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Old 24th February 2017, 08:29   #1
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Default Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more

After my visit to Hampi last year and multiple trips exploring Hoysala architecture, the desire to explore Chalukyan architecture only got stronger. Decided to visit Badami and thus started the research on early Chalukyas of Badami. The more I read, I realized that a weekend trip will just not suffice and hence decided to spend 3 nights at Badami to ensure that I do full justice to the place.

Bhuthanatha Temple
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-a1.jpg

To enable easy reading, I have broken down travelogue into following sectionsNorth Fort - Twin Towers
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-btt7.jpg

Aihole - Durga Temple
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Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 18:46.
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Old 24th February 2017, 08:35   #2
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Default History

History

In various inscriptions attributed to Badami Chalukyas, they call themselves Karnatas. This along with the language used in inscriptions, which is a mix of kannada & sanskrit, has led many historians to believe that the Badami Chalukyas were indigenous to the region.

Quote:
The Chalukyas ruled over the Deccan plateau in India for over 600 years. During this period, they ruled as three closely related, but individual dynasties. These are the "Chalukyas of Badami" (also called "Early Chalukyas"), who ruled between the 6th and the 8th century, and the two sibling dynasties, the "Chalukyas of Kalyani" (also called Western Chalukyas or "Later Chalukyas") and the "Chalukyas of Vengi" (also called Eastern Chalukyas).
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalukya_dynasty

The Malaprabha valley was a rich and fertile expanse of land with naturally occurring fortifications in the form of the red sandstone cliffs, which made this a very good site for setting up base. Pulakeshin I (544-567 CE) is generally considered as the founder of the early chalukya line based on various inscriptions found around Badami.

Malaprabha Valley
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-a2.jpg
Source: Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal, George Michell

Chalukyan Kings and Pallavas of Kanchipuram fought many wars over the centuries but the most important snippets are:
  • 642 CE - Pallava king Narasimhavarman I invades and occupies Badami after defeating Pulakeshin II
  • 732 CE - Vikramaditya II returns after defeating the Pallavas and inscribing his victory onto the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchipuram

Defeat of Pulakeshin II
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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulake..._at_Badami.jpg

The early Chalukyan empire ended somewhere around 753 CE when Dantidurga of the Rashtrakutas took over the Chalukyan territories. This did not stop Badami & the malaprabha valley from flourishing as evidenced by the temples constructed in the 8th & 9th Centuries.

Quote:
The Chalukyas revived their fortunes in 973 after over 200 years of dormancy when much of the Deccan was under the rule of the Rashtrakutas. The genealogy of the kings of this empire is still debated. One theory, based on contemporary literary and inscriptional evidence plus the finding that the Western Chalukyas employed titles and names commonly used by the early Chalukyas, suggests that the Western Chalukya kings belonged to the same family line as the illustrious Badami Chalukya dynasty of the 6th century while other Western Chalukya inscriptional evidence indicates they were a distinct line unrelated to the Early Chalukyas.

The Western Chalukyas ruled for over 200 years and were in constant conflict with the Cholas, and with their cousins, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi. Vikramaditya VI is widely considered the most notable ruler of the dynasty.An ambitious and skilled military leader, under his leadership the Western Chalukyas were able to end the Chola influence over Vengi (coastal Andhra) and become the dominant power in the Deccan.The Western Chalukya period was an important age in the development of Kannada literature and Sanskrit literature. They went into their final dissolution towards the end of the 12th century with the rise of the Hoysala Empire, the Pandyas, the Kakatiya and the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalukya_dynasty

The architectural styles found in various Chalukyan temples is a mix of both Nagara (primarily north Indian with temple towers similar to Jagannath temple, Puri) & Dravida style (Primarily South Indian with temple towers similar to Big temple in Tanjavur). Some cases like the Ladkhan temple are examples of what could be called the Malaprabha tradition, which is neither Nagara nor Dravida.

Nagara & Dravida Styles - Pattadakal
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-a4.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 17:50.
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Old 24th February 2017, 09:01   #3
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Default Badami > North Fort> Lower & Upper Shivalaya

Badami > North Fort> Lower & Upper Shivalaya

Located at about 200 meters above Badami, the trek to the north fort is not very hard and can easily be done in 40 - 45 minutes. The start point for this trek is the Arch on the left of the museum entrance gate and the climb is interspersed with relatively flat sections, which helps ensure that you are not gulping for air with each step. Early morning or early evening is probably the best time to do this trek as the play of light & shadows really adds to the lure of the place. Watching the sun set from top of the fort was high on my to do list but better sense prevailed as I wasn't sure of how easy/difficult it is to climb up/down and hence decided to visit early morning.

