AIHOḷE is a village having a historic temple complex in the
Bagalkot district of
India and located 510 km from
Bangalore . It is known for Chalukyan architecture, with about 125
stone temples dating from 5th century CE, and is a popular tourist
spot in north
Karnataka . It lies to the east of
Pattadakal , along
Malaprabha River , while
Badami is to the west of both. With its
collection of architectural structures, Aihoḷe temple complex is on
the pending list of UNESCO World heritage sites .
* 1 History
* 2 Important temples at
* 4 Early
Chalukya style of architecture
* 5 The Temples
* 5.1 Hindu Temple
* 5.2 Jain Temples
* 5.3 Buddhist Temple
* 6 Gallery
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links
* 9.1 Travelers\' Experiences
Chalukya dynasty ,
Chalukya Architecture , Five
Hundred Lords of Ayyavolu , and
Aihoḷe was earlier known as Ayyavoḷe and Aryapura in its
inscriptions. It was established in 450 CE as first capital of
Chalukya kings and has about 125 stone temples, some which were
constructed as experimental structures by artisans of Chalukyan
period. A place known by as Morera Angadigalu near the Meguti
hillocks has a large number of cysts of pre-historic period. The place
was an agraharam . Aihoḷe has been described as a cradle of temple
architecture. Some brick structures of pre-Chalukyan times have also
been excavated in this village. Poetry on stone at the Meguti
Aihole inscription) dated 634 CE, in
Sanskrit language and old
Kannada script An important 8th century inscription in Old
Kannada language and script at the Lad Khan temple records a grant to
Aihole has historical significance and is called the 'cradle of Hindu
rock architecture' (cradle of
Indian architecture ).
Pulakeshin I , one of the greatest rulers of this dynasty, moved the
Badami was then known as Vatapi. It is from
these temples that the
Chalukyas gained their experience and went on
to build the great temples of
The first phase of temple building in
Aihole dates back to the
fifth–sixth century, the second phase up to the 12th century CE.
IMPORTANT TEMPLES AT AIHOLE
* Durga temple complex
Lad Khan Temple
* Ambigera Gudi complex
* Mallikarjuna temple complex
* Chikki temple
* Rachi temple
* Eniyar temples complex
* Hucchimalli temple complex
* Ravanaphadi rock-cut temple
* Jain temple, Meguti temple
* Hucchappayya Math Complex
* Kunti temples complex
* Jain temple, Charantimath complex
* Tryambakesvara group
* Gauri temple
* Jaina temples in the village
* Rock-cut Jain Basadi
* Ramlingesvara Temple Complex
Galaganatha Temple Complex
Chalukya Territories during
Pulakeshin II c. 640 C.E.
Pulakeshin II (610–642 A.D.) was a
Vaishnavism . The inscription of Ravikirti, his court
poet, is a eulogy of the
Pulakeshin II and is at the Meguti temple. It
is dated 634 CE and is written in
Sanskrit language and old Kannada
Aihole inscription describes the achievements of
Pulakeshin II and his victory against King
Harshavardhana . Aihole
Pulakeshin II mentioned as akrantatma-balonnatim
Pallavanam patim: that means the
Pallavas had attempted to nip in the
bud the rise of the
Badami Chalukyas: The conflict of the two powers
before the campaign of
Pulakeshin II against the Pallavas. Inscription
which prepared by
Pulakeshin II (634 AD) found in the Jain Temple at
Aihole, that all the scholars have relied on this inscription related
Mahabharata War and
Kaliyuga . In the
Aihole inscription referred
Mangalesha 's (Paramabhagavat) victory over the
the conquest of Revatidvipa. According to the
Aihole inscription of
Pulakeshin II, a civil war between
Pulakeshin II , due
to Mangalesha's attempt to secure the succession for his son, which
was the end of Mangalesha's reign. In inscription of
found at Aihole, mentioned about his new administration (navarajyam
EARLY CHALUKYA STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE
Aihole A pillar relief at the Durga temple in Aihoḷe
Mantapa (hall) in the famous Ravana Phadi cave temple at Aihoḷe.
