devastating the region,[19][21] from the ruins emerged the Vijayanagara Empire which built forts and protected the monuments, as evidenced by inscriptions in the fort at Badami. However, Pattadakal fell in the territory that witnessed a series of wars between Vijayanagara Hindu kings and Bahmani Muslim sultans, after the collapse of Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, Pattadakal with its monuments became a part of the Adil Shahi rule from Bijapur.[19] In late 17th-century, the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb gained control of Pattadakal from Adil Shahis, after which Maratha Empire gained control of the region, it again changed hands with Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan conquering it in late 18th century, followed by the British that defeated Tipu Sultan and annexed the region.[19]

The monuments at Pattadakal show the existence and a history of interaction between the early northern style and early southern style of Hindu arts.[22] According to T. Richard Blurton, the history of temple arts in north India is unclear as the region was repeatedly sacked by invaders from Central Asia, particularly the Muslim incursion into the subcontinent from 11th-century onwards, and "warfare has greatly reduced the quantity of surviving examples", the Pattadakal monuments completed in 7th and 8th century are amongst the earliest surviving evidence of these early religious arts and ideas.[22][23]


Site layout[edit]

There are ten temples at Pattadakal, nine Hindu and one Jain, along with numerous small shrines and plinths. Eight of the major temples are in one cluster, one about half a kilometer south of this cluster, and the tenth related to Jainism is located about a kilometer to the west of the main cluster, the Hindu temples are all connected by a walkway, while the Jain temple has a road access.[3]


The Pattadakal monuments reflect a fusion of two major Indian architectural styles, one from north India (Rekha-Nagara-Prasada) and the other from south India (Dravida-Vimana). 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. The nine Hindu temples are all dedicated to Shiva, and are on the banks of Malaprabha 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, which was built between 740 and 745 AD.[3]

The last temple built in the Group of Monuments designated by UNESCO as world heritage is the Jain temples, it is locally called the Jain Narayana temple, likely built in the 9th century during the reign of Krishna II of Rashtrakutas.[1] Its style is patterned on the lines of the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram.[1][24]

Kadasiddheshwara temple[edit]

Ardhanarishvara (left half Shiva, right half Parvati) at the Kadasiddheswara temple.

A relatively small temple, it was likely constructed in the middle of the seventh century CE according to Archaeological Survey of India;[25] in contrast, George Michell dates it to the first decades of the 8th century.[26] It faces east and builds around a square garbha griha (sacrum sanctum),[25] the temple houses a linga there on a pitha, and the Nandi bull faces it from outside. The temple has a mandapa around the sacrum center, a main mandapa circumambulating it in an expanded axial layout. Much of the temple has been eroded or was damaged in subsequent centuries, the Shikhara (spire) is a northern Nagara style (Rekhanagara) with a sukanasa projection on the east. The sukanasa shows a damaged Nataraja accompanied by Parvati.[25]

The outer walls of the Kada Siddheshwara sanctum feature images of Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati) on its north, Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu) to its west and Lakulisha to the south.[25][26] At the entrance of the sanctum, on the lintel is Shiva and Parvati, with Brahma and Vishnu on either side, the entrance has steps with Ganga and Yamuna river goddesses with attendants appearing on respective side of sanctum's entrance.[25]

Jambulingeshwara temple[edit]

The Nataraja sukanasa on Jambulingeshwara temple spire.

Another small temple, the Jambulingeshwara temple also called the Jambulinga temple is variously estimated by ASI and Michell to have been complete between mid 7th and early 8th century,[27][26] it builds around a square garbha griha (sacrum sanctum).[25] The outer walls of the sanctum feature innovations of ornate devakoshtha (linteled niches with decorated frames with Hamsa and mythical makaras). Inside the frames are images of Vishnu on its north, Surya (Sun god) to its west and Lakulisha to the south.[27] The temple also experiments with the idea of projecting sukanasa from the shikhara in front, over the mandapa, the temple still faces east, greeting the sunrise. The Nandi too is provided with a raised platform which is in ruins and the Nandi image shows signs of erosion,[27][26] the dancing Shiva Nataraja with Parvati and Nandi by his side on the frontal arch sukanasa is better preserved.[26]

