Pattadakal is an art historians
dream. 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, probably the
most beautiful of all temples here is in the south Indian style and is almost a replica of
the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchi. 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 Virupaksha temple was built by
Lokeswari one of the queens of Vikramaditya II in honor of his victorious
battle against the Pallavas of Kanchi in the year 735
CE. The Mallikarjuna temple was built by her sister, also a Chalukyan
The Virupaksha temple faces east
towards the Malaprabha river. It has carvings depicting scenes from the puranas in
each of the 18 pillars in the mukhamandapam. There are also carvings of
Ravananugrahamurthy, Narasimha, Gajendramoksham, the dance of Shiva.
The square vimana of this temple is in three levels. There is also an image of Lakulisa,
showing the prevalence of the Pasupata sect of the Saiva religion in the
Nearby is the Mallikarjuna temple,
very similar to the Virupaksha temple but on a much smaller scale.
The Galaganatha temple is built in
the north Indian idiom and so is the Kasi Visweswara.
Other temples here include those to Chandrasekhara,
Sangameswara, Jambulinga, Kadasiddheswara.
The Papanatha temple has a Nagara
styleed Vimanam. It is decorated with scenes from the Ramayana.
There is also a Jain temple from the
period of the Rashtrakootas (9th century) here at Pattadakal.