The cave temple is usually dated to the 6th century
Aihole was the cradle of ancient
Hindu temple architecture
Hindu temple architecture . It has
more than 70 temples. Experimentation with styles was undertaken by
the artisans. The artisans worked on the rocks to create the earliest
rock-cut shrines. The artisans graduated to the full-fledged Chalukya
style of architecture.
Chalukyas inherited architectural styles largely from their
neighbors to the north and south of their kingdom. Usage of curved
towers decorated with blind arches came from northern India. Plastered
walls with panel inserts are a southern Indian style. The usage of
Deccan style is in their balcony seating, angled eaves and sloping
roofs, and elaborately carved columns and ceilings (George
Michell,1997). In short, they artistically brought together the
prevailing styles in their neighbourhood to create the
Typical features unique to
Chalukyas architecture include
mortarless assembly, an emphasis on length rather than width or
height, flat roofs, richly carved ceilings, and, sculpturally, an
emphasis on relatively few major figures, which tend to be isolated
from each other rather than arranged in crowded groups. The aesthetic
sensibility of sculpture from this period also seems to retain a
certain classical quality whose impulse does not carry over into later
periods of Indian art (Susan Huntington, 1985).
Three temples are referred to as the 'Kontigudi group of temples'.
One of these is the Lad Khan temple (the oldest at
Aihole is the Lad
khan temple dating back to the fifth century ), named after a
mendicant that lived in this temple in the 19th century, another the
Huchiappayyagudi temple and the Huchiappayya math.
Durga temple, Aihole Lad Khan Temple,
Ravana Phadi cave,
Aihole Mallikarjuna temple complex,
Hucchimalli Gudi (lit "Mad Malli's temple"),
Galaganatha group of monuments
Basavanna temple at
Konti Gudi (lit "Konti temple"),
The prominent temple groups at
Aihole are the Kontigudi group and the
Galaganatha group of temples, although historians have divided all the
temples into 22 groups.
* DURGA TEMPLE or fortress temple is the best known of the Aihole
temples and is very photogenic. It is apsidal in plan, along the lines
of a Buddhist chaitya, a high moulded adisthana and a tower –
curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple,
enveloping the shrine, the mukhamantapa and the sabhamantapa. All
through the temple, there are beautiful carvings. The temple appears
to be of the late 7th or early 8th century. The Museum and Art Gallery
is a sculpture gallery maintained by the Archaeological Survey of
India in the Durga Temple complex which opens from Saturday to
* LAD KHAN TEMPLE consists of a shrine with two mantapas in front
of it. The shrine bears a
Shiva lingam . The mukha mantapa in front of
the sanctum has a set of 12 carved pillars. The sabhamantapa in front
of the mukha mantapa has pillars arranged in such a manner as to form
two concentric squares. There are also stone grids on the wall
carrying floral designs. The temple is built in a Panchayat hall
style, indicating a very early experiment in temple construction. The
windows are filled with lattice style which is a north Indian style.
The temple was built by the
Chalukya kings in the 5th century. Ladkhan
Temple is to the south of the Durga temple are the temples of this
group. The Ladkhan temple, so named, as a general of the name had
lived here, consists of a square mantapa, a mukha mantapa and the
sanctum, built against the backwall. The west, south and north walls
have beautifully carved stone lattices. On the lintel of the sanctum
is a garuda image and in the shrine a Shivalinga. The central square
has a flat roof. In the centre Nandi is installed, and just above
Nandi, there is a damaged nagara shikhara, appearing to be a later
addition. The period of this structure is about 450 A.D.
* RAVANA PHADI CAVE is one of the oldest rock cut temples in
Aihole; it is southeast of Hucchimalli temple. This temple dates back
to the 6th century, with a rectangular shrine, with two mantapas.