The style of the temple is northern rekha-nagara with a curvilinear profile of squares diminishing as they rise towards the sky, the amalaka and kalasha of the northern style, however, are damaged and not in place. The entrance of the Jambulingeshwara mandapa is decorated with three shakhas, each with purnakumbhas below their capitals. A swan frieze covers the passage way with evidence of carving of swans, kutas and salas.[27]

Galaganatha Temple[edit]

Left: Galaganatha Temple's sabha mandapa floor and covered pradakshina patha; Right: Shiva carving.

The Galaganatha temple stands near the Jambulingeshwara temple to its east. Unlike the previous two temples, ASI estimates this temple to be from the mid 8th century,[28] while Michell states that it is likely from late 7th century,[29] the temple is also northern rekha-nagara style. The temple sanctum (garbha griha) has a linga and a vestibule (antarala) which a Nandi outside faces.[28]

The sanctum has a covered circumambulatory path (pradakshina patha), indicating that this Hindu tradition was well established by 7th to 8th century, the temples also has a social or community hall (sabha mandapa) for social ceremonial functions such as a wedding. There is a mukha mandapa as well, but only the foundation ruins of all these mandapas have survived,[28][29] the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at the mandapa entrance door are visible.[29]

The Galagatha temple is mostly in ruins, except for the southern part which contains a carved slab showing eight armed Shiva killing demon Andhaka while wearing a garland of skulls like a yajnopavita (sacred thread across the chest).[28][29]

According to Michell, the Galaganatha temple is notable for being almost an exact copy of the Svarga Brahma temple of Alampur in Andhra Pradesh, a temple that is dated to 689 CE. Given both Alampur and Pattadakal were a part of the Badami Chalukya kingdom, the flow of ideas is likely,[29] the basement of the eastern moulding is notable for depicting friezes of Panchatantra fables such as that of mischievous monkey and the fable of two-headed bird.[28]

Chandrashekhara Temple[edit]

Chandrashekhara temple.

Chandrashekhara temple is a small east facing temple and on the south side of the Galaganatha temple,[30] it lacks a tower. Michell dates it to late 9th or early 10th century,[30] while ASI dates it to mid 8th century.[31]

The temple has a garbha griha with a Shiva linga and a closed hall. A Nandi sits on an east platform facing the linga,[30] its layout set within a space of 33.33 feet in length and 17.33 in breadth, on an adhishthana (platform based on certain design rules in Hindu texts).[31] Pilasters with crisp details decorate the exterior walls of the temple, but experimented designs without ornaments.[30] There is a devakostha (niche) in wall on either side of the Chandrashekhara temple sanctum, the temple lacks a lintel, but features a dvarapala (guardian) on each side of the entrance. The doorframes are carved with shakhas.[31]

Sangameshwara Temple[edit]

Left: Sangameshwara Temple's pillared entrance; Right: A side showing experimentation with window styles and wall carvings.

Sangameshwara temple, also called the Vijayeshvara temple, is a large, Dravida style east facing temple and immediately on the south side of the Chandrashekhara temple,[30] the temple is dated to between 720 CE and 733 CE based on inscription and other evidence. It was left unfinished after its patron king Vijayaditya died in 734 CE, but work resumed intermittently in later centuries,[32][33] the Badami Chalukyas reign saw other important Sangameshwara temples during their 543-757 CE reign, such as the one at KuDavelli and Alampur.[34] The inscriptions found in this and other temples mention sponsor names from different centuries, some of them Hindu queens, suggesting early medieval era women were actively supporting the temple architecture and arts.[35][36]

Incomplete Vishnu avatar Varaha relief on Sangameswara Shaiva temple wall.

