Pattadakal – the Pride of India
Hello! I heard today, 18th April, is the International Day of Monuments and Sites. Since you are not able to visit any heritage monuments today, I decided to take you on a virtual tour of my temples.
I am Pattadakal, a part of the famous Chalukya trio along with Aihole and Badami. I was born on the West Bank of Malaprabha River in what is currently the Bagalakote district of Karnataka. The great Kings of Chalukya dynasty chose me as their place of coronation for new rulers. Thus I got my name Pattadakal – the place of coronation. Before that I was mostly referred to by the color of my soil. They also called me Kisuvolal, meaning “valley of red soil” and Raktapura referring to the red colors of blood (rakta). During the reign of Chalukyas I was also called Pattada-Kisuvolal meaning “red valley of coronation”. I was then the cultural capital of the Chalukya dynasty back in the 7th century A.D.
As you must have read in history, Chalukyas were great patrons of art and architecture. They built numerous architectural marvels here. UNESCO honored me as a World heritage site because of that. The monuments of greatest importance here are the temples that the Chalukyas built. There are ten temples dating back to the 7th and 8th century – nine Hindu and one Jain. This is the only place in South India where the architecture of North and South amalgamated so long ago. You can see the happy marriage between the north Indian Rekha-Nagara-Prasada style with South’s Dravida-Vimana style of architecture in my temples. While you will find themes of various deities of Hinduism along with Vedic and puranic lores, the main deity of most of these temples is Shiva. Let me tell you about my favorites here.
Not to be confused with the Virupaksha Temple of Hampi, this one is the largest of all the monuments here. It also has the most sophisticated and intricate designs. What makes it more special to me is that it was sponsored by a Queen, Rani Lokmayadevi in 740 AD. The name of the artisans who worked on this temple is inscribed on the walls, and they are still intact.
In India, most monuments are credited to the monarchs who sponsored them while the name of the architects who actually made them sink into oblivion. That way too, this monument is special. Like most other temples, stories of Hindu mythology is depicted all over the temple. But besides that, you will find inscriptions that give valuable information about the customs and history of the era.
The Mallikarjuna temple is a mini-version of the Virupaksha temple. It was also built by a queen and had similar architectural features. Rani Trilokyamahadevi sponsored the temple to celebrate the victory of the Chalukyas over the Pallavas.
This temple has a dominant Rekha Nagara style of architecture of the North. You will see stories of Panchatantra depicted on the basement. Like the Virupaksha temple, this 8th century shrine is also dedicated to Hindu God Shiva.
This temple was built before all the other I have told you about so far. Back in the 7th century, when the construction started, it followed the Nagara architectural style. Later it shifted towards Dravidian techniques.
Chalukya king Vijayaditya Satyashraya completed construction of this temple in 733 AD. Dravidian style is dominates the architecture of this beautiful temple.
My only Jain temple was built in the 9th century AD. This Dravidian architectural marvel is of great historical significance. Actually beneath this lies a bigger and older Jain temple which was built before the Chalukyas took over.
So that was a short virtual trip of my monuments. Right now the mercury levels are soaring high on my red soil. So stay home, stay hydrated and stay safe. Surely the terrible times will be over soon for you. By that time the weather will also cool down a bit and the river will be full again. Visit me, along with Badami, Aihole and the Vijayanagara capital of Hampi on the same trip. You will enjoy your time I promise.
Celebrate today by reading more about the ancient Indian monuments, beyond the Taj Mahal. The grand monuments of Hampi, capital of the Vijaayanagara empire, and the stone wonders of Mahabalipuram are places every Indian should know about. Take care, save this post and travel later.
This is not a travel guide. This is just an introduction to the wonderful historic site of Pattadakal. This post is a part of the series “Postcards from India“, written for A2Z Blogging Challenge by Blogchatter for April 2020. I am writing about offbeat destinations in India, which you can visit once the lockdown is over. The historical and architectural information is from Wikipedia and Karnataka.com.