We visited the Pattadakal and Aihole Temple Complexes on the same day. The 22 km drive from Badami to Pattadakal was quite smooth except for the last 2 km, where the road work was still in progress. Pattadakal is now a remote village in North Karnataka.
All the monuments are enclosed in a walled compound and there is an entry fee of Rs.30 per head for Indians and citizens of SAARC Asian countries, and Rs.500 per head for other foreigners. There is ample parking space outside the compound.
The temples date back to between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when the Chalukyan rulers allowed their artisans and craftsmen to experiment with different architectural styles. Hence you will see a blend of the South Indian Dravidian style, and the North Indian Nagara style of architecture. There is one Jain temple also. The temples were used by the Chalukyans during their coronation ceremonies.
There are about 10 different temples, namely the Siddheshwara, Jambulingeshwara, Galaganatha, Chandrasekhara, Sangameshwara, Kashi Vishwanatha, Mallikarjuna, Virupaksha, Papanatha, and the Jain Narayana. They are mostly dedicated to Lord Shiva, except the last one. There is also a Victory Pillar with inscriptions in old Kannada language from the time of Emperor Vikramaditya II. Only one temple, the Virupaksha temple with a Nandi Bull, is still active with live worshippers on a daily basis.
We covered all the temples in an hour, and then went outside in search of a good place for lunch. However we did not find any modern eatery, and decided to sample the local village cuisine. We found a place serving simple home cooked vegetarian thalis for Rs.50 per head. They served jowari rotis with 2 vegetables, some chutney, and sambar rice. We enjoyed our simple meal in the rustic village setting.
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