The temple is of imposing proportions with a crisp repeated square plan layout, though it is not the largest among the Pattadakal monuments,[32][37] its sanctum faces east for sunrise, housing a Shiva Linga. A Nandi faces the Linga sanctum to the east of the hall in front,[32][33] the sanctum is surrounded by a covered pradakshina patha (circumambulatory path), the passageway lit by three carved windows.[32] In front of the sanctum shrine is a vestibule with smaller shrines said to have been with Ganesha and Durga, but those images are now missing. Beyond the vestibule is a mandapa (hall space) with sixteen (4x4) massive pillars, which may have been added later.[32][33]

The vimana superstructure above the temple and the outer walls of the temple are well preserved,[32] the superstructure over the sanctum is two tiered and crowned with a square kuta-sikhara and kalasha on the top. The temple walls show many devakostha (niches) with images of Vishnu and Shiva carved, some of which in different stages of completion,[33] the temple is built on a raised moulded basement, with decorative friezes of elephant, yali and makara mythical creatures.[32] Finely detailed friezes of ganas (playful dwarfs) run above the kapota (eaves), with the ganas shown as if struggling to hold the weight of the temple structure. The parapet displays hara (various kinds of string in Hindu temple texts). Included hara styles include karnakutas (square) and salas (oblong) that flow with the design below them and decorated with kudus.[33][32]

The temple presents Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism themes, the Shaiva iconography carved in stone include dancing Nataraja, Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati as essential halves of each other), Shiva with Bhringi, Shiva spearing demon Andhaka and Lakulisha. The Vaishnava iconography include avatars of Vishnu such as Varaha lifting goddess earth (Bhudevi),[32] the temple is archaeologically significant as parts of its foundation of its ruined hall were excavated between 1969 and 1971. It yielded evidence of a brick temple structure, leading to the proposal that the site had more ancient brick temple from possibly the 3rd century CE which was replaced with the Sangameshwara temple.[38]

Kashi Vishwanatha Temple[edit]

Kashi Vishwanatha temple with Nandi facing the sanctum.

Also known as Kashivishweswara, the Kashivishvatha temple is a smaller temple in the complex, it is dated to mid 8th-century by ASI, and first decades of 8th-century or possibly earlier by George Michell and other scholars.[39][40][41] A square garbha griha (sanctum) houses a linga, with a Nandi-mandapa with couched Nandi facing it from the east, the Nandi-mandapa is on a moulded platform. The temple also features a pranala, an antarala and a mandapa with an entrance porch but much of this is in ruins. The river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at entrance remain visible,[39][40] the temple is on a raised platform, with five layers of mouldings. On these are 8th-century carvings of horses, elephants, lions, peacocks and flowery vine designs, the wall surfaces have pilaster pairs supporting chaitya-style arches.[39][40] The entrance door features a Shaiva dvarapala (guardian) on each side.[39]

Sculptures of Ardhanariswara (half-Shiva, half-Parvati) and Lakulisha are carved into the northern wall of the temple mandapa, but these are defaced or damaged,[40] the kapota (cornice) are decorated with motifs and carved with ganas (playful dwarfs) carrying garlands. Brackets show flying couples and kirtimukhas.[39][40]

The superstructure displays the fully evolved North Indian Rekha-Nagara style, rising as five stage projection of centered squares with a complicated mesh pattern of interlocking gavakshas,[40] the Shikara's amalaka and kalasha are missing.[39] The sukanasa in front of the temple on its spire projects a dancing Uma-Maheswara (Parvati-Shiva) set inside a chaitya-arch.[39][40]

Inside the temple are intricate carvings on the pillars and pilasters, these are friezes telling stories from the Bhagavata Purana (Vaishnavism), the Shiva Purana (Shaivism) and the Ramayana. One frieze shows the demon Ravana lifting mount Kailasha, others show the playful pranks of Krishna, one narrates Kalyansundarmurti (marriage of Shiva and Parvati).[39][40] One of the reliefs show Shiva coming out of the cylindrical linga,[40] the mandapa ceiling has carvings of Shiva, Nandi and Parvati holding Kartikeya. This image is concentrically surrounded by the ashta-dikpalas.[39][40]

Mallikarjuna Temple[edit]

Mallikarjuna temple, also called the Trailokeswara Maha Saila Prasada in a local inscription, is a mid 8th-century Shiva temple sponsored by queen Trailokyamahadevi,[42] it is located south of and near the Kashi Vishwanatha temple, and southwest of the Sangameswara temple. It was built about the same time as the Virupaksha temple, is similar in design and layout but a little smaller and with some important differences,[43] the two temples, Mallikarjuna and Virupaksha, are closely located.[44]

Left: Mallikarjuna Temple walled entrance; Right: A wall carving.

