Aihole is a small temple town situated on the banks of Malaprabha River, and is known as “cradle of temple architecture”. This town has about 125 temples that are dated back to 5th Century. The temples were built by the Chalukya dynasty during 5-6th Century. First few temples were built as an experiment to build a “Chalukya-style” temple. After few “experimental” temples, the artisans then finalized a full-fledged style, and went on to build several other temples (including the temples at Pattadakal). It is believed that the temple-building-spree went on until 12th Century, as archaeologists found temples dating back to this date!
The main monuments of Aihole are Durga Temple, Lad Khan Temple and an Archeological Museum which are located within the same compound. There are several other temples/monuments scattered around Aihole, and are a good visual treat to someone with archeological or historical interests. The other monuments which are worth a visit are Ravanaphadi Temple, Huchchimalli Gudi, Suryanarayana Gudi, Badiger Temple, Gowda Temple (Gowdra Gudi), Jyothirlinga Temple and many others.
Lad Khan Temple
Aihole also has several Jain Temples that are dated back to the Chalukya period. Some of them are Meguti Temple, Jain Cave Temple among others. You can also find a two-storied Buddhist Cave Temple on the way to Meguti Temple.
Many of the temples have inscriptions in Sanskrit and old Kannada (Yes, there is another dialect of Kannada called HaLe Kannada which translates to old Kannada). Some of the inscriptions also talk about the achievements of Chalukya kings.
At Archeological Museum
Art inside the temple
If you are interesting in exploring the heritage structures in India, then Aihole is an awesome place for you. Though the guides here are only interested in showing you the main attractions (of Durga Temple, Lad Khan temple and the museum), you can explore the rest of the town on your own. If you are lucky, some local may agree to show you the places around (though most of them can converse only in Kannada).
Where to stay?
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