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Location : Near Kudala Sangama, Karnataka
Languages : Kannada, English, and Hindi
Major Attraction : Temple architecture
Best Visiting Time : Between October and February
Aihole, the capital city of Chalukyas, is situated near the picturesque banks of River Malaprabha. Dotted with more than 100 temples, the place is a renowned example of amazing temple architecture. In fact, the sculptures that have been found here are so eye catchy that they have earned Aihole the name "cradle of architecture". The place boasts of ancient temple as old as the 5th century.
The history of the place is as fascinating as its temples. You will see temples built in different styles and designs. The major groups to which the temples belong are Galaganatha and Kontigudi. Galaganatha group comprises of about 30 temples near Malprabha and are distinguished by the presence of a shikahra, a typical of South Indian architecture.
Ladkhan Temple :
One of the oldest temples of the place, Ladkhan is devoted to Lord Shiva and is built in earlier styles. You will be amazed to see the lattice works on windows that resemble North Indian architecture. A sanctum with 12 pillars is another striking feature of this temple.
Durga Temple :
The noticeable features of this temple include an elevated plinth and a gallery surrounding the sanctum. Look at the numerous carvings that form a part of the temple interior. The images of Narsimha and Chamundi Devi are just marvelous. You can also see the image of the deity Durga who is depicted in the form of Mahishasurmardini or the slayer of the demon Mahishasur.
This attraction of Aihole carries a shikhara in the curvilinear shape that sits over the sanctum. The interiors are full of beautiful carvings.
Hutchimalligudi Temple :
This 7th century temple comprises of a ardhamandapa, a chamber near the main shrine. Here the sculpture of Lord Vishnu is installed and is seen relaxing over his famous serpent.
Konthi Temple :
This temple is a must see site and comprises of a temple dedicated to Uma Maheswari. Here you will get to see the carved sculpture of Lord Brahma relaxing on a lotus.
Meguti Jain Temple :
Constructed in 634 AD, this temple is now in its ruins. Though incomplete in construction, you can still see that this monument has been built in Dravidian style. Notice that the walls at the entrance carry an inscription that mentions the name of its constructor.
Revalphadi Cave :
At Ravalpathi cave, you will see numerous images of Lord Shiva that are illustrated in different moods and forms. Sculpture of Shiva in dancing form is another feature of the cave. The sanctum can be entered through three entrances.
Gowda Temple :
Another temple at Aihole that is built similar to Ladkhan Temple. There after 16 pillars here; the temple is devoted to deity Bhagvati.
Suryanarayan Temple :
There is a colossal stature of deity Surya; the other deities that adore the premises of the temple are goddesses Sandhya and Usha. This temple dates back to either 7th or 8th century.
Art Gallery :
At Aihole, you will see a magnificent gallery that is under the authority of ASI and is present inside Durga Complex.
Stay at the Rest Houses that are located at Aihole. A number of rest houses are also provided by the tourism department.
Aihole is a nice destination that attracts a number of tourists from India and round the world.