The temple reflects a fully developed South Indian vimana style architecture, its garbha griya (sanctum) has a Shiva linga, and features a circumambulatory path (pradakshina patha). In front of the sanctum is an antechamber (antarala) with small shrines for Durga as Mahishasuramardini killing the buffalo demon and another for Ganesha on each side, both currently empty. A Nandi-mandapa is included in the temple wherein Nandi faces the sanctum.[42] To reach the sanctum, the devotee walked through a pillared sabha-mandapa (community hall) with entrance porches, enclosure (prakara) and gateway (pratoli).[42]

Lovers inside Mallikarjuna temple.

The temple though similar, experiments with new architectural ideas where it differs from the Virupaksha temple,[45] the dancing Shiva depiction as Nataraja in the Mallikarjuna temple is set in the shallow arch of the sukanasa. The topmost storey of the shikara superstructure of this temple, as another example, lacks hara elements (threads), it also has a hemi-spherical roof unlike the Virupaksha temple's square roof.[42][45]

The temple is rich in telling stories through carvings in stone, the legends of Hindu epics and the Puranas are communicated on the temple pillars in the community hall. These stories span all major traditions within Hinduism, including Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism.[43] Krishna's rasa lila, whose stories are found in the Bhagavata Purana, are shown on friezes, as are Hindu fables from the Panchatantra.[43][46] Like other Hindu temples, the friezes of the Mallikarjuna temple show kama and mithuna scenes of amorous couples; in other places, artha scenes such as a worker walking with an elephant carrying a log and single women with different emotional expressions are carved into stone.[42][43] One of these women carries an 8th century musical instrument.[45]

Virupaksha Temple[edit]

Left: Virupaksha Temple from southwest corner; Right: A Nandi shrine (active temple).

The Virupaksha temple located to the immediate south of the Mallikarjuna temple is the largest and most sophisticated of the monuments at Pattadakal,[47] it is called Shri Lokeshvara Mahasila Prasada in inscriptions, named after its sponsor Queen Lokmahadevi, and it is dated to about 740 CE.[9][47][48] The temple is notable for its range and quality of construction, as a paradigmatic example of perfected Dravidian architecture, as well as the inscriptions and names of the artists carved beneath the panels they worked on.[9][49][50]

The Virupaksha temple faces east, has a square garbha griya (sanctum) with a Shiva Linga, around the sanctum, the temple has a covered circumabulatory path (pradakshina patha). In front of the sanctum is an antarala with two small shrines. Therein are Ganesha and Parvati in her Durga aspect as Mahishasuramardini killing the buffalo demon, they are oriented to face each other.[9][49] The Nandi pavillion is outside, aligned to east-west axis, as are the mandapa and the antechamber,[51] the temple premises forms a rectangle consisting of fused squares, the premises are bounded by walls, which is decorated with carvings.[49] Inside the bounded compound are smaller shrines, the layout of the foundation footprint indicates that there were 32 such small shrines originally but most have long been lost, the entrance leads to a mandapa with 18 columns (4-5-aisle-5-4, with a 4x4 set forming the inner mandapa and two lead to the darshana space). The temple is brightened by natural light by windows integrated into the wall design.[49]

A relief at Virupaksha temple

The tower above the sanctum is pyramidal consisting of three storeys, they repeat the motifs in diminishing notes the pilastered projections and elements of intricate carvings and structures below, though the artists simplified the resonating themes to gain a clear composition of the tower.[52] The third storey is the simplest, with only parapet kutas, a kuta roof with each face decorated with kudus – a structure common in later Dravidian architecture Hindu temples. A kalasha-like pot, found in festivals, social ceremonies and personal rituals such as weddings, crowns the temple, the top of this pot is 17.5 metres (57 ft) above the temple pavement, the highest for any pre-9th century South Indian temple.[52] The sukanasa on the tower is large for visibility from distance, exceeding half the height of the superstructure.[53]

