Aihole – Heritage Destination in Karnataka
Well, now is the time for your tour across the India and you are all set to experience the enriched Indian historical background this time. When you were just shuffling through the pages of the travel magazine to decide, one of your friends told you about the heritage destinations in Karnataka (India). He was there recently and he was amazed with what he found out. Of course, you are curious to go there.
And you are right about the heritage destinations in Karnataka. When it comes to the one thing called heritage, whether you are looking for cultural, historical or communal heritage, Karnataka is the place for you. Starting from the Bandipur National Park to the Coorg festival, Karnataka provides you with the ultimate experience of being in India. Of course, a tour to India is cheap and no doubt about that. But then again, the value that you get against that money is just OVERWHELMING.
Whether it is the natural attractions or the local customs, everything has an Indian flavor to it, which you get to taste in Karnataka. And one of the most popular and visited tourist heritage destinations in Karnataka is Aihole. If you are a student of Indian history, you certainly have heard about its name and have known of its historical significance.
In one sentence, Aihole is one of few centers of the Early Chalukya artistry. Aihole is located on the western side of Badami, which is situated a few hundred miles away from Bangalore (the current capital of Karnataka), and on the eastern side of Pattadakal. Aihole was the first capital of the great early Chalukya dynasty. Later it was transferred to Vatapi (now known as Badami). It was done under the rule of Pulakeshi I.
Aihole is famous for its temple architecture. The first phase of the temple architecture was around the sixth century and then it resurrected during the twelfth century.
One of the most prominent temples here is the Ravanaphadi temple. Dating back to the second part of the seventh century, this temple was rock cut and apart from the two mantapams contained in it, it has a Lord Shiva shrine.
Two of the most popular groups of temples are group Kontigudi and group Galganatha.
Kontigudi is a group of three temples. One of them is the Lad Khan temple. The other two are the Huchiappayya math and the Huchiappayyagudi temple.
The Lad Khan is formed of two mantapams and one Lord Shiva shrine. The first mantapa includes 12 carved pillars. The second mandapa is formed of pillars that create two concentric squares. The Huchiappayyagudi temple is one of its kinds. Unlike the other Lad Khan temple, it has got a curvilinear tower over its sanctum and it comes with some of the best carving examples in the world of temple architecture.
The Galganatha cluster of temples is only one of those thirty on the Malaprabha riverbank. It has a main shrine of Lord Shiva, with a curvilinear tower and images of Yamuna and Ganga carved on the entrance.
There was a little development (or you can call it evolution) with the Huchimalligudi temple that was built around the eighth century. The only difference was that it had an antechamber (ardhamantapam) attached next to the shrine.
One of the best-planned and most popular Aihole temples is the Durga temple. It had a semi-circle outgrown structure called apse, appended in its temple structure, which comprised of a high built adisthana and a shikhara (tower). There are two mantapams, viz. sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa, which formed the pillared corridor. Another of the most popular temples is the Meguti Jain temple. It is located on a hillock, on a raised platform. You reach there by a flight of stairs that take you either to the mukhamandapa or to the roof where you reach the main shrine. From there, you can have a bird’s view on the plain with all the other clusters of temples as well. According to historical records, it was probably built around the 634 CE, and had some relation with Kalidasa.
Anyway, that’s a lot of food for thought about Aihole. The rest you can always find by visiting the place and man, you would never forget your visit over there.