There is a
Shivalinga in the inner room or sanctum sanctorum. This is
a Shaivite cave temple with a sanctum larger than that of the Badami
Cave Temples . The sanctum has a vestibule with a triple entrance and
has carved pillars. The walls and sides of the temple are covered with
large figures including dancing
Shiva . Ravalphadi Vedic rock-cut
shrine is the most famous of the three rock-cut shrines at Aihole,
located to the south-east of Huchimalli group of temples, dedicated to
Shiva. Assigned to the sixth century, this rock-cut shrine has a fine
figure of Nataraja dancing, surrounded by Saptamatrikas, all engraved
in bold relief and in elegant styles. The
* JYOTHIRLINGA GROUP, at a short distance to the southwest of
Ravalaphadi, is the group of temples called Jothirlinga group. Two
small temples here are flat roofed and in front of them are
Nandimantapas. The remaining temples have a sanctum, shukanasa and a
front hall in each of the temples. Two of the temples have
Kadambanagara towers. Two of the temples have inscriptions of the
Chalukya period. The rest of the temples now dilapidated are
of about the 8th to 10th centuries.
* HUCHAPPAYYA (GUDI) TEMPLE has a curvilinear tower (shikhara) over
the sanctum (unlike the Lad Khan temple). The interior of the temple
has beautiful carvings. The Huchappayana Temple Located to the south
Aihole fort, on the way to the
Malaprabha river , this
has a mukhamantapa, a hall and the sanctum, adored with a Rekhanagara
shikhara. There are several big square pillars in the porch and hall.
Pillars of the porch have finely carved figures of couples, and on the
ceiling a fine Nataraja image. Exterior walls of the sanctum have
three niches with Narasimha. This temple was constructed in about 8th
* GROUP OF YENIAR SHRINES, a little further away to the south, along
the river bank are this group of eight temples, usually with a porch,
hall and a cella, all of about 12th century
* RAMALINGA GROUP OF TEMPLES lies to the south of Yeniar shrines.
Chief shrine among this group is Ramalinga. In this trikutachala
shrine two cells have
Shivalinga and the third, the image of Parvati.
Period of this trikutachala is about the 11th century A.D. Facing
westward, the shrine has two Kadambanagara towers . The place has a
small mosque. (Source:
Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983)
* GALAGANATHA GROUP OF TEMPLES is one of nearly thirty temples on
the bank of the
Malaprabha River . The main shrine of the Galaganatha
Galaganatha has a curvilinear shikhara,
and has images of Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance to this shrine.
Galaganatha group of temples, further south of Huchappaiah temple is
this group of about 38 small shrines in which the shrine of
Galaganatha is intact, and most of the others are in ruins. The
Galaganatha shrine has a hall, interior passage and sanctum. Its tower
is rekhanagara. The temple has been assigned to the 8th century. There
is another 10th century trikutachala temple found in this group.
* SURYANARAYANA TEMPLE has a 0.6 m high statue of Surya along with
his consorts Usha and Sandhya being drawn by horses. The temple dates
from the 7th or 8th century, has a four pillared inner sanctum and a
nagara style tower over it. Suryanarayana Gudi is to the northeast of
Ladkhan temple. It has a four pillared inner hall and in the sanctum,
two feet tall idol of Surya. Over the sanctum is a rekhanagara tower.
This has been assigned to the 7th−8th centuries.
* CHAKRA GUDI is a little further to the south from Ladkhan group
with a hall and sanctum. Its tower is in rekhanagara style. Its period
is about the 9th century.
* BADIGERA GUDI is to the west of Chakragudi which was originally a
Surya temple, which has a porch, hall and a cell shrine and over it a
rekhanagara tower. The temple belongs to the 9th century.