North Fort - View from Caves in South Fort
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Lower Shivalaya - Rumored to have housed the famous Vatapi Ganapathi Idol, which now resides in the Uthrapathiswaraswamy Temple in Tiruchenkattankudi in Tiruvarur district. This idol was supposedly taken from Badami by Paranjothi, the Commander in Chief of Narasimhavarman I, when the Pallavas conquered Badami in 642 CE after defaeating Pulakeshin II.

First look at lower Shivalaya
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Entrance gate
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Lower Shivalaya
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Trivia: Paranjothi reounced his violent ways later and became Siruthondar, who is a well known Nayanar saint.

Not much remains of the lower Shivalaya apart from its central columnar structure and a an oval pedestal inside the structure. Behind the temple is a canon with 1550 engraved on it and is believed to have been placed there by the Marathas. You get a great view of the city as well as the south fort and caves from here.

Canon
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South Fort & Badami view from Lower Shivalaya
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Upper Shivalaya - is built in the Dravida stype with panels depicting events of mythological importance - Krishna carrying govardhana, Narasimha disemboweling Hiranyakshypu, waking of kumbakarna are some examples.

First look at Upper Shivalaya
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Upper Shivalaya
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Granaries on the way to Upper Shivalaya
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The view from the top is worth the climb and sunrise or sunset would probably be the best time to get here.

Caution: The fort is patrolled by a large band of aggressive monkeys which are not easily scared. A monkey managed to grab the digicam bag that my son was carrying and I literally had to stomp on its tail before it let go. Hence do make sure you have a stick with you or travel in groups to ensure that you negate this risk. Do not at any cost take any kind of eatables in open covers.

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-bls000.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 18:55.
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Old 24th February 2017, 09:17   #4
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Default Badami > North Fort> Twin Towers & Circular Bastion

Badami > North Fort> Twin Towers & Circular Bastion

Twin Towers - before you get to the first flat platform with the view of lower shivalaya, there is a small path to the left behind you, which leads you to the two towers. Not much is know about these towers but it reminded me of the tower on top of Matunga hill in Hampi. This would again be a great spot to watch the sun set over Badami.

Twin Towers - View from Lower Shivalaya
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Twin Towers - View from the path
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Twin Towers
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Caution: The path to the twin towers is extremely narrow and you have to twist your body and angle your feet to climb up to the tower. Not an easy feat for unfit obese desk jockeys. If you do manage to climb up, be assured that your climb down is even more precarious and you need to exercise extreme caution. This is not meant to dissuade anyone but I had to call this out as it might not look very hard but it is quiet a challenge.

Path to the Twin Towers
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Circular Bastion - as you climb from the lower shivalaya to the upper reaches of the fort, you will again get to a relatively flat area with a fork in the path. The fork leads to this circular bastion, which is supposed to have built during the rule of Tippu Sultan. You also get a beautiful birds eye view of Malegitti Shivalaya from here

Circular Bastion
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View from Circular Bastion
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The path way
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Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 18:57.
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Old 24th February 2017, 09:21   #5
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Default Badami > North Fort> Malegitti Shivalaya

Badami > North Fort> Malegitti Shivalaya

This beautiful temple cannot be covered as part of the climb to the Upper shivalaya. You need to use a separate path, which is accessible once you cross the Badami police station located in the lane opposite to the bus stand. I did not climb up to this temple but I did get a good look at it from the circular bastion. The temple supposedly contains very well preserved carvings of lord Shiva & Vishnu.
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-bms1.jpg
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Old 24th February 2017, 09:53   #6
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Default Badami > South Fort> Cave Temples

Badami > South Fort> Caves

The most visited and talked about attraction of badami, these rock cut caves do not need an introduction and hence I am going to let the pictures to the talking.

