Pattadakal (Pattadakallu in local language ) in the Indian state of Karnataka is renowned for the group of the 8th century CE monuments. These are listed in the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Located on the banks of the river Malaprabha, Pattadakal is the capital of the Chalukya rulers. Packed with a dozen or so temples of varying sizes and antiquity, Pattadakal is one of the unique places to see that many temples of the early Chalukyan architecture. Also it is a rare place where the south Indian & north Indian style temples share the same landscape.
The oldest of them all is the Sangamesvara Temple built by king Vijayaditya during the 8 century AD. Though not the biggest of the temples in Paddatdakal this temple dedicated to lord Siva is one of the fine examples of the high architectural standards maintained by the Chaluykan architecture. Almost all the temples are carved with dramatic themes from the Hindu mythology. A great majority of them is on lord Siva, especially the dancing aspects. The oldest of them all are the Mallikarjuna and the Virupaksha Temples.
Other major temples in Pattadakal include the Kadasiddheshvara Temple, Jambulings Temple, Galaganatha Temple, Chandrashekara Temple, Papanatha Temple, Kashivishvanatha Temple and the Jain Temple.
Every year during the first quarter (January or February) Pattadakal celebrates the annual dance festival also called the Chalukya Utsava. Apart from Pattadakal the venues includes the nearby ancient sites Badami and Aihole too. This three days extravaganza of dance and music attracts hordes of art lovers. The majestic temple backdrops and the performance by renowned artists brings alive the magic of the bygone era.
Pattadakal in the north Karnataka is connected by road and rail. The nearest railway station for Pattadakal is Badami (about 24 kilometer southwest).
Dedicated after Shiva, Kadasiddheswara Temple is the first temple you will be visiting as you enter the Pattadakal site. In size this temple is much smaller than say the Virupaksha Temple or the Mallikarjuna Temple , located further deep in the site. Possibly this temple was constructed during the regime of the Chalukya king Vijayaditya (696 - 733 CE). And this temple remains as an example of one of the earliest experiments the Chalukya clans did in the temple architecture. Otherwise this is built in what is called the Nagara style of architecture.
The history of Chalukyas is a bit complicated with controversies and ambiguities ; and often riddled with myths and legends. Complicated, because there were many dynasties ( to be specific three ) shared the name Chalukya. Before going further into this, let's first see where was this Chalukya Empire, as it is often referred, existed in India. Those of you with an understanding of the India's geography , imagine the Indian heartland bordered by two rivers - Narmada in the north and Kaveri in the south. Well, what lies between these two rivers was practically the span of Chalukyan Empire at its peak.