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Tour Destinations In Karnataka - Aihole

Earlier History | Culture of Karnataka | Facts & Figures | Beaches in Karnataka | Cuisines | Festivals | Around Karnataka

Aihole is situated at a height of around 590 mt. and about 480 km from Bangalore.It was the first capital of the early Chalukyas.It is situated on the banks of the river Malaprabha and has over a hundred temples scattered around the village.It is located in bagalkot district of Karnataka. The sculptures of Ailhole temples have superb architecture. Famous as the "Cradle of Indian Architecture.The oldest temple here is, perhaps, the Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th Century. On the roof of the temple is another shrine-like Vimana.

Chalukays first capital was Aihole.The first phase of the temple was built in

6th century CE and the second phase went on upto 12 th century CE . Here they built over 125 temples in various styles .The famous Chalukya King Pulakeshi II was follower of Jainism. Aihole inscription dated 634 CE, in Sanskrit language and old Kannada script. The prominent temple groups here are the Kontigudi group and the Galaganatha group of temples, although historians have divided all the temples into 22 groups.The cave temple of Ravana Phadi stands all by itself backed against the rocky hill out of which it has been carved. The Kontigudi group is a set of three temples consisting of the Lad Khan temple, Huchiappayyagudi temple and the Huchiappayya math.

The Galaganatha group has nearly 30 temples scattered on the bank of the river Malaprabha. Galaganatha temples are characterized by a curvilinear shikhara above the Garba Griha and images of the deities of Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance to the shrine.

This period saw the construction of great architectural wonders not only at Aihole but the whole region including Badami, Pattadakal, and other places.In the 17th century, Aurangzeb annexed the Deccan and made it a part of the Mughal Empire and Aihole, as a part of that region, came under the Mughal rule. The early Chalukya dynasty was ousted by its own district officers, the Rashtrakutas in AD 757. Later on, Aihole became a part of the Bahmani and other local Muslim dynasties.
 

Places of Interest

Lad Khan Temple

The temple was built in late 7th or early 8th century.The oldest temple here is, perhaps, the Lad Khan temple located south of the Durga Temple. It consists of a shrine with two mantapas in front of it. The God here is Lord Shiva.The temple was built in a Panchayat style, indicating a very early experiment in temple construction.The windows were filled up with lattice work in the northern style and the sanctum was added later on.In front of the sanctum there are a set of 12 carved pillars.Above the center of the hall,

facing the sanctum, is a second smaller sanctum with images carved on the outer walls.

Durga Temple
The Durga (Fort) Temple is notable for its semicircular apes, elevated plinth and the gallery that encircles the sanctum. The interior is filled with fascinating carvings. Chamundi Devi trampling the buffalo demon, Narasimha - the half-man, half-female deity. Then there is image of the fearsome Mahishasuramardini or the Mother Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahisha. The temple appears to be of the late 7th or early 8th century. Then there is image of the fearsome Mahishasuramardini or the Mother Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahisha.
 

Huchimalligudi
Temple at Aihole, built in the 7th century shows an evolution in the temple plan, as it shows an ardhamantapa or an ante-chamber annexed to the main shrine,has a sculpture of Vishnu sitting atop a large cobra. Dating back to the 6th century, the Ravalpathi Cave cave-temple celebrates the many forms of Lord Shiva. This cave is well worth a long visit. Inside the cave is the beautiful statue of dancing Shiva who seems to be trembling with motion.

Huchappayyagudi
Temple has a curvilinear tower (shikhara) over the sanctum (unlike the Lad

Khan temple). The interior of the temple has beautiful carvings.

Meguti Jain Temple
The only dated monument in Aihole, the Meguti Temple was built atop a small hill in 634 AD. Now partly in ruins, possibly never completed, this temple provides an important evidence of the early development of the Dravidian style of Architecture. The inscription dating the monument is found on one of the outer walls of the temple and records its construction by Ravikeerti, who was a commander & minister of Pulakesin II. Apparently a Jain Temple as seen from the seated Jain figure here, the superstructure rising above the sanctum wall of the temple is not original & the 16-columns porch and hall extension are later additions.

How to Reach

By Air: The nearest airport is Belgaum-189 km, which is connected to Mumbai by Vayudoot flights.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is Bagalkot -34km on the Hubli-Sholapur meter gauge line.

By Road: Aihole is connected by road to Pattadakal (17 kms), Badami (44 kms) and Bangalore (490 kms). Package tours are conducted every day from Bangalore during the tourist season. One can also use any road service from Belgaum city via Bagalkot to reach Aihole.
 

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