Cave 1 - Shiva Cave
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Nataraja
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Shiva
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Harihara
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Naga
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Ardhanareshvara
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Pillar detailing
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Cave 2 - Vishnu Cave
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Wheel with Fish spoke - Ceiling
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Swastika Ceiling
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Trivikrama
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Bhu Varaha
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Pillars
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Cave 3 - Vishnu Cave
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Cave entrance
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Trivikrama
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Narasimha
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Harihara
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Passage
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Ceiling Relief
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Vishnu
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Ceiling Relief
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Bhu Varaha
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Narasimha - Passage
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Ashtadigpalakas
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Cave 4 - Jain Cave
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Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-cd2.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 19:00.
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Old 24th February 2017, 10:12   #7
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Default Badami > Bhuthanatha Temples

Badami > Bhuthanatha Temples

Probably the most picturesque and most photographed location in all of Badami, the Bhuthanatha temple complex comprises of multiple places of interest. The biggest being the main Bhuthanatha temple that sits right in the middle of the horse shoe shaped canyon with the red sandstone cliffs watching guard and the green waters of agasthya theertha lake providing contrast.

Main Bhuthnatha Temple
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The temple walls and interiors are very plain when compared to others from a similar time period but the serenity of the place needs to be experienced. There is not better time than sunset as the the rays of the setting sun light up the temple and the cliffs.

Main Bhuthnatha Temple & North Bhuthanath Group to the Left
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The smaller group of temples on the way to the main temple are called the North bhuthanatha group, which were build in the 11th or 12th century. You can also visit the Kappe Arabhatta inscription.

North Bhuthanath Group
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Yellama Temple - Opposite end of the tank
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Sunset at Bhuthnatha Temple
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Behind the main Bhuthanatha temple, the path first takes you to a set of hindu deities carved on the rock and once you walk around the huge boulder, you then see this small doorway on your right, inside which is a well preserved carving of lord vishnu in ananthasayana. Walking further down the path, you see a very small opening in the rock, which is covered with a metal gate. You need to really bend down and shuffle into the cave to view the carving of lord budha in abhaya mudra.

Rock carving of Hindu deities
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Lord Vishnu in Ananthasayana
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Lord Budha in Abhaya mudra
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Old 24th February 2017, 10:19   #8
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Default Aihole

Aihole
Various sources mention that there are 125 temples and complexes in and around the town of Aihole, most of which are attributed to the early chalukyas (6th - 8th Century) or Late chalukyas (11th & 12th Century). The name of the town is probably derived from the kannada word Ayyavole , which was the name given to a group of enterprising traders & merchants in the region.

An inscirption dated 1055 CE describes the activites of the Ayyavole
Quote:
Famed throughout the world, adorned with many good qualities, truth, purity, good conduct, policy, condescension, and prudence; protectors of the vira-Bananju-dharma [law of the heroic traders], having 32 veloma, 18 cities, 64 yoga-pithas, and asramas at the four points of the compass; born to be wanderers over many countries, the earth as their sack,....the serpent race as the cords, the betel pouch as a secret pocket,...
by land routes and water routes penetrating into the regions of the six continents, with superior elephants, well-bred horses, large sapphires, moonstones, pearls, rubies, diamonds,...cardamoms, cloves, sandal, camphor, musk, saffron and other perfumes and drugs, by selling which wholesale or hawking about on their shoulders, preventing the loss by customs duties, they fill up the emperor's treasury of gold, his treasury of jewels, and his armoury of weapons; and from the rest they daily bestow gifts on pundits and munis; white umbrellas as their canopy, the mighty ocean as their moat, Indra as the hand-guard of their swords, Varuna as the standard bearer, Kubera as the treasurer,
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_H...ds_of_Ayyavolu

As you enter Aihole, you pass through a narrow broken lane filled with dirt, muck and garbage. When walking through the lanes of Aihole, be mentally prepared to be assaulted by various smells and keep your eyes on the ground as you never know what you are stepping on. Also note, you will have a lot of kids walking up to you and asking for money or offering to act as guides, which is a put off at times.

Jain Temple - Megutti Hill
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Old 24th February 2017, 10:30   #9
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Default Aihole > Megutti Hill & Jain Temple

Aihole > Megutti Hill & Jain Temple

You can access the pathway to this hill by using the lane just behind the Mallikarjuna temple complex. Its a short trek to the top and you can see a 2 tiered structure on the face of the hill, which is supposed to be a buddhist temple (based on the headless budha statue).