The sanctum walls, as well as the walls of the mandapa space near it, are embellished with carvings and sculptures with intricate details, these are images of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism deities and themes, such as Narasimha and Varaha (Vaishaivism), Bhairava and Nataraja (Shaivism), Harihara (half Shiva-half Vishnu), Lakulisa (Shaivism), Brahma, Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and others.[9][54][55] The carvings on the walls and porch of the Virupaksha temple exterior, states George Michell, are "vehicles for diverse sculptural compositions, by far the most numerous found on any Early Chalukya monument".[56] Other than Hindu gods and goddesses, numerous panels show couples in courtship and mithuna, or simply a dressed up woman or man standing with jewelry or equipment of work, the woman are shown in reliefs to be sensuously dressed with elaborate long hair buns.[57]

A Virupaksha frieze showing two Panchatantra fables.

The temple has numerous friezes spanning various topics. One shows two men wrestling, rishi with Vishnu, rishi with Shiva, Vishnu rescuing Gajendra elephant trapped by a crocodile in a lotus pond, scenes of hermitages, and sadhus seated in meditative yoga posture. Vedic deities such as Surya riding the chariot with Aruna, Indra on elephant and others are carved in stone.[58] A few depict Ramayana scenes such as those involving golden deer, Hanuman, Sugriva, Vali, Ravana and Jatayu bird, Sita being abducted, the struggles of Rama and Lakshmana. Other friezes show scenes from the Mahabharata, Krishna's playful life story in the Bhagavata Purana and the Harivamsa such as stealing butter or hiding clothes of bathing gopis, as well fables from the Panchatantra and other Hindu texts.[59][60][61]

The temple contains significant inscriptions that hint at the society and culture of 8th-century India, for example, an inscription mentions a grant to the "musicians of the temple" by the queen.[57]

The famous Kailasha temple at Ellora Caves was built on the model of this temple, the Virupaksha temple itself mirrors the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram.[9][62]

Papanatha temple[edit]

Papanatha temple

The Papanatha temple is distant from the cluster of eight monuments, it is about half kilometer to the south of Virupaksha, and dated to the near end of the Early Chalukya rule period, about the mid 8th-century.[63][64] The temple is notable for its novel experimentation with a mixture of Dravida and Nagara styles of Hindu temples.[64][65]

The temple unusual layout may be because its construction occurred in three different stages, but epigraphical evidence of this is lacking, its architectural and sculptural details show consistency and unity, suggesting the implementation followed a certain plan. The temple is longer, accommodating two interconnected mandapas, one with 16 pillars and another with 4 pillars,[66] the decorations, parapets and some parts of the layout are Dravida style, while the tower and pilastered niches are Nagara style.[66]

The Papanatha temple faces east towards the sunrise like others, and has a Shiva linga in its garbha griya (sanctum). However, there is no Nandi-mandapa. Instead, there is an image of Nandi housed in the sabha mandapa facing the sanctum.[63][64]

The temple walls are notable for the carved deities and themes of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Durga is depicted in one of the niches, the wall carvings also present an intricate and extensive display of panels with the entire Ramayana, and some parts of the Kiratarjuniya legends.[63][64] The ceiling center is decorated with an elaborate Shiva Nataraja. Other ceiling slabs show Vishnu, such as in his reclining Anantasayana form,[67] outside in the mandapas are images of single women and of couples in courtship and different stages of mithuna. Many panels show musicians with different types of musical instruments.[63][64]

Jain Narayana Temple[edit]

Jain Narayana temple

The Jaina temple in the group of monuments at Pattadakal was built in the 9th century, possibly with sponsorship from the Rashtrakuta King Krishna II or the Kalyani Chalukyas. It lacks Hindu deities and intricate panels of the other nine. Instead, it has a statue of a Jina carved into the north side kapota eave.[68][6]

