Well, this is piece for those of you who are new to the concepts of Hinduism. To that extend this is an oversimplified narration to make the understanding easier. For those who are keen to know more, the scope and resources are endless. So that's a disclaimer to begin with! Though it is referred with a single common name , Hinduism, it is in fact a conglomeration of many sects, sub sects , often with its own pantheons, beliefs and religious practices. Unlike many religions, Hinduism doesn't have definite a founder. The religion practically 'evolved' over 4000 years or so into its present form.

Well, this is piece for those of you who are new to the concepts of Hinduism. To that extend this is an oversimplified narration to make the understanding easier. For those who are keen to know more, the scope and resources are endless. So that's a disclaimer to begin with!

Though it is referred with a single common name , Hinduism, it is in fact a conglomeration of many sects, sub sects , often with its own pantheons, beliefs and religious practices. Unlike many religions, Hinduism doesn't have definite a founder. The religion practically 'evolved' over 4000 years or so into its present form.

One of the interesting aspects of Hinduism is its iconography (that is how the images of gods are represented) . Most of the gods in the pantheon are explicitly portrayed. This iconography has a strong relation with the mythology and the spiritual aspects of Hinduism.
Like mentioned earlier there are many (according to some account some 330 million!) gods in the Hindu pantheon. Even in a practical level , that is the Hindu gods that are actively worshiped , the count is significant.
The reason for this lies in the very philosophy of Hinduism. It sees divinity in anything and everything. Nothing is excluded.

For example there are guardian deities for the cardinal directions; so is for the elements (wind, fire,water and so on); and there are gods and goddess for various aspects (war,wealth,love, creation, destruction, death and so on ). In some way the all share some connection or other which reflects the complexity of life.

Now getting a little more practical, you will find two clusters of gods in the pantheon. The first one treats the Lord Vishnu as the supreme god and the second one treats Lord Shiva as the master of the universe.

So you have two broad sects in Hinduism - the Vaishnavites and the Saivites. The former worships Lord Vishnu and its associated pantheon, and the later worships Lord Shiva and various aspects of Shiva. And of course there are a large number of sub sects for each of these sects with its own belief system. Beyond these two major schools of worship , there are many sects and cults with its own beliefs.

The interesting thing is, though all these sect have its own principle deity of worship, it recognizes other deities and the interrelations. That's one reason why the whole of these sects together came to be known as Hindus.
Back to the iconography. In some way , it is a language used by the Hindu mythology to convey the complex concepts lying beneath its philosophy. Majority of the Hindu temples are overwhelmed with its iconography.

The central object of worship is often the icon of the god for which the temple is dedicated. In the same temple you would find a sub shrine for the consort of the principal deity and may ancillary shrines dedicated to the other gods associated with the main god.

The walls and other super structures are often portrayed with many mythical themes. Each of it has a story that is invariably an episode from a larger story.
In Pattadakal you will find a large number of temples with Shaivite affiliation. Originally the Chalukya clans were Vaishanavites. But towards its prominent and declining phases they converted into Shaivism. A great number of temples where made during this period, most of them dedicated to Lord Shiva in various forms. However you can see many Vaishnava themes too in the otherwise Shiva temples of Pattadakal.

Well, this is piece for those of you who are new to the concepts of Hinduism. To that extend this is an oversimplified narration to make the understanding easier. For those who are keen to know more, the scope and resources are endless. So that's a disclaimer to begin with!

Though it is referred with a single common name , Hinduism, it is in fact a conglomeration of many sects, sub sects , often with its own pantheons, beliefs and religious practices. Unlike many religions, Hinduism doesn't have definite a founder. The religion practically 'evolved' over 4000 years or so into its present form.

One of the interesting aspects of Hinduism is its iconography (that is how the images of gods are represented) . Most of the gods in the pantheon are explicitly portrayed. This iconography has a strong relation with the mythology and the spiritual aspects of Hinduism.

Like mentioned earlier there are many (according to some account some 330 million!) gods in the Hindu pantheon. Even in a practical level , that is the Hindu gods that are actively worshiped , the count is significant.

The reason for this lies in the very philosophy of Hinduism. It sees divinity in anything and everything. Nothing is excluded.

For example there are guardian deities for the cardinal directions; so is for the elements (wind, fire,water and so on); and there are gods and goddess for various aspects (war,wealth,love, creation, destruction, death and so on ). In some way the all share some connection or other which reflects the complexity of life.

Now getting a little more practical, you will find two clusters of gods in the pantheon. The first one treats the Lord Vishnu as the supreme god and the second one treats Lord Shiva as the master of the universe.

So you have two broad sects in Hinduism - the Vaishnavites and the Saivites. The former worships Lord Vishnu and its associated pantheon, and the later worships Lord Shiva and various aspects of Shiva. And of course there are a large number of sub sects for each of these sects with its own belief system. Beyond these two major schools of worship , there are many sects and cults with its own beliefs.

The interesting thing is, though all these sect have its own principle deity of worship, it recognizes other deities and the interrelations. That's one reason why the whole of these sects together came to be known as Hindus.
Back to the iconography. In some way , it is a language used by the Hindu mythology to convey the complex concepts lying beneath its philosophy. Majority of the Hindu temples are overwhelmed with its iconography.
The central object of worship is often the icon of the god for which the temple is dedicated. In the same temple you would find a sub shrine for the consort of the principal deity and may ancillary shrines dedicated to the other gods associated with the main god.

The walls and other super structures are often portrayed with many mythical themes. Each of it has a story that is invariably an episode from a larger story.

In Pattadakal you will find a large number of temples with Shaivite affiliation. Originally the Chalukya clans were Vaishanavites. But towards its prominent and declining phases they converted into Shaivism. A great number of temples where made during this period, most of them dedicated to Lord Shiva in various forms. However you can see many Vaishnava themes too in the otherwise Shiva temples of Pattadakal.

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Virupaksha temple
Virupaksha temple

The Virupaksha Temple of Pattadakal signifies the high watermark of the Early Chalykyan architecture. This temple was built in commemoration to the victory of the Chalykyas over the Pallavas of the Kanchipuram.

Goa to Pattadakal
Goa to Pattadakal

Hubli to Badami
Hubli to Badami

Mythologies
Mythologies

How to Reach Pattadakal
How to Reach Pattadakal

Chalukya Architecture
Chalukya Architecture

Bangalore to Badami by Road
Bangalore to Badami by Road

Bangalore to Badami Trains
Bangalore to Badami Trains

Andhakasura
Andhakasura

Lord Shiva slaying Andhakasura, the blind demon, is a popular mythological theme carved on many Shiva Temples. At Pattadakal you can see a giant image in the south side of the Galaganatha Temple. The story goes like this. While in the mount Mandhara a baby was born to Parvati and Shiva. Shiva was in a meditating posture and Parvati closed his eyes mischievously from behind. The boy appeared out of Parvati's sweat. Shiva explains to Parvati that since his eyes were closed, the baby was born blind and calls him Andhaka (the blind). Since he posed devilish qualities he was called Andhakasura (the blind demon ).

Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal Circuit
Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal Circuit

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