I considered myself an experience seeker,history buff,photo fanatic.My mantra for life is live,dream and discover because life is a never ending voyage.If you also love to unravel the dusty roads,then explore the bygone era of Aihole with me,a boho chica.
I decided to take a road trip to discover the legacy of the great Chalukyas. Let’s begin the kaleidoscopic wandering adventure.
I am travelling between two erstwhile capital towns – Badami and Aihole and and Aihole, my destination.The monuments at Aihole-Badami-Pattadakal show the existence and a history of interaction between the early northern style and early southern style of Hindu arts.I have shared the magnum opus of Pattadakal in my previous write up.
In this write up, will focus on Aihole,but believe me,these three are inseparable.
The Aihole has been excavated out in some parts and is essentially located surrounding an eponymous small hamlet in this region of the Indian state of Karnataka. It rose to prominence under the enigmatic rule Pulakeshin II whose diatribes with the great king Harshavardhana have been etched in the history as the contest of the millennium for supremacy.
Aihole is located just about 10 km away from the monument cradle of Pattadakal which has been designated as a world heritage site by the UNESCO because of the presence of a group of Chalukyan monuments that have huge archaeological importance.
The Aihole is basically a group of building and architectures that jointly forms the capital city of the Chalukya Kingdom, one of the most powerful South Indian dynasties that invigorated the whole civilization with rich cultures and enthusiastic histories.
Aihole was the capital of chalukyas prior to Vatapi (Badami). Inscriptions found in Aihole are said to given many useful information about the history. The inscriptions are written by Ravikirti, Ravikirti was one of poet during chalukyas. Aihole contains some of the region’s oldest temples.
How it got its name is quite an interesting story! One of Lord Vishnu’s Dashavataras (10 avatars), Parusharama,went around killing Kshatriya Kings to avenge his father’s death by the hands of one of them. In this town, which was then called ‘Aryapuram’, he found a pond and exclaiming ‘Aiyyo Hole’ (where Hole means pond in Kannada), washed his axe in its water to (literally) wash away his sins and stop the killing!
And that’s how the town got its new name !
Tales of a traveler:
Aihole, believed to be the place where Dravidian temple architecture was born. It has numerous temples spread all over with some well-maintained ones inside complexes and some secluded ones in neglected ruined state. The complex is believed to have had more than a hundred and twenty stone and cave temples from this period, spread along the Malaprabha river valley,all built between 6th and 12th centuries.Over one hundred Aihole temples are Hindu, a few are Jain and one is Buddhist.
The Hindu temples are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Surya and other Hindu deities. The temple is sheer poetry carved on stone and the walls, pillars, panels and columns are adorned with beautiful carvings from the epics and Puranas.The temple groups at Aihole can be grouped as the Kontigudi group and the Galaganatha group of temples.
Durga temple complex is the most celebrated place here with the popular horse shoe shaped Durga temple.It has a misleading name, because the temple is not named after goddess Durga.It reverentially displays gods and goddesses from Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism.The temple has extensive sculptures on its exterior, interior and ceiling. The numerous ornate pillars look gorgeous even today with their beautiful carvings. The wonderful sculptures pop up as you circumnavigate the horse shoe shaped pathway.
Lad Khan temple is one of the other impressive temples within this complex. It is also the oldest one here and has a different architecture with another shrine atop the roof. It has carved pillars and a nandi sculpture facing the inner sanctum. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple gets its name from a Muslim saint who lived here a few centuries ago.
The other temples in this complex include Gaudaragudi, Chakragudi, Badigergudi and Suryanarayanagudi temples.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM and remains closed on Friday
Tickets:Indian (INR 10), Foreigners (INR 250), Video & Camera (INR 25)
Archaeological Museum :
The temple complex houses The Archaeological Site Museum,which is located in the Durga Temple complex. This museum is part of ‘The Archaeological Survey of India[ASI]’ Dharwad Circle.The museum has stone sculptures, inscriptions and carved stones and a good display from excavations over the years.The museum has galleries including open air gallery.
Entry Fee :INR 5 per head(Children up to 15 years free)
Street trotter Tips:
Most visitors to the area manage to tour Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami in a single day, which I think is quite possible. Make Badami your base and explore the other sites.Everything said and done ,Badami and its temples would need a day to visit. Aihole can be covered in half a day.
But since I was in no real rush to get anywhere, I decided to go a little slow,understand the history and architecture and play with the angle of my camera and I believe I managed to get some nice click.
The thought card:
Though the temples and structures have worn out over a period, most of them have been restored and maintained well by the authorities.Archaeological Survey of India have done a terrific job of reviving the temples.
Travel made simple:
Once you reach Badami,Aihole distance can be is easily covered which is around 35 km.
By Air: Nearest airport to Badami is in Belgaum which is located at a distance of 190 km and connected to all the major airport through domestic flight
By Train: Nearest railway station to Badami is in Hubli which is situated 100 km away from this city.You can hire taxi or take a state transport bus which plies regularly
By Road: Badami is directly connected to major cities like Bengaluru, Pune and Mumbai via National highways
Notes from the road:
- Road is narrow and bumpy.Be prepared.Drive safe.
- All the sites have a dry landscape and a hot climate. Make sure to carry hats, sunscreen and water.
- Don’t forget to carry your camera. Aihole is a photographers delight.But the museums do not allow photography inside.
Leaving you with some postcards from the world…
Stay and Wander !!!
Hi! I am Anushree Dash…
1 Part Entrepreneur
2 Parts Writer
3 Parts Social reformer
4 Parts explorer
5 Parts photographer, Too many Parts.
A free-spirited,non-conformist,,impenitent,independent,adventurous,boho soul and an admirer of life. Loves my Indian roots, Culture, Aesthetic Living, Saree, Poetry …