• Sonal Patade

Book Review- 'Badami Aihole Pattadkal' by George Mitchell

'BADAMI – AIHOLE – PATTADKAL' is a guidebook by George Mitchell for Badami, Aihole and Pattadkal regions of Karnataka. Badami was the regal capital of the Badami-Chalukyas, Aihole is a historic site of medieval era Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments; whereas Pattadkal is a complex of 7th and 8th century CE Hindu and Jain temples. All the three places are situated in the Bagalkot district of Karanataka where Badami is the district capital.

The author is trained as an architect in Melbourne and then obtained PhD in Indian Archaeology from University of London. So, the book is a mix of architecture, geography and history of these places and monuments in them. The book also contains 130 plus colored photographs by Surendra Kumar which makes it even more interesting to read.

In the introduction section author describes the history of different dynasties and their successors who resided in the region. The author also provides geographical importance of each of the places. He explains how Malaprabha River contributed to making this auspicious point ideal for early Chalukya temples that now are a part of UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List.

Early chapters of the book explain the various temple styles and their characteristics from an architect’s frame of reference. The pictures help in understanding the text. The book contains detailed maps of the sites, which help immensely in planning your journey.

Though the book does not have a centralized storyline, it does contain discrete stories of past to keep your interest intact in upcoming chapters. The glossy pages and splendid photographs do not let you keep this book aside.

The only shortcoming I felt of this book is the lack of cultural information. The book does not have any record of food or lifestyle of people of this region.

I have read and experienced that-“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” I remember my journey from reading this book as a pass time and then ending up in actually planning the trip. I recall my friend who was not completely convinced for this trip but then loved it more than I did.

If you love architectural ruins, history, nature, rural life, or any one of these, I assure you that you will love this book and the places in it. I think this is the best time one can read and plan the journey in advance when we cannot really travel in this bad break.

Let me know if you find this review helpful, thank you for reading!

- Sonal Patade

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