* AMBIGERA GUDI GROUP is situated to the west of the Durga temple
outside the fort, there are three temples of this group. The biggest
among them has a rekhanagara tower. It is supposed to be 10th century
* CHIKKIGUDI GROUP is at a short distance to the north of the
Ambigeragudi are a group of temples among which Chikkigudi is the
biggest with a front hall, a mantapa and a cell shrine. This is
supposed to be a 7th-century structure.
* HUCHIMALLI (GUDI) 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. Huchimalli Group Of Temples,
to the north of the village behind the travelers’ bungalow is this
beautiful temple. The sanctum here has a pradakshinapatha and its
external walls contain lattices. The sanctum has a northern style
rekhanagara tower. It is in this temple the shukanasa or the vestibule
was introduced for the first time. A little away in front is another
dilapidated temple. Another small temple to the north of
Huchimalligudi is assigned to the 11th century.
* GAUDARA GUDI is very close to the Ladkhan temple, built on the
lines of Ladkhan temple. It is standing on high molded base. An outer
wall contains 16 pillars. Between them, stone slabs are fixed to serve
as walls. An 8th-century inscription here refers to this as Bhagavati
temple. To the north of the Jaina temples is the Gowri temple. It is
Chalukya style assignable to the 12th century.
* RACHI GUDI lies to the west of the village. It is a trikutachala
Shiva temple constructed in about 11th century. It stands on a high
plinth, faces west and the three cells face three directions. On the
external walls of the temple are small niches with Ganapathi, Nataraja
and Vishnu images.
* HUCHAPPAYYA MATHA is towards west of the village is this matha,
and closely is a temple. This temple includes a hall, and a sanctum.
On the ceiling are the trimurti figures. Here is an inscription of
* HALABASAPPANA GUDI is to the west of the village. It is a small
structure with a sanctum and a hall. At the entrance, on the door
frame are engraved the idols of Ganga and Yamuna.
* KONTIGUDI GROUP OF TEMPLES, situated in about the middle of the
bazaar are four temples. The first among them has the Trimurthy idols
on the ceiling of the mantapa. These temples are assignable to the 7th
century with various adjuncts being added during later centuries. Only
one among them is dilapidated, and is of about the 10th century.
* TRIYAMBAKESHVARA GROUP is close to the Charantimatha, towards
northeast two of which are trikutachalas, assigned to the 12th
century. Nearby is Maddina gudi. There is an idol of nataraja in the
mantapa and this is an 11th-century AD temple.
Meguti Jain Temple
* MEGUTI JAIN TEMPLE stands on a hillock. The temple is dedicated
Mahavira , the 24th tirthankara. The temple sits on a raised
platform, and a flight of steps leads one to the mukhamantapa. The
pillared mukhamantapa is a large one. A flight of stairs leads to
another shrine on the roof, directly above the main shrine. From the
roof, one can have a panoramic view of the plain with a hundred
temples or so. The temple which was possibly never completed gives
important evidence of early development in dravidian style of
architecture. The dated inscription found on the outer wall of the
temple records the construction of the temple by Ravikeerthi, a
scholar in the court of emperor
Pulakeshin II . In the Meganagudi
group of temples, there are several ancient temples on Megutigudda, a
small hillock to the southeast of the village. A two-storeyed
structure here has a natural cavern inside. The first floor includes a
pillared hall, and at the wall behind it are three cells. The central
room is the shrine cell, the second floor similarly has a verandah and
a square cell behind. This is an ordinary structure and is assigned to
the 5th century. The Meguti or the Meganagudi is a Jinalaya in the
Dravidian style enclosed by a stone wall. It has a pillared hall in
front, and antarala and the sanctum behind, with pradakshinapatha. On
one of the outer walls is found the famous
Aihole inscription dated
634 A.D. recording the construction of the Jinendra temple by
Ravikeerti, who was a commander and minister of Pulakeshin II. The
record makes a mention of Kalidasa and Bharavi and is composed in an
ornate style in Samskrita by Ravikirti himself. To the south-east of
Meguti is a small Jaina cave, which has a porch, a wall behind and a
sanctum in the back which houses a five-foot tall-Bahubali figure and
other Tirthankaras are also engraved in other parts against walls.
