Pattadakal in northern Karnataka is a complex series of Jain and Hindu temples predating the 6th century AD, almost forming distinct system. These sites of the temple systems have been recognized and designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Northern Karnataka itself is a hub of many historical remains and artefacts and Pattadakal is about 16 kilometres from another World heritage site called Badami which also boasts of being home to archaeological excavations and temple ruins.
Pattadakal is also known as Raktapura and is a heritage site recognized by the Indian state that is now maintained and secured by the Archaeological Survey of India. Using quotations from the official UNESCO document dedicated to Pattadakal, it is described as an abode of eclectic art at its glorious best with a noticeable confluence of architectural styles from North and South in the temples and monuments present at the site.
Pattadakal became a site of religious and spiritual importance along with neighbouring Badami and other places because these were major centres of religious discourse and spiritual practise during the Chalukya dynasty. The Chalukya Empire encouraged art forms and thus other collateral studies also benefitted from the same royal patronage due to which these sites flourished as centres of learning.
Pattadakal literally translates to Place of Coronation and it is no surprise that elaborate coronation ceremonies were held here during the reign of the Chalukya Empire. Like all Karnataka temples that displays a confluence of styles, these temples have sophisticated sculptures and wall art which portrays khandas or episodes from popular mythological scripture and the friezes below them narrate the stories that portrayed pictorially. There 10 major temples in Pattadakal, 9 adhering to the Hindu religion and one dedicated to Jain religion.
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