Bhuddhist temple
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On top of the hill is the Jain temple which is surrounded by fortification wall. The temple contains an inscription that dates back (634 CE) to the time of Pulakeshin II and provides details of his exploits. I missed the dolmen stones which are supposedly strewn on the hill top behind the fortification wall.

Jain temple
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The view from the top helps identify various temples & complexes of interest and is a good place to take a breather and enjoy the solitude. I made the mistake of reaching the top at 10 am it was quiet hot and my family was not very comfortable in the heat. Plan ahead and get here early to enjoy the view and solitude.

View from the Top
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Old 24th February 2017, 10:34   #10
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Default Aihole > Mallikarjuna Temple

Aihole > Mallikarjuna Temple

Located at the base of Megutti hill, this temple complex is again attributed to the early chalukyan period. The wall and ceiling panels dont have a lot of work on them but the free standing makara tornana ouside the main temple captured my attention.

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Default Aihole > Durga Temple Complex

Aihole > Durga Temple Complex

This area consists of various different structures, which have been enclosed into a single complex by ASI. The ones that I paid most attention to were the ones that stood out to me because of their structure or work on the walls/ceilings.

Durga Temple

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Originally dedicated to Surya, this temple got its name when a lookout (durg in kannda) was constructed on top of this temple (lookout has been removed now). The layout of this temple is unlike any other temple that I have been to and is supposedly a mix and match of various styles and techniques. The wall & ceiling panels are decorated with beautiful representations of greater, lesser and unknown gods & goddesses from Hindu mythology.

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Source: Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal, George Michell

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Most of the figures are not straight (as seen in hoysala temples) but seem graceful, which is a trait of early chalukyan work. This can also be observed in the cave temples and various other temples in the Badami region.

Ladkhan Temple

Named after a muslin mendicant, this temple was probably built by Pulakeshin I for his Ashvamedha yagna - horse sacrifice.

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Suryanarayana Gudi

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Goudara Gudi

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Old 24th February 2017, 10:58   #12
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Default Aihole > Huchchimalli Temple

Aihole > Huchchimalli Temple

Famous for the unique carving of Karthikeya on his peacock (carved in the ceiling, which I did not observe), this temple is again an early chalukyan temple with a large tank. On the walls of the tank, you can see the faint weather eroded figures of gajalakshmi, karthikeya & a third panel, which I am unable to identify. Also seen is a small panel depicting the boar hunt scene from Kiratarjunya, where Arjuna fights Lord shiva.

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ah1.jpg

Huchchimalli Temple
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ah2.jpg
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ah3.jpg

Kiratarjunya
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ah4.jpg

Karthikeya - Tank wall
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ah5.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 19:06.
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Old 24th February 2017, 11:02   #13
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Default Aihole > Ravanaphadi

Aihole > Ravanaphadi

A cave temple built in the 6th Century, this shiva shrine contains some of the most common statues that you will find in almost every temple in the badami region - Shiva or Nataraja, Mahishasuramardhini, Varaha carrying Bhoomi devi and Ardhanrisvara. None of the literature that I have read touch upon this fact and I am not sure why these 4 gods/goddesses were represented the most.

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ar1.jpg
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-ar2.jpg

With noon sun beating down our heads, we were unable to do full justice to this cave and in the back of our heads, Pattadakal was calling to us. We decided to keep it quick and head back to the comforts of the car and spend more time at Pattadakal.
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Old 24th February 2017, 12:34   #14
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Default Pattadakal

Located on the banks of Malaprabha river, Pattadakal was probably the place where Early Chalukyan kings were coronated (also supported by the inscription ascribed to Kirttivarman II, the last early chalukyan ruler). The complex consists of 7 temples inside the area cordoned off by ASI and 2 temples outside. Pattadakal is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been maintained beautifully by ASI.

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-p1.jpg

Pattadakal Temple Layout
Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-p2.jpg
Source: Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal, George Michell

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-p3.jpg

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-p4.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 24th February 2017 at 19:07.
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Default Pattadakal > Galaganatha Temple

Pattadakal > Galaganatha Temple

An exact copy of the Svarga bramha temple in Alampur - Andhra Pradesh, this temple stands out because of its beautifully preserved Nagara style tower and unique image of Shiva wearing a garland of skulls and spearing the demon adhalaka.

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-pg1.jpg

Exploring Malaprabha Valley - Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & more-pg2.jpg
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