Virupaksha Temple Padattakal
Virupaksha Temple Pattadakal near Bijapur is a center of early Chalukyan art. It has a set of nine temples built almost in a single file, showing the architects' longing for experimenting in diverse styles.
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Virupaksha Temple Pattadakal stands for the culmination of early Chalukyan art. Four of the temples here are in the south Indian Dravidian architectural style while four are in the north Indian Nagara style while Papanatha temple displays a fusion style.The temple is built on a high plinth of five fully evolved mouldings.
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The outer faces of the walls of the sanctum are divided into a central projection, two intermediate projections and two corner projections with four recesses in
between. Likewise, the mandapa walls on either side of the northern, eastern and southern proches are divided into two projections and two recesses. All these projections of the sanctum walls carry niches housing images of Saiva and Vaishnava deities like Bhairava, Narasimha, Hari-Hara, Lakulisa etc., while there are perforated windows of various design in the rest of the recesses.
The parapet consists of architectural elements called kutas (square), panjaras (miniature apsidal shrines) and salas (oblong) corresponding to the projections below and the linking courses (harantaras) above the recesses. The superstructure over the sanctum is a
Dravida-vimana in three storeys with a sukasana projection over the antarala. It is square in plan and repeats in its elevation many elements of the parapet and walls beneath. It has a beautifully shaped square roof (shikhara) with a round finial kalasa above.
The Virupaksha temple Pattadakal, probably the most gorgeous of all temples here is in the south Indian style and is almost a duplication of the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchi.
The Virupaksha temple was built by Lokeswari one of the queens of Vikramaditya II in honor of his victorious battle against the Pallavas of Kanchi in the year 735 CE. The Virupaksha temple faces east towards the Malaprabha River.
It has carvings illustrating scenes from the puranas in each of the 18 pillars in the mukhamandapam . There is also an image of Lakulisa , showing the dominance of the Pasupata sect of the Saiva religion in the Chalukyan land.
The whole of the interior of this temple is embellished with elegant carvings and aesthetically modeled sculptures. Episodes from the Ramayana (e.g. abduction of Sita) Mahabharata (e.g. Bhishma lying in a bed of arrows), Bhagavata (e.g. Krishna lifting the Govardhan mountain) and Kiratarjuniya (e.g. Arjuna receiving the Pasupatastra from Siva) are depicted on the pillars of the sabha- mandapa and the pilasters here have the sculptures of amorous couples and Rati and Manmatha. Flora, fauna and geometrical patterns adorn various parts of the temple. Doorjambs (dwara-shakhas) with their delicate carvings, pillars and pilasters with various types of capitals and carvings on their faces, lintels relieved with animals, birds and architectural motifs, ceilings depicting divine beings and the majestically standing dwarapalas all unfold a ricj world of plastic art before the connoisseurs and attest to the heights reached by the Chalukyan sculptures.
The Nandi-mandapa situated to the east of the temple, is a square pavilion open on all the four sides. It houses a large image of Nandi on a raised floor. Its flat roof is supported by four pillars and short lengths of walls whose outer surfaces are carved with attendant figutes and Kinnara-mithunas (couples)
There are a number of inscriptions big and small, engraved in different parts of this temple. Inscriptions in the porch of the eastern gateway record the victory of Vikramaditya II over Kanchipuram and the royal honour and the title of ‘Tribhuvanachari’ conferred on Anivaritachari Gunda, the architect of the temple and the extol the virtues of Sarvasiddhi Achari, the architect of the southern portion of the temple.
Southindiatourtravel.com provides information on Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal and different Temples in Karnataka.