Some of the best trips are those which you go on without any expectations! Pattadakal was one such place where I had set out for a one-day trip from Hampi without any plan or research. Boy, it was worth it! Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal from a well-known travel circuit, often covered together.
Pattadakal is a small village in the district and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I came to know of this fact only after going there. Pattadakal is a group of temples and monuments clustered in one site.
Being a Heritage site, the whole place is maintained very well, and there are authorized guides to hire for one's assistance. Please do hire a guide as there are plenty of intriguing stories to hear!
A group of ten temples together form the Pattadakal temples, which were all built by the Chalukya kings. The coronation of the kings used to take place here. The main temple is the Virupaksha temple
A queen built it to celebrate King Vikramaditya II's victory over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram. It is the biggest and most intricately carved temple of all. This was the temple built by the queen. It is pretty easy to identify as it faces the original gate of the temple.
The gate leads to the banks of the Malaprabha river, and a statue of Nandi in a dilapidated state was standing under the tree. Another life-like majestic Nandi statue greeted us in front of the temple, and we proceeded in. Every pillar of the temple has some epic carved into it. If one side of the post has a depiction from Ramayana, another side has a story from Mahabharatha; bits and pieces from mythology can be seen everywhere. This was also the temple that was used as a prototype to construct the Kailasanatha temple of Ellora.
Most of the smaller temples in the circuit are not functional, and one can only see the Shiva idol present in the sanctum sanctorum.
The Sangameshwara temple is said to be the oldest of all the temple. However, it is an incomplete one!
The beauty of the whole place, including Badami and Aihole, is the red sand or the red stone. The monuments constructed out of this red stone bring a whole lot of beauty to this place.
Most of the temples are built in the Rekhanagara style. Its symmetry is simply awe-striking! It is an absolute beauty to stand there and watch every sculpture. One cannot help but gasp at the human-made marvel.
Pattadakal only needs half a day to be explored. It looks like a straightforward structure, and you would think that all the temples can be covered quickly. However, if you are interested in history and architecture, hire a guide, and it will easily take half a day to explore it. There is poetry carved in every pillar and rock of the temple.
From Pattadakal, Badami is around 25 kilometres; both can be covered in a day. Avoid public holidays to have the place all to yourself. I was more content with this UNESCO heritage site than the ones I saw at Hampi.