After visiting the fort and the caves of Badami (Read here: Badami: A Beautiful Town of the Caves) in the early morning, I started my journey towards Pattadakal, which is just 22 kms away from Badami. I was not having more information about Pattadakal. I just knew that there are some temples which are cover under UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Public transport is not frequent on Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole stretch. You have to wait for 30 mins to an hour to catch a public bus, sometimes may be upto two hours. Tourists mainly prefer to travel by their own transport on this route, but as a budget traveler, you had to rely on the public transport. I got a bus from Badami to Pattadakal after 30 minutes wait and reach there within an hour. The palm trees en-route were spread all around and reminded you a village of kerala, though not as beautiful as those are.
First impression of Pattadakal seemed like a small, underdeveloped rural settlement, but still it is the home of one of World Heritage Site. The village is situated on the bank of Malprabha River.This place reached its pinnacle of glory under the Chalukyas from the seventh to the ninth centuries functioning as a royal commemorative site. The group of about nine temples, surrounded by numerous minor shrines and plinths, represents the climax of early Western Chalukyan Architecture. King Vikramaditya II (734 – 745 AD) and his art loving queens Lokmahadevi and Trailkyamahadevi, brought sculptors from Kanchipuram to create fantasies in stone in Pattadakal .
I left the bus just outside the temple complex, bought a ticket (Rs.20/-) and went inside a widespread temple complex.
Pattadakal Temple Complex:
It has a set of nine temples built almost in a single file, showing the architects’ desire for experimenting in various styles.Pattadakal represents the culmination of early Chalykyan art. Four of the temples here are in the south Indian Dravidian architectural style while four are in the north Indian Nagara style while Papanatha temple exhibits a hybrid style.
The Virupaksha temple, the most beautiful of all temples, were built by the queen of Vikaramaditya II to commemorate the victory of the Chalukyas over the Pallavas. As the Virupaksha temple was built by Queen Lokamahadevi, it was originally called Lokeshwara. The temple is rich in sculpture like those of Lingodbhava, Nataraja, Ravananugraha & Ugranarasimha. Built in the southern Dravida style, it is the largest temple in the enclosure. While the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchi served as a model for this temple (given the interaction between the Chalukyas and the Pallavas), this temple served as the model for the Ellora Kailasanatha temple built by the Rashtrakootas.
Perhaps the oldest temple in Pattadakal, it was built by King Vijayaditya ( 696-733 AD) and was called Vijayewara after him. Now called Sangameshwara, the temple is built in Dravidian style and consists of a sanctum, inner passage & a hall. There are sculptures on the outer wall like those of Ugranarasimha and Nataraja.
Built by Trailokyamahadevi, the queen of Vikramaditya II (734-745AD), it was originally called Trailokeshwara Temple. It is similar to the Virupaksha Temple but smaller in size. The ceiling has panels of Gajalakshmi and Nataraja with Parvathi. Pillars in the temple depict the birth and life of Krishna. There are sculptures of Mahishasuramardini (very similar to the one in Mamallapuram) and Ugranarasimha.
Built of sandstone, the tower is in the northern “Rekhanagara” style. The temple was probably never completed. It contains a beautiful sculpture of Shiva in the act of killing the Andhakasura.
Other temples of Pattadakal Complex include Kashivisvanatha Temple, Kadasiddhesvara and Jambulingeswara’ Temples and Papanatha Temple.
After spending nearly 2 hours in Pattadakal, I wanted to move to my next destination Aihole, but the problem of transport haunted me at least for one hour. There were no direct public transport available to Aihole. Finally after waiting about an hour, I got an auto to Aihole, a destination I have never read before, neither in history books nor in geography books.