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World Heritage Sites – Pattadakal – Monuments Galaganatha Temple

Galaganatha Temple

Facing east, this temple, built around A.D. 750, is a typical example of a finely evolved rekha-nagara prasada. It has on plan a sanctum (garbhagriha) housing a linga and a vestibule (antarala), both surrounded by a closed circumambulatory path (pradakshinapatha), a hall (sabha- mandapa) and an entrance porch (mukhamandapa). Of these mandapas, only the plinth is extant now.

The temple is built on a plinth with three highly ornate mouldings depicting dwarfs in playful mood and chaitya-arch motifs. The outer walls of the circumambulatory path (mostly ruined) had devakoshta pavilions at cardinal points, of which only the southern one is intact. It has two round-shafted pillars with vases and foliage (ghata-pallava) at their bases and capitals. The sculpture housed in this pavilion is that of Siva slaying Andhakasura. The eight-armed god wears a wreath of human skulls (munda-mala) like a sacred thread (yajnopavita) and is depicted as piercing the demon with the trident (trisula). Windows on either side of this image are divided into square and triangular perforations by bars. Some interesting figures are carved in the box-like projections of the basement moulding to the east. One of these boxes depicts the story of the mischievous monkey from the Panchatantra and the figure of a two-faced bird in another box seems to narrate yet another story from the same work.

The well-preserved northern superstructure (rekha-nagara shikhara), topped by amalaka and kalasha, is the most striking feature of the temple. This shikhara with its three projecting bands framing two recesses (triratha-shikhara) and ascending kapotas, kudus and amalakas resembles the superstructures of the Visvabrahma and other temples at Alampur in Andhra Pradesh. It has a well developed sukasana, which is damaged.

The outer walls of the sanctum are relieved with niches (devakostas) created by ornate pilasters at the central portions. These niches are flanked by finely executed trefoil chaitya-window motifs on the lateral projections. The ornate doorframe of the outer chamber with five shakhas depicts the river goddesses at the base and dancing Siva on the lintel

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