Like the Hindu temples, this temple also features a square sanctum, a circumambulatory path, an antechamber, a mandapa and a porch, the mandapa is divided into seven bays at the north and south walls, with narrow niches containing seated Jinas. The bays are in North Indian style, and the tower storey has a carved square shikhara.[68]

The mandapa has a row of lathe-turned sand stone pillars, the kakshasana are decorated with the figures of dancers, purna-ghata, nidhis, vyalas but some of the artwork is partially finished. The entrance feature carvings of life size elephant torso with riders.[68][6] According to Adam Hardy, the niches of this Jain temple mandapa may have featured images in past.[69]

The Archaeological Survey of India has excavated the site premises, this has yielded evidence of older temple and Jaina presence. According to the ASI, "the remains of a large temple complex built in bricks and also a beautiful sculpture of Tirthankara standing in sama-bhanga indicating the existence of a temple, probably belonging to the pre or beginning of the early Chalukyan rule".[68]

Other monuments and inscription[edit]

Old Kannada inscription of Chalukya emperor Vikramaditya II on victory pillar, Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, c.733–745.
Old Kannada inscription describes grant made for Sangameshwara temple by Chalukya King Vijayaditya c.1162

There are numerous old Kannada language inscriptions at Pattadakal. Important among them those at the Virupaksha Temple, the Sangameshwara temple and the Papanatha temples, they mention grants made by kings Vikramaditya and Vijayaditya, the various queens and others for the construction and operation of the temple.[70][71] Some of these inscriptions are significant for the study of writing scripts evolution in India. An 8th century Pattadakal pillar inscription in Sanskrit language is in two scripts, for example, the north Indian Siddhamatrika[note 1] and the south Indian proto-Kannada-Telugu script.[73]

Mahabharata frieze

Other important monuments here are the monolithic stone pillar bearing inscriptions, Naganatha temple and inscriptions in the Mahakuteshwara temple. 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, Sangameshwara 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 Vijayeshwara.[citation needed]

A museum of excavated and ruined artwork is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India on the Bhutanatha temple road.

According to Upinder Singh, the quarry of the stones source for the Pattadakal site is about 5 kilometers away, recently discovered by S. Venkateshaiah, the site is notable for it sketches of Shiva, Nandi, Durga, Ganesh, trident, peacock, swastika, symbols and inscriptions. Some of these may be icons of guilds (sanghata) who quarried and supplied the stones for the temple building.[74]


Pattadakal monuments are an important source of the historic religion, society and culture of the Deccan region, particularly Hindus and Jains, it is an expression, states Cathleen Cummings, of Hindu kingship and religious worldview of 8th-century India.[75] The temple artists communicate through the carvings the paradoxical concepts of Dharma and Moksha in Hindu theology, particularly Pashupata Shaivism, it is a document, states Cummings, wherein not only single images are important, but their relative location, sequence and layout. They express the historic tension in Hindu religious tradition between householder stately life and the renouncer monk life,[75] the temples simultaneously express raja-dharma as proper exercise of kingship and protection of all with Rama as the model good king, yet the imagery weaves in the emphasis on moksha or liberation and the end of suffering (dukkhanta).[75] The friezes emphasize panels such as Rama's life story in Ramayana to do the former, while panels on Lakulisha, Nataraja, Yoga, ascetics and others emphasize the latter,[76] the interplay between the Purusha and Prakriti, the soul and the matter, the masculine and the feminine are constantly at display in the Pattadakal temples.[77]

The temples are also of historic significance representing an approach where the Chalukyas did not pick one idea and crush the other, but encouraged experimentation, exploration and integration of two styles – the North Indian and the South India styles of Hindu arts. According to UNESCO, this created harmony and new levels of excellence, particularly when Pattadakal is viewed in combination of Aihole and Badami. While Aihole started as a laboratory of ideas in the 5th century, states UNESCO, Badami refined the ideas in 6th and 7th centuries, and Pattadakal illustrates "the apogee of an electic art" by the 7th and 8th centuries.[2][78]

Early medieval era music and arts[edit]

