Ravana Phadi Cave Temple, Aihole

     "Ravana Phadi" is the most interesting rock cut cave shrine in Aihole. This rock cut cave shrine belongs to the 6th century AD.  The cave consists of a hall with two pillars in the front and an antechamber behind. On either side of the hall are two chambers containing beautiful life size sculptures.
Ravana Phadi Cave Shrine
     It was late evening when we were walking back to our shelter after exploring Aihole. This cave from far looked very intriguing and since it was already dark and we had no energy left in us we were in doubt whether or not to find out what's in this cave. We met a person walking in the opposite direction to us and on inquiring he felt sorry for us telling the cave might be closed at this time but it is very beautiful inside. As a matter of chance, looking back and seeing the gate keeper just about to lock the gate to the cave he told us to rush over and shouted loud to the keeper making him aware of our presence and wanting to see the cave.  Luckily, the gate keeper cheerfully waved at us (meaning we are welcomed) and there we were, as though destined to see this place. Though we were very tired, our efforts were worth while and for sure, this turned out to be one of the most beautiful cave temples we had ever seen. 
Shiva Linga
     The inner sanctum houses a Shiva Linga. There are many life size carvings of Lord Shiva in  his various forms.  The most beautiful of them all is the ten armed Shiva in a dancing posture and to  his left is a small figure standing, which we thought could be of Lord Shanmuga (Shiva's Son). Next to him stands Goddess Parvathi  and on the right side of Lord Shiva is an interesting short figure of Lord Ganapathi engaged with his favorite food , 'the modakas'.
Ten Armed Dancing Shiva and his Family 
   The other side of the hall has figures of 'Harihara - the combined  form of Lords Vishnu  and Shiva'. There is a wonderful carving on the ceiling. The small vacant room on the side of Sanctum could have been the kitchen. The drainage system also seemed to have been well developed inside the cave. Carvings of many dwarf  musicians are also seen on the raised platform. 
Ceiling Carving
Sage Agasthiyar, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi
The Kitchen
Dwarf Musicians
Another Set of Dwarf Musicians
Lord Vishnu with his Consorts
Water Drainage System
 'The ASI has done a fair job in restoration of this place though they can never the match the original work. But that's not their mistake either, we have to blame our ancestors for building so complicatedly' says the watchman with an ironic smile on his face. Our ancestors were the true geniuses in every aspect of life.
The Pillars - Old and New Look

To read more about Aihole, click here

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Chola Temple of Binnamangala

     'Binnamangala' is located in the outskirts of Nelamangala and Bangalore. It has a lesser known Chola temple dedicated to Lord Mukthanatheshwara (Shiva). This temple is believed to be built by Raja Rajendra Chola  in the 10 th century AD. This wonderful ancient temple was recently renovated by the ASI with the help of the locals and the deity is being worshiped since then. As some parts of the temple were badly damaged , they had to be replaced by new stones and the work is no match to the original work.
Mukthanatheshwara Temple
      The temple is of ekakuta type with Dravidian style of architecture. The outer walls have carvings of  forms Lord Shiva and his family, some of which are unique. The Shikara is completely a new component. There is an inscription stone (written in Tamil) in front of the temple giving the information about the temple. There is also a sculpture of the king Rajendra Chola besides a tall pillar. 
Carvings on the Outer Walls
Nataraja (Note the Hair Style)
Lord Ganesha
Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva
Elephant Carving at the Corners
Inscription Stone
Rajendra Chola
Friezes with Animal Carvings
    The temple houses a Shiva Linga with a Nandi in the front of it. The pillars are extensively carved, setting an excellent example of the Chola architecture. The door frames are also beautifully decorated. A wonderful carving of the Ashtadikpalas   can be seen on its ceiling.
Extensively Carved Pillar
Closer Look
Pillar Capital
People Worshiping
Door Frame
Ceiling Carving
This temple was open when we visited as it was the eve of Sankranthi (Festival of Harvest). Since the temple's priest was unavailable, we did not get any further information regarding the temple's history.

Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH4 - Take right turn towards Nelamangala - Immediately take a right turn towards the temple.

Distance from the Bangalore: 35 kms

Place to visit Around: Nelamangala, Manne, Shivagange, Nijagal Fort and many more.

Trip Date: 14 Jan' 2010

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1. Sri Basaveshwara Swamy Temple, Hallur 
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Shiva Temple , Aihole

Shiva Temple
Frontal View of Shikara
Royal Seal
Royal Seal
Shiva Parvathi
Ruins of the temples
The Shiva Linga
Intricate Designs on the Ceiling
Heavy Pillar Tops
Lord Ganesha
Door Frame

    We were unable to gather any information or details about this temple including its name. We named it the Shiva temple since the temple housed a Shiva Linga. The temple is situated right at the entrance of Aihole from Hungund side.

To read more about Aihole, click here...