Bangalore - - Aihole

Aihole Bagalkote District - 27kms from Badami
Time seems to have stood still in this small dusty town situated on the malprabha river about 12 km downstream from Pattadakal Fortifications encircle much of the Town. Within are ancient sandstone temples of varying types some of which were used as dwellings and are named after their former inhabitants. The temples are associated with both the early and later Chalukya rulers of Badami and date from the 6th - 11th Centuries. Most visitors begin their tour of Aihole at the Durga Temple. Near by is a small complex with the Ladkhan Temple.
This building is recognisable by the tiers of sloping slabs that roof the spacious hall as well as the adjoining entrance porch. River goddesses and amorous couples are carved on the columns of the roof top level. The adjacent Gaudar Gudi comprises a small sanctuary set within an open mandapa with balcony seating on four sides.The ruined Chakra Gudi is near the stepped tank. The Kunti Group, aquartet of temples conceived as open columned halls with interior sanctuaries lies to the southeast probably the first to be built has superbly carved ceiling panels portraying the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. A similar trio of ceiling panels can be seen in the Hucchapayya math, lying a short distance beyond.

A stepped path leads to the top of the hill southeast of the town, passing by a two storeyed Buddhist temple. At the summit of the stands the serene Meguti Temple built in AD 634, the earliest dated structural monument in Karnataka. The temple clearly articulated basement plastered walls and caves shows the south Indian style of temple architecture in its earliest phase. An impressive seated Jain figure is installed in the sancturay. Prehistoric megalithic tombs are located to the rear of the temple. The road going downhill follows the curving fortfications and passes the Jyotirlinga group, until it ends at the Durga temple. To the north of the Durga temple is the Chikki Gudi with exquisitely carved columns beams and ceiling panels. A path to the right leads to the small Hucchi Malli Gudi with a North Indian style tower and an unusual icon of Karthtikeya, Shiva's son carved on the ceiling of the front Porch.

Nearby lies the rock-cut Ravala Phadi Cave dating to the late 6th century. Its interior is enhanced with solendid carvings of indu divinities. These include a Dancing shiva in a subshrine; Ardhanarishvara, Harihara and shiva with Ganag on the walls of the main hall; and Varaha and Durga in the antechamber preceding the small linga sanctuary. Tiny shrines and a fluted column stand in front.

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