Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Grand Durga Temple of Aihole

   "Aihole" is one among those places in India where the temples outnumber the houses. Aihole is considered as the "Cradle of Hindu Temple Architecture" or "Primary school for South Indian Temple Architecture". This place served as a capital to the Western Chalukyan rulers. It can be also linked to pre historic age, Buddhist and Jainism. There are around 140 temples in this region and the sad part is that almost all are ruined. There is a continuous effort on the part of the ASI to improve and restore the place. Aihole can also be considered a Laboratory, since there was experimentation with various architectural styles in which the temples were constructed .
      'Durga temple' is one among the most prominent temple here. This temple has a straight front and a rounded apse, resembling the Buddhist temples. This temple belongs to the 7th century AD. A unique element of this temple is the circumambulatory provision inside the temple (corridor around the shrine that continues to the Mandapa). The outer walls of the temple have intricately carved figures of Narasimha, Mahishasuramardini, Varaha, Vishnu, etc . Pierced windows are provided with pleasing patterns to allow light into the hall. The shikara seems to be influenced from the North Indian style of architecture.              
The First Look
Durga Temple
Dwarfs in different postures
The Grand Entrance
Ceiling Carvings
Ceiling  Carvings
 Intricately Carved Walls
Majestic Door Frame
Drunken Couple
Note the Colors of the Parrots
Pattern 1
Pattern 2
Pattern 3
Pattern 4
Pattern 5
The Corridor
Surya Deva with His Consorts
Final Look
To Be continued ...............


  1. Fantastic history, marvelous post and stunning captures! As I have mentioned before, I've traveled a great deal, but not to your country and since I began blogging I have been in contact with so very many people from India and I'm so thrilled with all I am learning through your blogs, posts and photos! Thank you!! Have a wonderful day!


  2. Just awesome!!
    Great pics as usual...

  3. I really like the first picture...puts the whole place so beautifully in context!

    Being a designer myself, I really like the idea of a whole town being an experiment ground for explorations of temple styles. I am quite sure even back then before making the final temples, some smaller protos would be made and refined!

  4. temples outnumber the houses
    nice pics

  5. Aihole is the cradle of architecture in its truest form. I believe erotic sculptures orginated here which later became a fashion.

  6. Seems like a nice place. Should plan it along with Pattadakkal and Badami.

  7. My all-time favourite circuit : Aihole-Pattadakal-Badami !

  8. Beautiful temple. I had been here very long back. Need to revisit again.

  9. Wow! This is wonderful info and pics too! Thanks Team G square for sharing with us.

  10. good to see pictures of Aihole. Brings back some pleasant memories. Did you Pattadakal and Badami too or was it just Aihole?

  11. Beautiful pictures and wonderful photography.

  12. @ sid , there are many small templesof much earlier period , but this temple is unique in shape and make .

  13. @ Sankara , Yes we did Badami and Pattadakal ,along with Banashankari and Mahakuta also .

  14. the main portion is enterance, i just that i miss the main enterance photo

  15. Times news 25 may 2012

    Aihole will soon move to a new settlement

    BANGALORE: In one big fat relocation, over 900 families of Bagalkot district's Aihole will soon move to a new settlement to help the Karnataka government's efforts in saving the town's 110 heritage structures and get them the World Heritage Site tag. More interesting is that the 3,500-strong population will move to the new address en masse, and willingly.

    The Aihole gram panchayat has passed a resolution about the relocation that's expected to be modelled on New Bagalkot town, which was built after parts of the old city were submerged in the construction of Almatti and Narayanapur dams.

    The Archaeological Survey of India and the Karnataka government worked out a Rs 51-crore relocation plan after they found villagers using the premises of temples and monuments for resting, storing material and housing cattle, carts and tractors . "Aihole monuments are not protected completely. The town is agriculture-based and many houses and buildings are adjacent to temples and monuments," sources in the revenue department involved in the rehabilitation said. The department said foreign tourists who visit the place are shocked at the condition and there's been a decline in tourism too.

    T Srilakshmi, superintendent archaeologist , Dharwad circle, told TOI that the villagers were informed about the reasons for relocation. "The shifting will help Aihole get the World Heritage Site tag. As per the Protection of Monuments Act, 1958, no works should be undertaken within 100 metres of the monuments and they shouldn't be damaged," she said.

    Aihole is described as the cradle of temple architecture and most of its temples were built during the Western Chalukya rule between 10 and 12 centuries.

    The relocation plan was mooted six year ago by the Upper Krishna Project's GM (Bagalkot) that met with limited success. He submitted an Aihole relocation proposal 2006 for acquiring 114 buildings around the monuments.

    The proposal hit a roadblock after villagers insisted that entire village be shifted. "We oppose partial shifting — we have lived together for years. For overall development, we're ready to relocate together," Ashok Mayachari, president, Aihole relocation committee, said.

    Eight years ago, the government and ASI shifted 70 houses from old Aihole in another failed experiment . The villagers weren't happy with the infrastructure provided to them. Kotresh Sarangamath of Aihole said, "If the authorities try to shift families in phases, the same problem arises. Our request is to shift the whole village. We want to live in one place."

    (With inputs by Sushilendra T Naik)

    1. What is the current status of relocation? Has it been successfully completed? Can you please give an update if possible..thankyou.

    2. No there has been no action taken as per the above comment.

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