Adorned with predominantly a complex of ten early Chalukyan temples of enchanting beauty and magnificence, Pattadakal is unique in that it represents the stage of two distinct architectural models of ancient India in their formative stages. They were the models that are widely adapted to date: one in the north and the other in the south. Each monument and sculpture is exquisitely in richness, variety and grace. For a proper appreciation of Indian art, mundane and spiritual, Pattadakal is one of the few rarest places that needs to be visited.
Pattadakal is an enchanting name in the history of Indian temple architecture. Located on the left bank of the river Malaprabha, in plain open land, it is surrounded by a series of matching red sandstone hill ranges. With Badami and Aihole, equally great centres of art and culture, in the neighbourhood, Pattadakal was most congenial and hospitable for human settlement. Significant cultural relics and an almost unbroken cultural sequence dating from the early palaeolithic period have been traced there.
The Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole area was such a busy hub of commercial activity that it had found place in Ptolemy’s “A Guide to Geography” of the mid-second century. We know from the brick buildings and metal coins found in the 2003-05 excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India, that this was a centre the ruling feudatories, the Maharathis, under the Satavahanas of the Deccan.
Pattadakal is best known for its splendid stone temples. The temples constructed here mark the blending of the Rekha- Nagara-Prasada and the Dravida Vimana styles of temple building. The temples are adorned with sculptures of human and divine forms as well as plant and animal life. The vibrant and graceful sculptures of Pattadakal provide panoramic glimpses of the contemporary society in its various dimensions.
The ASI has, since 1968, undertaken large scale conservation of these monuments to bring them to their present state. It is our hope that this guide book will add to the visitors’ enjoyment and appreciation of this World Heritage Site.
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