The Grand Temples of Pattadakal Karnataka

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The Grand Temples of Pattadakal Karnataka

Pattadakal or ‘the crown stone’ is north Karnataka’s most beautiful monument complex. It features great architecture, stunning designs and intricate carvings on ancient temples. But what is the monument all about? Are there specific temples that are well worth admiring? Read on and you’ll know everything you need to plan your own expedition!

You’ll find everything you need to know to plan a trip to Pattadakal, Karnataka in this blog post. This guide contains details on which temples to see in Pattadakal and what time to visit the monuments. In addition, there are some beautiful photographs to inspire you to visit this marvel on your next north Karnataka trip!

Our experience of visiting Pattadakal temples

We visited Pattadakal on the second day of our two day visit to the triangle of Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole. It is one of north Karnataka‘s most popular tourist spots and very evident when you enter the premises!

We entered the Pattadakal temple complex on a cold December morning at about 6 am. It was absolutely beautiful with the soft glow of the morning light. We were the first ones to enter the monument premises that day and had the whole place to ourselves for one whole hour!

The sandstone colours displayed more character as the orange glow of the sun shined! The ambience was perfect. Birds chirping, the river flowing beside the temples and the whispers of a gentle breeze made it perfect. We spent about two hours exploring the complex before heading out to Aihole.

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History of Pattadakal temples

Pattadakal literally means ‘the crown stone’, referring to the crown jewel of a monarchy. The town was once called Raktapura. The complex of temples dates back to the seventh century and houses ten temples and some smaller shrines. Nine of these temples feature Hinduism while the tenth one is a Jain temple.

This temple complex was indeed the crown jewel in the Chalukya empire, which controlled a large part of the subcontinent. Each temple featured grand architecture, but no two were built alike. Even the location of the town relative to north and south India made it a great centre of learning in ancient times. As a result, even the architectural styles will remind you of both cultures.

Tip: We recommend visiting Pattadakal before 9 am to enjoy your sightseeing experience.

Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka

The ASI and Karnataka government have worked together and painstakingly maintained this massive site. We’ve listed a few of the most important temples here that are not only easily accessible but also very beautiful. In addition, you can read about their history as we learnt from the guides.

Virupaksha Temple

This is the largest temple in Pattadakal! It is also known as the Lokesvara temple and was built by the Queen Lokamahadevi in celebration of her husband, King Vikramaditya II. The temple features classic south Indian architecture many beautiful sculptures. In fact, the Virupaksha temple car festival is held every year here even now. 


Sangameshwara Temple

The Sangameshwara temple is one of the oldest surviving temples in India, dating back to 733 AD. It was built by the Chalukya king Vijayaditya Satyashraya and was named as the Vijayeswara temple. The temple features the classic Dravidian style of architecture and has been maintained very well even today.



Mallikarjuna Temple

The Mallikarjuna temple’s most impressive feature is right in its porch. It is a massive, intricate creation of the Narasimha avatar killing his demon. The temple has a four storey tower or Vimana. The temple draws some similarities in design, from the neighbouring Virupaksha temple.

Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka

Kashi Vishwanatha Temple

This temple was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakutas in the Nagara style of architecture. The temple is very popular with admirers of art for many figurines remain engraved on its walls. It is a favourite among visitors who enjoy painting monuments.

Galaganatha Temple

The Galaganatha temple is a very iconic monument in Pattadakal. Although not as big as its neighbours, this temple features a unique north Indian architectural style. It also faces the banks of the Malaprabha river. During sunrise, the colours of the sandstone and the surroundings make it look even more splendid. 


Tip: Save this temple for last and spend some time clicking great photographs in its massive open porch.

Other Pattadakal temples

In addition to these temples, you can also visit the Jambulingeshwara temple in the premises. The smaller temples include the Chandrashekhara temple, the Papanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple. There are also many more smaller shrines and monuments in and around the complex.

Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka
Attur Saint Lawrence Church Karkala Karnataka

Planning a trip to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole in Karnataka

It is best to visit Pattdakal along with Badami and Aihole. Badami is one of the most popular tourist spots in Karnataka and it is famous for the four rock cut cave temples. All the caves feature valuable carvings and statues. And there are some impressive sunset hills and a lake with great historic importance too! Similarly, Aihole is a complex of Hindu and Jain temples just thirty minutes away. It features one of the most beautiful monuments which has many curved sections unlike traditional temples.

You can easily visit Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole in one day if you are short on time. On the other hand, you can also visit them over two days by taking it slow. Checkout our detailed guide on planning a trip to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole for the perfect itinerary and budget details!

Read more: The ultimate guide To exploring Badami Pattadakal Aihole

Karnataka is indeed a very beautiful part of India! It is very popular for its greenery and architecture from the yesteryears. In fact, it is our home state and we’ve explored a few other places which you might find just as appealing to explore! Check it out here.

If you have more questions or want to explore Pattadakal with us, please write to us – we’d be very happy to help!

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Shishira & Navneeth

Shishira & Navneeth

The Backpacksters

We're a fun, travel-loving duo from Bangalore, India. We've been exploring the world with two backpacks and a lot of curiosity as The Backpacksters since 2017
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