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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Significance of Paṭṭadakal[edit]

India is dotted with temples both ancient and modern. The earliest temples could have been built with easily perishable materials like wood and hence have not survived the ravages of weather and time. Only when they were built in stone, they have lasted for centuries. Some of the earliest of such temples are found in Aihole and Paṭṭadakal.[1]

Location of Paṭṭadakal[edit]

Paṭṭadakal is situated in the Bijapur district of Karnataka state. Situated on the left bank of the river Malaprabhā, the village Pattadakal is hardly four acres in area. It is surrounded by a stone-wall like a fort.

Name Paṭṭadakal[edit]

It is said that some of the kings of several dynasties, the Nandas, the Guptas, the Kadambas and the Colas, used to have their paṭṭābhiṣeka[2] here. Hence this place was named as ‘Paṭṭadakal’.

History of Paṭṭadakal[edit]

Known by other names such as Hammīranagara, Paṭṭaśilāpura, Peṭirgala, Kisuvolal and Raktapura, Paṭṭadakal was once a prosperous town. It was also the capital of the king Kīrtivarma of the Calukyan dynasty. Along with Aihole in the same district, Pattadakal is famous for its several old and big temples of which the following are more well-known. They are ten in number They are:

  1. Mallikārjuna - The Mallikārjuna temple is small and might have been built during the early part of eighth century. There are three sanctums for Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Incidents from the epics have been carved on some of the pillars. The various images have a nice appearance.
  2. Pāpanātha - The Pāpanātha temple is dedicated to Śiva. It is in fairly good condition with the Śivaliṅga in the sanctum intact. Its architectural style is a mixture of the drāviḍa[3] and the nāgara.[4] The outer wall on the south contains embossed figures of almost the entire Rāmāyaṇa.
  3. Virupākṣa - The Virupākṣa temple, also known as Lokeśvara temple, built by the queen Lokamahādevī[5] during the early part of the 8th century A. D. It is the biggest of the temple complex at Paṭṭadakal. Apart from a prākāra or an outer wall, it has two main gates. Nandimaṇḍapa has been built separately. There are three structures for the Trimurtis[6] also. Figures depicting scenes from the Rāmāyana, decorative windows and a squarish śikhara of the drāvidian style, are the other features. Other temples in the complex are those of Kāśīviśveśvara, Saṅgameśvara, Galaganātha and Jambuliṅga.

History of Temples at Paṭṭadakal[edit]

Several stone edicts belonging to the period 8th and 9th centuries have been found at these temple sites. The names of some of those involved in the construction of these temples have been inscribed here and there. Some of them are:

  1. Revaḍi Ovajja[7]
  2. Anivārita-guṇḍa[8]

The Aihole-Bādāmi-Paṭṭadakal group of temples has been considered a great archaeological treasure and is being protected as such.


  1. It is in Bijapur district of Karnataka State.
  2. Paṭṭābhiṣeka means the coronation ceremony.
  3. Drāviḍa is the South Indian architectural style.
  4. Nāgara is the North Indian architectural style.
  5. Lokamahādevī was the wife of the king Kīrti-varma, the second, and daughter of the Haihaya king.
  6. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara are the Trimurtis.
  7. Revaḍi Ovajja is the sthapatis or architect of the temple.
  8. Anivārita-guṇḍa is the sthapatis or architect of the temple.
  9. He was the śilpi or sculptor of the temple.
  10. He was the nāṭyaśāstra pravīṇa or expert dancer of the temple.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore