File:8th century Lakulisha at Virupaksha Shaivism temple, Pattadakal Hindu monuments Karnataka.jpg

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English: The Virupaksha temple belongs to the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. The temple was complete in the first half of the 8th century based on epigraphical and textual evidence. The temple is dedicated to Shiva, yet reverentially displays deities, legends and ideas of Vaishnavism (e.g. three steps of Vishnu and the Vamana avatar) and Shaktism (e.g. Durga killing the shape-shifting evil buffalo demon). The temple also has major carvings of major Hindu theological concepts such as Harihara (equivalence and essential interdependence of Shiva and Vishnu) and of Ardhnarishvara (equivalence and essential interdependence of the masculine and feminine principles). The temple is also known for its panels that depict stories from Vedic, Puranic and other Hindu texts such as the fables of Panchatantra.

Pattadakal was an early medieval era seat of coronation of the Chalukyan Kings of South Indian Hindu kingdoms. The site is located in Karnataka, and contain the surviving collection of temples and artwork from the 7th-9th centuries CE, sponsored particularly the Chalukya and Rashtrakuta dynasties. These temples are of historic significance as they display a fusion of architectural styles found in northern and southern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The site, temples and its religious importance is mentioned in more ancient Hindu texts, as Kisuvolal (valley of red soil), Pattada-Kisuvolal or as Raktapura (city of red color), but except for excavated parts the evidence of earlier temples has not survived. In later era texts, the Pattadakal location is also referred to as Petirgal, Pattasilapura or Hammirapura suggesting that the site remained culturally important over a long period.

The Pattadakal monuments included in the UNESCO world heritage site consist of nine Hindu temples and one Jain temple. These were built near the left bank of the Malaprabha river where it turns northward towards the Himalayas, considered auspicious in ancient India. The temples are relatively younger group of monuments, the older ones are found in Aihole and Badami less than 50 kilometer distance which predate these by a few centuries. The temples are important not only for their architecture and layout, but for their carvings and artist inscriptions which provide evidence of Hindu and Jaina theology, arts, culture and society between the 7th and 9th century. While the temples and artwork show signs of systematic defacement and damage, much has survived. One Hindu temple in the group of monument remains active. The Pattadakal group is one of many clusters of historic temples in Pattadakal area, but most of the other clusters are not a part of the UNESCO designation.

The Pattadakal temples show two major style types. The south Indian dravida vimana type is displayed in the Virupaksha, Mallikarjuna and Sangameswara temples. The north Indian rekhanagara prasada type is displayed by the Kadasiddeswara, Jambulinga, Galaganatha, Kashivishweswara and Papanatha temples. But some temples experiment a fusion of the two styles. The Sangameswara temple is the best example of dravida vimana type. The Virupaksha temple of 8th century is the best example of the fruits of creative fusion in terms of the plan, style and integration of arts.
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Author Ms Sarah Welch
Camera location15° 56′ 57.13″ N, 75° 48′ 57.83″ E  Heading=80.570621468927° Kartographer map based on OpenStreetMap.View this and other nearby images on: OpenStreetMap - Google Earthinfo

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