Our passion for travelling always makes our way, so after Badami, we were all set to explore two new locations of Karnataka – Pattadakal and Aihole. Just 21 km from Badami city is situated a heritage site of Pattadakal – another marvellous creation of Badami Chalukyas dynasty in the 7th and 8th century. It is a very small village with hardly any good shops, greenery all around and situated on the bank of a river.
The area is now a UNESCO world heritage site, as we entered the complex we can feel the flourishing era and rich culture of Badami Chalukyas. The best thing that you can appreciate here is both types of architecture, some built-in Dravidian and some in Nagara style – this itself explains the interest of craftsmen in exploring the different architecture. In one of the temple, Mallikarjuna temple, both style are mixed together to create a truly superb masterpiece. The structures are standing there and providing company to each other to tell us a story of a lost empire, they tell us about the great artists and their contribution of our ancestors to the society.
There are around nine Siva temple, each facing east to announce the name of Chalukyan empire. Pooja ceremony is still carried out at Virupaksha temple. Ths temple was built in the 8th century by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory. It will be unfair to explain the beauty of temples in words as each corner is carved out perfectly with lots of small structures all around. Especially, the big Nandi and Shivlinga at Virupaksha temple are awe-inspiring. So far I have not seen such a huge and beautiful Nandi statue, the stone still has the shine that can attract anyone to it and it is crafted perfectly to give an impression of real Lord Nandi.
I enjoyed the peace, harmony of the great structure at Patadakal and spend some time sitting in the garden to gather some memories from the area. After visiting such as aesthetic place we moved to Aihole to soothe our eyes with other heritage of Chalukyan. I would suggest you carry some food with you, especially if you have kids as there is really no single good shop for eating. Outside temple locals will gather around you to purchase the Jowar roti and chutney for eating. Except that I did not find any other thing.
Pattadakal to Aihole is 13 km distance and the route is full of great view though road condition is little bad in some stretches hopefully it will be fixed once the construction will be over. Aihole is another heritage site in this circuit and the place where the temple construction started first. Most of the temple in Aihole we found were dedicated to Lord Vishnu and you can notice later construction of Chalukya in Badami and Pattadakal are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Earlier Chalukyans were a devotee of Lord Vishnu and later deviated to Lord Shiva Also.
Aihole is home to several great construction and museum. Guides are easily available at both Aihole and Pattadakal to enhance your experience about the site. You can find some small shops in Aihole where to can refresh a little.