Among Pattadakal sculpture is found the evidence of a long neck lute (Sitar-like), dated to be from the 10th-century, the site shows friezes with more conventional musical instruments, but the long neck lute suggests a tradition of innovation by musicians to the previous instruments such as the 7th-century stick zithers found carved in the bas-relief at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.[79]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The script is also called "early Nagari", "Kutila", "Vikata" and "acute angled"; it is referred to as Siddham script in East Asian Buddhist texts.[72]


  1. ^ a b c d "World Heritage Sites - Pattadakal". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, UNESCO; See also Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS), UNESCO
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i World Heritage Sites - Pattadakal - More Detail, Archaeological Survey of India, Government of India (2012)
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  5. ^ Michell 2017, pp. 110-131.
  6. ^ a b c Michell 2017, p. 136.
  7. ^ Cathleen Cummings 2014, pp. 1-7.
  8. ^ Lippe 1967.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Virupaksha Temple, ASI India (2011)
  10. ^ Michell 2017, pp. 12-41.
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  12. ^ Belgaum airport AAI, Govt of India; Official Website, Belgaum
  13. ^ New terminal building at Belagavi airport, The Hindu (September 30 2017)
  14. ^ [ World Heritage Sites - Pattadakal; Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987), Karnataka; ASI, Government of India
  15. ^ "Pattadakal". National Informatics Center. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
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  17. ^ "Carved for eternity - Pattadakal". The Hindu. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  18. ^ Michell 2017, pp. 12-19, 110-124.
  19. ^ a b c d e Michell 2017, pp. 19-20.
  20. ^ Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund (1998). A History of India. Routledge. pp. 106–113. ISBN 978-0-415-15482-6. 
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  27. ^ a b c d Jambulingeswara Temple, ASI India (2011)
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  30. ^ a b c d e Michell 2017, p. 112.
  31. ^ a b c Chandrashekhara Temple, ASI India (2011)
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i Michell 2017, p. 112-114.
  33. ^ a b c d e Sangameshwara Temple, ASI India (2011)
  34. ^ Carol Radcliffe Bolon (1985), The Durga Temple, Aihole, and the Saṅgameśvara Temple, KūḐavelli: A Sculptural Review, Ars Orientalis, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan, Vol. 15, pages 47-64
  35. ^ Michell 2017, p. 113-115.
  36. ^ Heather Elgood 2000, pp. 165-166.
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  38. ^ Norman Yoffee (2007). Negotiating the Past in the Past: Identity, Memory, and Landscape in Archaeological Research. University of Arizona Press. pp. 164–167. ISBN 978-0-8165-2670-3. 
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  41. ^ Vinayak Bharne & Krupali Krusche 2014, p. 63.
  42. ^ a b c d e Mallikarjuna Temple, ASI India (2011)
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  45. ^ a b c Michell 2017, pp. 128-129.
  46. ^ Blackburn, Stuart (1996). "The Brahmin and the Mongoose: The Narrative Context of a Well-Travelled Tale". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Cambridge University Press. 59 (03): 494–506. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00030615. 
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  49. ^ a b c d Michell 2017, pp. 115-116.
  50. ^ Kadambi, Hemanth (2015). "Cathleen Cummings,Decoding a Hindu Temple: Royalty and Religion in the Iconographic Program of the Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal". South Asian Studies. Taylor & Francis. 31 (2): 266–268. doi:10.1080/02666030.2015.1094214. 
  51. ^ George Michell 1977, pp. 137-140.
  52. ^ a b Michell 2017, pp. 116-117.
  53. ^ Stella Kramrisch (1993). The Hindu Temple. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 241–242 with footnotes. ISBN 978-81-208-0223-0. 
  54. ^ Michell 2017, pp. 115-118.
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  62. ^ M. K. Dhavalikar (1982). "Kailasa — The Stylistic Development and Chronology". Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. 41: 33. JSTOR 42931407. 
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  72. ^ Richard Salomon (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 39 footnote 112. ISBN 978-0-19-509984-3. 
  73. ^ Richard Salomon (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 39, 71. ISBN 978-0-19-509984-3. 
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  79. ^ Stephen Slawek (1987). Sitār Technique in Nibaddh Forms. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-81-208-0200-1. 


External links[edit]