UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Countless Structures of the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

On the banks of the Malaprabha River of Karnataka there lies an array of temples and architectural marvels that make the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.

Hitanshu Bhatt
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Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

You will be baffled by the sheer number of temples and monuments in Pattadakal; this UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its splendid architectural structures. Referred to as the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in the land of sandalwood, this town boasts a staggering 150 monuments and temples. It hosts nine main Hindu temples and one Jain temple, serving as a testament to the architecture during the rule of the Chalukyas from the 7th and 8th centuries. The architecture, influenced by the Dravidian and Aryan periods, as well as a mixture of both styles in its temple complex, adds to its venerability."

"The tiny village of Pattadakal is situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River in the state of Karnataka. Discoveries ranging from the 4th to the 10th centuries showcase some striking architectural features of the monuments here. Not only did Indian patrons appreciate the work of this place, but even foreign visitors were stunned by it. The world-famous geographer Ptolemy documented the town as 'Perti gal'. It was even used as the ceremonial center where kings were crowned and commemorated.

Temples in Pattadakal


Sanghameswara Temple 

Known as Vijayewara after King Vijayaditya (696-733 AD), this temple is arguably the oldest in Pattadakal. Currently known as Sangameshwara, it was constructed in the Dravidian style and comprises an inner corridor, a hall, and a shrine. The exterior wall features sculptures resembling those of Ugranarasimha (a form of Lord Narasimha) and Nataraja.

Virupaksha Temple

The city of Hampi is famous because of this temple. This temple is dedicated to lord Virupaksha -  a form of Lord Shiva. It is known for its intricate architecture, towering gopuram (gateway tower), and vibrant religious ceremonies. It's one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the region and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year.

Mallikarjuna Temple


Originally constructed by Queen Trailokya Mahadevi in 740 AD, it was known as the Trailokeswara Maha Saila Prasada. The Mallikarjuna temple was constructed for the same reason as the Virupaksha temple, which is next to it, and shares architectural similarities with it. Engraved on the inside walls are scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Galaganatha Temple

The ruined Galaganatha Temple dates back to the eighth century AD and showcases a curvilinear shikhara in the northern style. All of the amalaka motifs on the shikhara are crowned with a finial (an ornament at the top). It is a Shiva temple featuring a black basalt Shivalinga.

Kashi Visweshwara Temple

This temple also features a curvilinear style shikhara. The inner ceiling of the Kashi Visweshwara temple showcases the Dikpalas (guards) surrounding the images of Shiva, Parvathi, and the infant Skanda.

Papanatha Temple


The Papanatha Temple mentioned as ‘Mukteshwara’, seems to have been completed around 740 AD. It has a frontal mantapa, sabhamantapa, ante-chamber and a squarish garbhagriha. The architecture of this temple is a mixture of Dravida and Nagara styles.

Jambulinga Temple

Another small temple with a fine figure of the Dancing Shiva with Nandi & Parvathi by his side. Built with a northern-style tower, there is a horse-shoe arched projection on its facade.

Kadasiddeshwara Temple

This is similar in design to the Jambulinga Temple. The entrance lintel has beautiful images of Shiva and Parvathi seated on a Nandi, flanked by Brahma and Vishnu.

Jain Temple

Outside the town is a huge Jain Basadi built in the 9th century AD. This temple has been constructed in Rashtrakuta style with huge elephants welcoming the visitors at the entrance.

Other attractions of Pattadakal 


The Pattadakal Dance Festival or the Chalukya Utsava an annual cultural and heritage festival happens here. Along with this main festival, there are many celebrations such as Banashankari Temple Festival, Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and Mallikarjuna Temple Festival. There is also a sculpture gallery maintained by the Archeological Survey of India within the Pattadakal temple complex making it a place to visit once.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site Monuments at Pattadakal Temples in Pattadakal Pattadakal