Today, we will look at all the nine temples at Pattadakal and give you a brief explanation of the styles and carvings used in them.
We will start with the Jambulinga temple. The Jambulinga temple was constructed in 7 A.D. This temple was built using the Nagara style. The two distinct styles of this construction is a main square in the temple that looks like a cross shape and a tower, and consists of converging lines. The main theme of the temple is Lord Shiva (the destroyer) with a linga and a sculpture of him dancing with his wife Parvati. The temple is guarded by two idols of his personal guards-Nandi and Virabhadra. Lord Shiva is called the destroyer because in Hindu Mythology he has been responsible for the destruction of many Asuras or Rakshasas (residents of the underworld).
Next, we look at the Chandrashekara temple. This temple uses the Dravidian style of building and not the Nagara style. The main temple is planned in such a way that it square in shape and has a quadrangle which encloses it .The temple will also have a roof shaped like a pyramid. It will have a separate enclosure or sanctuary where the idols or statues are placed. Just in front of this enclosure will be a mandapa or porch. Most temples have halls that are enclosed by pillars. The Chandrashekara only has the sanctuary and a roofless mandapa. You will also see a partial carved pillar. This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. The carved pillar shows us Lord Indra who was the King of the Gods riding on his elephant.
Our next stop is the Sangameswara temple. Like the Chandrashekara temple, this also is based on the Dravidian style of construction. This is another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. However here you will also come across sculptures of Vishnu, Ugranarasimha, Nataraja and Varaha. In Hindu mythology, Vishnu is called as the preserver because he always preserved peace on earth. As per Hindu mythology, he has taken many avatars (human forms) .One of the avatars is depicted in Sangameswara is the Ugranarasimha or half man-half lion incarnation which he took to kill the demon king Hiranyakashipu. Another avatar is Varaha or the boar incarnation. This incarnation was used to rescue mother earth from the rakshas Hiranyaksha. The Nataraja avatar is Lord Shiva dancing to bring an end to creation and allow the creator Lord Brahma to make a new universe.
Next, we will look at the Mallikarjuna Temple. This temple was the first temple to be made by a woman. This woman was Rani Trilokyamahadevi. This temple also followed the Dravidian style and is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple has eighteen pillars dedicated to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These two are the most important holy books for the Hindu religion. The Ramayana talks about the seventh human form taken by Lord Vishnu – Lord Rama who is exiled for 14 years and goes into exile with his wife Sita and brother Laxman. During his exile, the rakshas king Ravana abducts Sita and the book details how Lord Rama along with his Vanar sena-army of monkeys crossed the sea, went to Lanka and killed Ravana to rescue her. The Mahabharata talks about the eight human avatar taken by Lord Vishnu- Lord Krishna. It details the exploits of Lord Krishna from childhood when he slayed many demons sent to kill him, how he helps the Pandavas in the great battle against their cousins the Kauravas who had taken away the kingdom of Hastinapur via deceit from the Pandavas who were the rightful rulers.
Our next stop is the Kashivisvanatha Temple. This temple follows the Nagara style of construction and like other temples in the area is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the prominent sculptures you will see is the Lakulisha sculpture. This sculpture is dedicated to the twenty-eight avatar of Lord Shiva. As per Hindu Mythology, this avatar was the final avatar of Lord Shiva and was Lakulisha is credited with the birth of Yoga. Some experts and scholars also credit Lakulisha with founding the Pashupata Shaivism sect. This sect preached an ascetic lifestyle wherein the followers of the sect would smear themselves with ashes, free themselves from worldly pleasures, live on alms and devote their life to bhakti or penance.
Next, we will visit the Papanatha Temple. This temple is unique because it combines elements from both Dravida and Nagara style of constructions. The main attraction in the temple is the pillars depicting the entire Ramayana. You will see elements connected to the battle, the exile and other aspects of the Ramayana. You will also find a huge image of Nandi-Shiva’s personal bodyguard. Hindu mythology depicts Nandi as the bull who acts as Shiva’s bodyguard and his mount. Every temple dedicated to Lord Shiva will have a statue of Nandi at the entrance. You will also find figures of Shiva dancing with his wife Parvati. As per Hindu Mythology, Goddess Parvati is the reincarnation of the first wife of Lord Shiva- Sati. Sati was the first woman in Hindu mythology who committed self-immolation when her father insulted Lord Shiva. The practice of Sati followed in early India is based on Goddess Sati’s actions.
While the above are the main temples in the area, you will also encounter the Jain temple called as Jaina Narayana, which is devoid of any Hindu sculptures, the ruined Mantapa which has a huge statue of Nandi and the victory pillar at Virupaksha temple. This pillar has depicts all the battles fought between the Badami Chalukya rulers and the Pallavas.
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.
Galaganatha Temple dedicated to lord Shiva is a compact yet strikingly unique temple in Pattadakal. The most striking part of the Galaganatha Temple is its dexterously executed tower and the fluted final atop. Most likely the Galaganatha Temple was built around 750 CE during the regime of the early Chalukya king Vikramaditya II.
Badami , located about 22 km (14 miles) southwest of Pattadakal is the nearest railway station for Pattadakal. Badami (Station Code:BDM ) itself is on the less busy Solapur-Gadag route. This means, there are not many long distance trains connect Badami directly with other metro cities in the region. However there are a few convenient express and local train connections for Badami.