Jain Basadi of Charanthimatha Group
* CHARANTHIMATHA GROUP OF TEMPLES, very close to the Kontigudi
group, to the north east is group of Jaina temples. In course of time
they came under the control of one Charantimatha and hence the present
name. The chief among these is trikutachala, and a hall connects the
three shrines with a portico in front. It is about 11th −12th
century A.D., built in the Kalyana
Chalukya style. There is a twin
basadi with one porch serving both, with each housing 12 Tirthankars.
An inscription here records the date of construction as 1120 A.D.
Jaina and buddha cave temples
* JAIN CAVE TEMPLE is at the entrance of the
Pattadakal/Badami) on the banks of Mallaprabha river; it is similar to
Ravana Phadi cave. There are inscriptions on rock in old
* Scattered in the pre historic period meghalithic site behind the
Meguti temple are many dolmens, numbering about 45 and more are
destroyed by treasure hunters. Local people call it Morera mane
(Morera tatte) or Desaira Mane. Each dolmen has three sides upright
square slabs and large flat slab on top forms roof, front side upright
slab had circular hole.
* BUDDHIST CAVE
Enrute to Meguti temple on same hill top there is 6th century
two-storied Buddhist Cave temple which partly rock-cut structure. .
Shiva Temple at
Galaganatha temple complex
Galaganatha Group of Temples at
Ravana Phadi cave at
Ravana phadi cave interior
Meguti temple at
Mallikarjuna temple complex
Durga temple at
Galaganatha group of temples
Aihole Konti Gudi
Temple tank at
Ravana phadi cave
Aihole Lad Khan temple interior
Matrikas Cave Temple
Gangadhara (Shiva) at Ravana phadi cave
Aihole Uma Maheshvara, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
A vew of the 11th century Mallikarjuna temple, a Kalyani (Later)
A profile of the Durga temple mantapa (hall)
A wall relief at the Durga temple
A sanctum with relief at the Ravana Phadi cave temple
Relief sculpture in the Ravana Phadi cave temple
Mahakuta group of temples
* List of State Protected Monuments in
Indian rock-cut architecture
Indian rock-cut architecture
* ^ "Evolution of Temple Architecture – Aihole-Badami-
Pattadakal". UNESCO. 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
* ^ Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 1 By Gaṅgā Rām
Garg page 251
* ^ Raghavan, Vikram K (13 May 2010). "Surviving the test of time".
Retrieved 31 March 2014.
* ^ "Aihole\'s stories in stone". Retrieved 2011-07-28.
* ^ Sigfried J. de Laet and Joachim Herrmann, History of Humanity:
From the seventh century B.C. to the seventh century A.D.. UNESCO,
* ^ Reshma Rai, An Introduction of Naga, in Rajagriha
* ^ Rajarajan, R.K.K. "
* ^ "Message with Long Life: Indian Inscriptions". Dr. Jyotsna
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* ^ "The Scientific Dating of the Mahabharat War, Aihole
Inscription". Dr.P.V.Vartak. Archived from the original on 16 April
2009. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
* ^ "EARLY CHALUKYAS". Archived from the original on 10 April 2009.
* ^ "Bombay-
Karnataka Inscriptions, Volume I – Part I,
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* ^ A B "Echoes from
Chalukya caves". Retrieved 2009-04-01.
* ^ "ARCHITECTURE, The Chalukyan magnificence". Archived from the
original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
* ^ Monuments of India, Part II, Early Chalukya, Aihole
* ^ "Aihole, Lad Khan Temple". Retrieved 2009-04-01.
* ^ http://www.jainglory.com/research/meguti
Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983.
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